A petition has started. We the people are going to try and get the Canal and River Trust to see sense and let Word on the Water get a permanent home. To give London a lasting bastion for literacy, calm and recycling. Somewhere I can show my children that bookshops are exciting and cool. Where my friend can make a living doing something good for the city.
With kids' books you have to find the age dependant sweet spot that's got story, but isn't too long, and isn't so annoying that reading it twice a day for months won't drive you to suicide. Luckily there's a fantastic range of publishers, and with picture books you're not dogged branded stuff (that hits later when they like Marvel, DC and Turtles.)
Children, like adults, have the right to see books that reflect the world around them, and the broader world, too. That means, yes, featuring different races, cultures, genders, sexual orientations, religions, abilities, classes, ages, and so on, and also exploring political, moral, physical, and emotional issues
Everyone knows that children's literature can't possibly be high quality, right? It doesn't count as proper literary fiction, does it? It can't make people consider big issues or challenge ideas of genre, can it? This week, the University of Kent's creative writing programme embarrassed itself by its advertising strategy, followed by a series of rather ignorant tweets.
Children's minds are hungry, receptive places that seek out information and ideas. The more engagingly presented these ideas can be, the better. And they don't need to be mind-bending fantasy to appeal to, or have an effect on, a child. Stories that chime more of a familiar chord are just as valuable.
"Never underestimate your audience. If you think that eight-year-olds aren't interested in major philosophical and political issues you are completely mistaken. Put in clever plot twists that link books two and book 10 in a complicated fashion. I promise you, the eight-year-olds will notice, and they will write to you saying how much they appreciate it."