Books to support understanding of mental health


The lives of a huge proportion of children and young people will be touched by mental health issues, whether directly or indirectly. As many as one in ten children and young people aged five to 16 have a diagnosable mental health disorder – that is three in any one classroom.


By adulthood, the figure rises to one in four, meaning many children will come into contact with relatives or other adults who are affected.


Maintaining good relationships is a fundamental aspect of nurturing good mental health, and this is the theme of the 2016 awareness week.

Find out more here!


World Book Day: The 10 best teen reads


‘As the sixth What Kids Are Reading report bemoans a tendency among secondary school students to read books that are too easy – suggesting that teachers and librarians aren’t pushing challenging titles strongly enough to older kids – the organisers of World Book Day have announced a list that might serve as a corrective, or at least a useful source of ideas. The Writes of Passage list of popular books for young adults, voted for by 7,000 people across the UK, features a top 10 of books to help “shape and inspire” teenagers, and give them the empathic tools and words to handle some of the challenges of adolescence. The complete list of 50 features books to “help you understand you”, “change the way you think” and “make you cry”, as well as thrill, transport and scare you. And it’s quite substantial. ‘

Check out these lists!

Clive James: ‘The English language is under siege from tone-deaf activists’


In Australia there is some outfit going by the name of the Productivity Commission that calls books “cultural externalities”. Speaking as someone who, when well, writes cultural externalities for a living, I think it might be more efficient, from the productivity angle, if we could go on calling them books. But I admit that this is merely my opinion, not settled science. If I were advancing this opinion in the form of a tweet or comment, I could insert the acronym IMO, so proving that the standard dead white male language of Jane Austen is now being assailed not only by expansive phrases from institutions that wish to sound more important, but also by piddling abbreviations from individuals who wish to sound pressed for time.

Admittedly, some of those individuals wish to sound humble, too, and might even be so; but saying IMO is a counterproductive way of conveying that impression, because we already assume that your opinion is only your opinion. And saying IMHO is an even more counterproductive way of conveying it, because nobody who says “in my humble opinion” is any more humble than Saddam Hussein and Imelda Marcos dancing the tango.

Find out more!

Marjerine or marg-arine? How the BBC taught us to talk proper


A history of the BBC’s attempts to systematise the pronunciation of English does not, on the surface, sound like a gripping read. But in Dictating to the Mob: The History of the BBC Advisory Committee on Spoken English, Oxford University Press may have a surprise bestseller on its hands.

OK, I exaggerate a bit. Professor Jürg Schwyter’s book is pretty academic in places, but bubbling away among all the footnotes is a wonderful sitcom about a committee of the great and the good – poet laureate Robert Bridges, playwright George Bernard Shaw, critic Lord David Cecil, art historian Kenneth Clark, novelist Rose Macaulay – tying themselves in knots trying to lay down standard pronunciation of words in English.