Sunday 1 August 2021


Today is Yorkshire Day when the White Rose flag flutters freely from flagpoles all across God's Own County, especially in tourist spots like York and I enjoy seeing them.

Yorkshire Nylon Flag | Buy Nylon Flag of Yorkshire | The ...

Yorkshire Day began as a response to the 1974 governmental reorganisation that, in Yorkshire, removed its three traditional administrative areas, which had existed since 1100, when the Danes divided the land into "Thirdings",  allowing each representation at the "Thing",  the parliamentary gathering in York.  The term Thirdings gradually shifted to become "The Ridings", and they were simply known as the West Riding, the North Riding, and East Riding., which was given its name back at later date.

 However, there is a purely fictitious"South Riding".

                             Read the Book: South Riding: An Unexpected Book with an ...

South Riding is an influential "farm and school" novel by Winifred Holtby, who wrote for the Manchester Guardian in the 1920's & 30's. The book is about Sarah Burton, a modernising schoolteacher trying to develop the lives of her pupils, the romantic interest of a Yorkshire farmer and other characters, including an older woman councillor, supposedly based on Holtby's mother, the first female Alderman on the County Council.

Holtby's nominal South Riding is the area south of the market town of Beverley, down towards Hull, and offers a picture of the changes brought about in provincial life after First World War. The writing reflects both her progressive politics and love of the Yorkshire countryside, and the novel was adapted for the small screen in 2011.

             South Riding TV Show - Season 1 Episodes List - Next Episode

After Holtby's early death, her friend Vera Brittain saw the manuscript of South Riding to publication in 1936. and its triumphant reception.

Holtby's novel reads almost like a historical novel now, as do those famous Yorkshire children's classics: The Railway Children by Edith Nesbit and The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett.  

So, as Awfully Big Blog Adventure is about children's books, I've looked for a few writers from or living in Yorkshire whose books are inspiring and interesting children today. Here's what - or who -  I found.

Steve Weatherill and Stephen Waterhouse areboth illustrators, creating picture books, from cute geese through to non-fiction.. 

Steve Weatherill | Authors Aloud

Steve Weatherill | Authors Aloud 
Stephen Waterhouse - The AOI 
Poet and writer Em Lyn as and illustrator Matt Hunt have created  thsi newly published The Cat and the Rat and the Hat book.

Em Lynas - The Witch School series - Funny Poems


 Saviour Pirotta writes books and series based on myths & legends, taking his enthusiastic young readers into past times and historical adventures.

The Stolen Spear by Saviour Pirotta, illustrated by Davide ...

Among Hilary Robinson's recent picture books for little ones are the Gregory Goose, series illustrated with Mandy Stanley, as well as her WWI picture books

Gregory Goose is on the Loose! : In the Jungle: Hilary ...

Theresa Tomlinson has re-issued her 7th century historical novel about Hild, the Abbess of Whitby and Fridgyth, a herb-wife. Adult and older readers.

A Swarming of Bees by Theresa Tomlinson — Reviews ...

Sally Nicholls, originally from Yorkshire, usually writes for teens and early teens, and here is her historical novel about the arrival of the Plague.

All Fall Down by Sally Nicholls | Buy Books at ... 

Meanwhile, for football fans,, it's worth searching for books by Helena Pielichaty and by Tom Palmer., as well as Tom's war novels.

Helena-pielichaty | Summer Reading Challenge 
Football Academy: Captain Fantastic: Tom ...

 Or there are several powerful Phil Earle titles to choose from:

Fifteen Days without a Head and other stories

Or fearsome fantasy from Liz Flanagan: 

Blog — Liz Flanagan

I tracked down all the "Yorkshire" children's authors above, but there are others such as Melvin Burgess,  Andy Seed, Emma Barnes, Kate Pankhurst, Teresa Flavin  and more. . . 

But, please, do YOU have any Yorkshire authors, illustrators or book titles to suggest? Do add them in the comments!

And there's this book too, still around , or so I've heard . . .

A Boy Called MOUSE | Penny Dolan | 9781408801376


Have a Great Yorkshire Day today!

Penny Dolan 



Mystica said...

Thank you for the post especially about the book South Riding. I like the bits of history too.

Penny Dolan said...

Thanks, Mystica. Once I'd thought of South Riding, I couldn't ignore the book nor Winifred Holtby.
I suppose I could have linked the two parts through the idea of education and schooling as a topic leading into children's reading? But I was worried about how long readers would spend with a blog - and also adult writers like Ted Hughes likely to come barging in. Though TH did write poetry for children, and "Poetry in the Making" for secondary school students, so maybe he should have his say.

Joan Lennon said...

Happy Yorkshire Day, and 5 gold stars for A Boy Called M.O.U.S.E.!

Penny Dolan said...

Thanks, Joan. I'm sure there must be a Fair Isle Day - but perhaps that is every day?

Steve Weatherill said...

Lovely blog, Penny.

Saviour Pirotta said...

What a brilliant post, Penny. I'm going to get me a copy of South Riding.

jfidz said...

Hi Penny. Can I very humbly put myself forward as a 'Yorkshire' author, having had a couple of unique and original picture books published.

Pippa Goodhart said...

I have half Yorkshire blood running in my veins, and am proud of it! My father came from Bradford, his family largely working in the woollen mills in the early C20th, and before that some had farmed around Malham. One of my daughters is settled in Yorkshire with a proper Yorkshireman, so we're coming back ...!

Lynne Benton said...

Lovely post, Penny - and glad "Mouse" gets a boost too! So well-deserved!

Penny Dolan said...

I have just heard that Helen Larder, writer of "Anarchy" comes from Huddersfield.

Also that Katherine Langrish - author of many novels inspired by folk tales and Norse legends - grew up in Yorkshire too.

Kath has recently written a much-praised and very readable non-fiction book - part memoir, part critical analysis - based on her childhood love of C.S. Lewis's Narnia books and the roots of his own inspiration; From Spare Oom to War Drobe.