The Teen Titles cycle never stops!

The minute we complete the final proof reads and edits of one issue of Teen Titles, we get right on to starting the process for the next issue, and the forthcoming issue number 73 is no different.

This July, we were delighted to visit the Publication Unit in their brand new home at Central Library on George IV Bridge where we found over 100 books representing the latest in Young Adult literature which had been kindly sent to us from a range of publishers across the UK and beyond.

TT blog
We quickly set to work weeding out books which we knew had been reviewed in issue 72, then we arranged the books by genre so that we could evenly distribute to the 8 sub editors of the Teen Titles Team.

That done, we fairly distributed the books to each team member, making sure that everyone had a range of genres and a similar number in their pile. Then, we take a note of what we are sending out to each person so that we can have an accurate record of what we have received.  Next steps are to parcel up the piles of books and mail them out to the team. This is what 106 titles look liked bagged up!

The team gets 3 weeks to read their pile of books and prepare a short synopsis of the plot (no spoilers, obviously!) before distributing the books to the 2 or 3 schools in their sub group. It works like a no-strings attached pyramid scheme!

We all intentionally have a quick turnaround to make sure that students have at least 6 weeks to read their book and write their review… the next review deadline is the start of October. Yikes!

On top of this we organise approximately 3 interviews per issue. Interview opportunities present themselves at random times so we are regularly in touch with publicists and authors to make sure we get the best possible content!

Teen Titles is available in Edinburgh school and local libraries.

Teen Titles 71 cover

Teen Titles 71

To purchase your own subscription to Teen Titles, contact the Publication Unit


Looking for holiday arty fun for children and young people?

This year Edinburgh Art Festival’s Explorers programme in partnership with the Art and Design Library comes to Central Library for informal, creative sessions suitable for ages 8 to 13 on Thursdays 5 and 12 July and 2 and 9 August from 2 to 4pm.

Join us for all the sessions or just drop in for one. We’ll be drawing, cutting, sticking, chatting about art, playing art games, working together and making fun stuff. We’ll be using found materials and transforming unwanted materials where possible. Feel free to bring in your own stuff to incorporate into the workshops.

You can book online or drop in at 2pm on the day.

Thursday 5 July, 2 to 4pm – Collage
Manipulate and transform printed material and imagery through collaborative collage games. Come along to cut, tear, fold, stick, and make strange and surreal artworks. Book online

Thursday 12 July, 2 to 4pm – Cut-Up
Can a word be a picture? Focusing around words, in today’s workshop we’ll be making collaborative collage poems, word weaves, and combining words, images and drawing to make new and exciting artworks.
Book online

Thursday 2 August, 2 to 4pm – Artists Books
Today’s workshop will focus on drawing, mark-making and collage, using found and natural objects as inspiration to create your own unique artist’s book.
Book online

Thursday 9 August, 2 – 4pm – Assemblage
Using a wide range of found and collected materials, we will be making crazy, inventive assemblage sculptures. Feel free to bring your own objects to add to the sculptures, anything from a shell to an eggbox to a bicycle tyre!
Book online

The Summer Reading Challenge is here!

This summer, join Edinburgh Libraries for the Mischief Makers Summer Reading Challenge!

Mischief Makers is inspired by the much-loved and iconic children’s title Beano, and features Dennis, Gnasher and friends from the comic.

Children are invited to read six library books during the long summer holiday to collect stickers and the all important finisher’s medal. All library books read during the holidays count towards the challenge including ebooks and audiobooks.

And to help keep children out of mischief, there will also be loads of fun events happening in all libraries during the holidays. Contact your local library for details and how to take part.

The challenge starts on Saturday 23 June and runs until the end of August.

Join the fun at your local library!

The latest issue of Teen Titles is just out!

Issue 71 of Teen Titles has just arrived in school and public libraries across Edinburgh and beyond, and we could not be more happy with it if we tried.

Teen Titles 71 cover

Teen Titles 71

The magazine features over 120 student reviews of the latest literature for young adults.  The cover book for this issue is The Dead I Know by Scot Gardner. The novel is about a boy whose life is a mess but who gets the fresh start he needs when he gets an apprenticeship in a funeral parlour. As Andi Christie, the reviewer from Drummond Community High School, says ‘the book focuses on death in a solemn but poetic way’.

We had a bumper crop of high quality interviews in this issue!  Students from Broughton High interviewed Non Pratt who was talking about her latest book Second Best Friend. Her novel is an incredibly accessible story that focusses on a teenage girl who is determined to win a high school election, and just how difficult it can be to navigate female friendships. The S2 class who interviewed Non were delighted, inspired and entertained by her chat.

Photograph of Non Pratt with pupils from Broughton Highschool

Non Pratt meets students from Broughton High School

Faye Bird was interviewed by students from Gracemount High who identify as being her keenest readers! Faye is the author of My Second Life and What I Couldn’t Tell You, a novel about Selective Mutism that the reviewers felt was ‘raw and emotional’ and Faye divulged that she loves reading dark books, and boy, does she like to do her research.

Photograph of Faye Bird with pupils

Faye Bird meets pupils from Gracemount High School

A Portobello student email interviewed Juno Dawson about her latest book Grave Matter, a hair raising book about a boy grieving over the death of his best friend and desperate to do anything to bring her back to life.

Finally, Sophie Cameron launched her debut novel Out of the Blue at Broughton High and was interviewed by a S1 class. Out of the Blue is set in Edinburgh but not Edinburgh as we currently know it – angels are falling from the sky and Jaya’s dad is determined to find out why! All Jaya can focus on, however, is her mother who died a few months ago. Sophie revealed that she wanted to keep the angels as mysterious as possible and that she might revisit them in a future book! The reviewers felt that her book was a ‘beautiful story of modern day life and far away fantasy’.

Teen Titles focusses on publishing reviews of the latest books for teenagers and interviews with top Young Adult authors, and every word of the honest and un-edited content is written by teenagers from the City of Edinburgh’s secondary schools.

To purchase your own subscription to Teen Titles, contact the Publication Unit

Helping children enjoy writing: Currie Library’s Creative Writing Club

At the start of the year, Currie Library launched a Creative Writing Club for P5-7 pupils from local primary schools. The club, which meets on alternate Saturdays from 3 to 4pm, kicked off with 12 children (six girls and six boys).

Club Adviser Suzanne Green, who is part of the Currie, Colinton and Balerno Libraries team, is a freelance writer and editor with almost 30 years of experience. She aims to keep the club members engaged, providing them with new challenges at each meeting. The focus is very much on helping them to enjoy writing by finding out what they like to read, helping them to discover their strengths and what they enjoy working on, regularly giving them new prompts and challenges to keep them engaged and ensuring they enjoy the club and look forward to the next session.

One week the children were asked to go to the children’s section of the library and choose a book by one of their favourite authors. When they returned with their books, they were challenged to write a story, copying the style of their preferred author. Later, when they read their stories out loud, the other members of the club guessed which author they were trying to imitate. Suzanne explained that sometimes it’s good for artists to copy someone who is very good at their craft, and then later develop their own personal style.

At the next meeting, Suzanne gave each club member the first few lines of a Horrid Henry story she had written, inviting them to finish it:

It was Tuesday.

Horrid Henry woke up and a feeling of dread descended over him.

Today was the day of the dentist appointment. And it wasn’t going to be like most visits to the dentist. This time it was not a check-up. This time Henry would have a tooth filled.

Henry had never had to have a filling done. And he still could not believe it was true. But at his last check-up the dentist, Dr. Overbite, said to him, “Well, Henry, it looks like you have been eating too many sweets and having too many sugary drinks! We will have to do a little filling on your next visit…”

More recently, club members were invited to take turns accessing’s interactive story starter site. By pulling the levers to spin four different wheels, the children were given a genre, a character, an adjective describing that character and a situation or plot. The club has also been challenged to examine the contents of a bag of 10 random everyday objects and then write a story in which two or three of those objects play a part.

Attendance is normally between eight and ten children, and their tastes range from science fiction, to adventure, to mystery stories, to fantasy. So far, they have not been keen to work on poetry, so that will be a challenge for the Club Adviser!

If you know someone in P5-P7 who likes to write and would be interested in joining the group, contact Currie Library for more information.

The latest issue of Teen Titles is just out!

Teen Titles is the book review magazine that is packed full of Edinburgh teenagers’ (very) honest and uncensored opinions of the latest books for teenagers.

Publishers send copies of their latest books for young adults to the Teen Titles editorial team, who read each book, carefully write a synopsis, and then send on to each secondary school library in Edinburgh.

Teen Titles 70 front cover

Teen Titles Issue 70

In effect, students from every high school in the city get the opportunity to contribute, and the result is a magazine that honestly reflects what students think, making it a very valuable resource for students, authors and publishers alike.

The magazine is available from every public and school library and TT70 features these interviews and highlights:

Cat Clarke talks to Craigmount High School about her new book Girlhood, why her novels always have female leads and why she is not afraid to examine in them potentially taboo subjects such as mental illness, death and loss.

St Thomas of Aquin’s chat to Cathy MacPhail about her new novel Between The Lies which tells of a girl’s sudden disappearance, why social media can be both a good and a destructive influence, and why she has decided to collaborate on her next book with her son!

Pupils at St Thomas of Aquin's met Cathy MacPhail

Pupils at St Thomas of Aquin’s met Cathy MacPhail

John Young speaks to Boroughmuir High School about his debut novel Farewell Tour of a Terminal Optimist – which is about a teenager dying of cancer who goes on a wild road trip across Scotland to find his dad – and how his daughter’s own illness inspired his story.

Author, John Young at Boroughmuir High School

Author, John Young visits Boroughmuir High School

The Royal High School meet Kiran Millwood Hargrave, whose award-nominated novel The Island at the End of Everything is set on the Philippines Island of Culion and ask why she has made leprosy and butterflies its main subjects.

There are also reviews of over 60 books, factfiles about many of the authors we are featuring, and our popular Readers Write column.

Teen Titles is the only magazine of its kind in the UK, we think! It can boast subscribers from all over the UK and abroad, and publishers and authors are not only very keen to get their books included, but are desperate to know what their readers genuinely think of them.

To purchase your own subscription to Teen Titles, contact the Publication Unit

Raising awareness of Young Carers

25 January 2018 was Young Carers Awareness Day, a day with the aim to identify and raise awareness of the 700,000 young carers across the UK who care for a sick or disabled family member. By raising awareness, they hope it will help young carers to get the support they desperately need.

Portobello Library has been running a book group in partnership with Edinburgh Young Carers since March 2017. The group meets monthly during term time and has varied in size and composition during this time but has a core of 6 regular members between the ages of 7 and 9. The reading group involves a book discussion, activities and a snack. Themes for these meetings have included favourite books, countries and Halloween horror with some spooky reads.

Last month, to mark Young Carer’s Awareness Day, the group accompanied by a member of staff from Portobello Library and Edinburgh Young Carers support workers went to Blackwell’s Bookshop to buy children’s books for Portobello Library and were also able to select a book for themselves.

The group will next meet in Portobello Library on Tuesday 27 February, when the theme will be Poetry and Jokes with readings from Roald Dahl’s classic ‘Revolting Rhymes’.

Edinburgh Young Carers aims to make a positive difference in the lives and futures of young carers through support, information, respite, personal development and training. Get in touch with Edinburgh Young Carers if you know someone who would be interested in joining the young carers book group.