This issue’s cover illustration is from The White Giraffe series: Operation Rhino by Lauren St John. Thanks to Orion Children’s Books for their help with this cover.

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Illustrating It Starts with a Seed

Jennie Webber illustrating It Stars with a Seed

Jennie Webber describes and demonstrates her unique etching technique and her inspiration for It Starts with a Seed.

Books for Keeps is the UK’s leading, independent children’s book magazine. It was launched in 1980 and ever since has been reviewing hundreds of new children’s books each year and publishing articles on every aspect of writing for children. There are over 12,500 reviews on our new website and more than 2,000 articles including interviews with the top children’s authors and illustrators.

“The best scholars, reviewers, authors and critics write for Books for Keeps. We hold a mirror up to the children’s book world and reflects back its output, issues and preoccupations with intelligence, scholarship and wit.”

Book of the week

A Visit to City Farm (5-8 Infant/Junior)

Verna Wilkins

(Firetree books)
32pp, 978-1911402077, RRP £6.99, Paperback

The excitement of a trip to a city farm is described with particularly vivid insight in this joyful picture book, and no wonder: A Visit to City Farm was created as a special and probably unique collaboration between the children of Year 5 at Chalkhill Primary School, Brent and the author, illustrator, editor and printer.

Latest Reviews

I’ll Be Home for Christmas (14+ Secondary/Adult)

Various Authors
(Stripes Publishing)

384pp, ANTHOLOGY, 978-1847157720, RRP £7.99, Paperback

This collection of 13 short stories, prefaced by Benjamin Zephaniah’s poem, was commissioned by Stripes to celebrate their ten years of publishing; and while they were doing so, to support the charity Crisis, which works to help people out of homelessness.

read more >

Ossiri and the Bala Mengro (5-8 Infant/Junior)

Richard O’Neill and Katharine Quarmby
(Child's Play (International) Ltd)

32pp, 978-1846439247, RRP £5.99, Paperback

Best to start by reading the glossary, tucked at the bottom of the publisher’s page, as to many, some words used in this book wil be unfamiliar.

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Lydia. The Wild Girl of Pride & Prejudice (10-14 Middle/Secondary)

Natasha Farrant
(Chicken House Ltd)

352pp, 978-1910002971, RRP £7.99, Paperback

It is a brave author who takes on a classic; it very rarely works. Natasha Farrant has boldly decided to enter the world of Jane Austen. Does she succeed? She does.

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Beck (14+ Secondary/Adult)

Mal Peet and Meg Rosoff
(Walker Books)

272pp, 978-1406331127, RRP £12.99, Hardcover

This at times sad story also has a sad history, with the enormously gifted Mal Peet dying of cancer before he could get to its end. But his close friend, the equally uncompromising Meg Rosoff, accepted his wish that she complete the work.

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Latest News


Costa have announced the shortlist for the 2017 Costa Children’s Book Award. Alongside multi-million selling author Francesca Simon are Brian Conaghan, and debut authors Patrice Lawrence and Ross Welford.

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How Machines Work

David Macaulay has won the Royal Society Young People’s Book Prize 2016 for How Machines Work (published by Dorling Kindersley).

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The Society of Authors and the Authors’ Licensing & Collecting Society have revealed the shortlist for the 2016 Educational Writers’ Award, the UK’s only award for educational writing which stimulates and enhances the learning experience.

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Ibby UK Honour Books List 2016 - a celebration

Ibby UK invite you to join them at a special evening celebrating the Ibby UK Honour Books 2016 at Waterstones Piccadilly on Thursday 8 December, 6.30pm.

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