This issue’s cover illustration features The Pavee and the Buffer Girl by Siobhan Dowd and Emma Shoard. Thanks to Barrington Stoke for their help with this May 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

The Ravenmaster's Boy (8-10 Junior/Middle)

Mary Hoffman

(The Greystones Press)
224pp, 978-1911122135, RRP £8.99, Paperback

Mary Hoffman’s latest novel is set in the Tower of London in the weeks leading up to the execution of Anne Boleyn. In this feature review Mary explains her approach to her book and to retelling a story we’ve all studied at school.

Latest Reviews

Frogkisser (8-10 Junior/Middle)

Garth Nix
(Piccadilly Press)

384pp, 978-1848126015, RRP £10.99, Hardcover

This novel has everything you could possibly want in a fairytale and more - humour, wit, a feisty princess and of course frogs. There are nods to every classic fantasy you have ever read here and the whole makes for a supremely satisfying read.

read more >

A Dangerous Crossing (10-14 Middle/Secondary)

Jane Mitchell
(Little Island Books)

224pp, 978-1910411582, RRP £7.99, Paperback

Tragic settings do not always make for top-class fiction, but this fine novel is an exception here. It is based on actual stories arising from the on-going middle-Eastern conflict.

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Welcome to Nowhere (10-14 Middle/Secondary)

Elizabeth Laird
(Macmillan Children's Books)

352pp, 978-1509853441, RRP £6.99, Paperback

In her latest novel, Elizabeth Laird returns to the Middle East. Set at the very beginning of the Syrian civil war, it’s the story of a middle class family (father is a government employee) which is caught up in the protests in Bosra and Daraa and forced to flee to Jordan.

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Whisper to Me (14+ Secondary/Adult)

Nick Lake
(Bloomsbury Childrens)

544pp, 978-1408853863, RRP £7.99, Paperback

Set in New Jersey, this sometimes harrowing story provides a sympathetic and informed description of what it is like to hear voices in your head inaudible to everyone else.

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Latest News


CLiPPA shortlist 2017 by Michael Thorn

The Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE) has announced the 2017 shortlist for the Centre for Literacy in Primary Poetry Award (CLiPPA). Established in 2003, CLiPPA encourages and celebrates outstanding poetry published for children. 2017 is the 15th anniversary of the award, which remains the only annual award in the UK for published poetry for children.

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Klaus Flugge Prize logo

The shortlist for the 2017 Klaus Flugge Prize was announced tonight 17 May at a special event at Foyles bookshop, Charing Cross Road. After a panel discussion on contemporary children’s book illustration with leading illustrators Michael Foreman, Emily Gravett, Mini Grey and Professor Martin Salisbury of the Cambridge School of Art, the winner of the inaugural Klaus Flugge Prize Nicholas John Frith read out the names of the five shortlisted books and illustrators.

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BBA logo 2017

The shortlist for the 2017 Branford Boase Award has been announced. The Branford Boase Award is given annually to the author of an outstanding debut novel for children. Uniquely, it also honours the editor of the winning title and highlights the importance of the editor in nurturing new talent.

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The English Association has established a new prize in memory of Margaret Mallett. Margaret, who died after a short illness in March 2017, was a passionate advocate for high quality books for children, and in particular non-fiction books.

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The School Library Association has announced the shortlist for the seventh annual SLA Information Book Award.

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