Saturday, 27 March 2010

This week's word is: TOADS

Hello dragon fans. I know what you’re thinking: “Surely, Zookie, your pencil slipped and you meant to write ROADS on your pad this week, or LOADS, or maybe even TOAST? Please tell us that the author hasn’t slipped on a toad? Or put one in Mrs Author’s shoe? Or that he keeps one as a PET in the cupboard under the stairs? Ugh.” Well, no. He hasn’t done any of those things. It’s all to do with Gruffen, actually. Everybody’s favourite guard dragon is floating on air this week (well, that's not too difficult for a dragon as it happens, but you know what I mean). First of all, his story came out in paperback in the UK this month, which means that many more people have a realistic chance of buying it. And he also leaned that he’d won an award – and been shortlisted for two others! (Feel free to cheer.) So what’s it all about? And what’s it got to do with, erm, toads???

Well, you may remember that during World Book Day week the author went to speak at Simply Books in the north of England. He learned then that Gruffen was on the shortlist for something called The Book Factor Award, and last week he heard that Gruffen had WON the younger category. Hrrr! Unfortunately, the author wasn’t able to go to the ceremony. And he still hasn’t seen the award he won. But when he does, Gwendolen will scan it and put a picture on the notepad.

As long ago as Christmas, we also knew that Gruffen had been shortlisted for something called the Rotherham Book Award. We didn’t say anything then because the award won’t be decided until July. But we’re very excited about this one, too, because waaaay back in 2001, a certain other famous book of the author’s won this very same award. Any guesses? Yes, it could only be The Fire Within. And who is one of the stars of that story? Gruffen!

And then this week, the author received a very exciting email from Texas, America (a place he has always wanted to visit). It said:

Dear Chris d’Lacey,
As part of the Horned Toad Tales committee (TOADS, see!) from the Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District in Houston, TX, I am proud to announce that your book, Gruffen, has been added to the 2010 – 2011 Horned Toad Tales list. These 20 books have been read and voted on by our committee of elementary librarians and have been deemed perfect reads, wonderful matches, and WOW books for grades 3 – 5. We thank you for your contribution to children’s literature and encourage you to write more!
The 3rd – 5th graders in our school district will be reading the 20 new titles on the 2010-2011 HTT list and will vote for their favorite one in February, 2011. Our district is made up of over 100,000 students and has 52 elementary schools. In other words, a lot of students will be encouraged to read and enjoy your book!
Please let you publisher know that your book has been added to our Texas list. We want publishers to continue publishing this type of wonderful, appropriate literature.

Wonderful, appropriate literature! The author nearly fainted when he read that. Seriously, we are very proud of Gruffen and ALL the titles in the Dragons of Wayward Crescent series so far. The better they do, in both sales and prizes, the greater chance there is that the author will be allowed to write more, especially mine. So look out for them, dragon fans, and put them in your collection. Till next time. Happy reading. Hrrr!

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