ISSUE 1: there’s definitely a crossword in it

So, we’re about to announce the details of how you can get behind issue 1 and it’s only fair we let you know what’s in the magazine we hope you want to support.

Here’s some of the content list for issue 1 of TRQ. We’re really excited about the wide range of articles and the amazing spread of contributors from around the world, and we hope you like them too. Admittedly, we get a sneak preview of what the articles are about, but hopefully the article titles are tantalising enough.

We have…

‘Hunting for the Birds: A Designer’s Memories of Childhood Reading’ by Stuart Bache, UK

‘Cinderella and a World Audience’ by Nury Vittachi, Hong Kong

‘The Last Taboo: What Interactive Prints Says About the Digital Revolution’ by Elizabeth Bird, USA

‘The Artisan Publisher: Tara Books, Chennai, India’ by Gita Wolf, India

‘A New Arabic Publishing Model’ by Kalimat Publishers, UAE

‘Children and the Magic of Bookshops’ by Jen Campbell, UK

From Institution to Market: Publishing for the African Child’ by Ainehi Edoro, Nigeria/USA

‘The Theme of Independence in Children’s Literature in India’ by Jaya Bhattacharji Rose, India

‘The New Internationalists: The Changing Scene of Illustrated Books Published in the UK’ by Martin Salisbury, UK

‘A Singaporean Interpretation of Classic Children’s Stories’ by Myra Garces-Bacsal, Singapore

‘American Nonsense and the Work of Carl Sandburg and Dave and Toph Eggers’ by Michael Heyman, USA

‘The Work of Beatrix Potter and the Loss of Innocence‘ by Eleanor Taylor, UK

‘A Look at Translation’ by Daniel Hahn, UK

And that’s not all, we also have…

Original fiction (well, the the first of four parts) by Eoin Colfer, illustrated by Adrienne Geoghegan, Ireland

Original poetry by Toni Stuart, South Africa

A comic strip explaining what Gary Northfield (UK) really hates drawing

An illustrator profile on Catarina Sobral (Portugal) who has illustrated our amazing first issue cover


A Literary Crossword by Tristan Hanks, UK



We have made a decision, here at The Read HQ, not to publish any reviews in the magazine.  But occasionally a book we read will be so astounding that we’ll feel compelled to write about it here on the blog…

I have just read George by Alex Gino. A wonderful, touching, subtle and utterly magical book.

There is a lot being published at the moment looking at the theme of gender identity and honestly, I have to say it, in much on offer I find the story buried under the theme. As a reader (and an editor) I do admire books in which the theme is part of the story rather than dominating it.

In George Alex Gino has nailed it completely. A novel aimed at younger readers, the delight of the book is the subtle way in which the very central issue of the book is handled. George is a transgender girl who was assigned male at birth. She knows she should be a girl. When the school is looking for players to take part in a dramatisation of Charlotte’s Web, George wants to be Charlotte. That is the part that will allow her to tell everyone the truth about herself.

The delight of the book is the direct honesty of the story telling and the wonderful relationships that help George be the person she wants to be. George’s friend Kelly is a delight. Just the person we all want on our side no matter what is going down. There is a whimsy and lightness of touch too which I think puts Alex Gino up there with a writer like Louis Sachar.

This is a book that transcends issue and by doing so makes the importance of the theme of the book hit home to the reader. It is always better to entice and delight than harangue and preach. I feel so much better informed and so much more engaged with the issue of a transgender child now and I found it all out by reading a really wonderful novel.

I read that it took Alex Gino twelve years to write this book. I really hope that it won’t take that long for the next one.




The Tiger-Skin Rug

When my daughter was little she loved to share the reading pleasure of The Tiger-Skin Rug by Gerald Rose. By that time, in the late 80’s, the book was already over 10 years old. With beautiful art and a cheeky and irreverent story that emphasises the importance of loyalty and finding one’s place in a family, it felt like a classic and gave us hours and hours of pleasure.
When my daughter was 21 I wanted to give her a copy for her birthday and to my interest and dismay I found out it was out of print. At that time, working for Bloomsbury Publishing, I set off in search of Gerald and wrote to an address kindly given to me by the indomitable Klaus Flugge. I waited, and after about a month I got a letter from someone saying that they had bought the house from the Roses several years before but they did have a forwarding address which they also shared with me. My next letter was answered very quickly by Gerald who thankfully hadn’t moved again and we met and talked about bringing the wonderful book back into print.

We looked at the format and a couple of the internal spreads, as well as the jacket, to give the book a fresh appeal and in 2011 this wonderful book found itself back on to the shelves of bookshops and homes. In the Strand  (@strandbookstore) in New York I was delighted to see the book, and now my grandson has started to enjoy sharing this wonderful book with his parents.

Good literature last and outlasts trends and fashion and finds its way into the hearts of each new generation. As long as publishers are prepared to ensure the books are made available and are prepared to take a risk on something that doesn’t obviously tick the ‘best-seller’ boxes of the day. There is space in the world for individual and unique voices, they have to be supported and nurtured and talked about. But then, it is never a hardship to celebrate stories we love.


A Quick Thank You

It is only a week since The Read Quarterly was announced through both The Bookseller in the UK and Publishers Weekly in the USA. But it feels like a week that has cemented such an important part of our futures. We are now committed to publishing the magazine. Not so much because we have said we will. But because of the absolutely amazing response we have had from people around the world to the news that a journal looking at the culture of children’s literature will be launched in 2016.

We now have commitments from people wanting to subscribe in countries as far apart as Australia, Egypt, India, UK, USA and Brazil and many places in-between. We have heard from librarians, publishers, lay people, authors and illustrators saying how much they look forward to being able to enjoy the magazine. We have been offered articles, art work, access to houses who are interested in our soon to be regular feature about artisan publishers. We have heard from our potential audience and now we are not making this publication in a vacuum, we are making it with a very real end user in mind. And that is more motivating than just about anything that has happened that got us to this point.

Soon we will be making announcements about our subscription arrangements. Until then thank you for your interest and support. And please keep emailing, it makes all the difference to us.


Tara Books

Michael Rosen said, when asked if he thought there was a future for small independent houses in this age of super conglomerates, that ‘heterodoxy will exist alongside orthodoxy’. This inspired us to create a regular feature in The Read celebrating the artisan, bespoke and boutique publishers of wonderful children’s books from around the world.

In the first issue we introduce you to Tara Books, an independent publisher of picture books for adults and children, based in Chennai, south India. Founded in 1994, it remains a collective of dedicated writers, designers and artists who strive for a union of fine form and rich content. Fiercely independent, they publish a select list that encompasses diverse genres, offering their readers unusual and rare voices in art and literature.