This issue’s cover illustration features a selection of books by Jane Ray. Thanks to Boxer Books, Hachette Children’s Books and Walker Books for their help with this March 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


Open: A Toolkit for how magic and messed up life can be (14+ Secondary/Adult)

Gemma Cairney

(Macmillan Children's Books)
312pp, NON FICTION, 978-1509836116, RRP £12.99, Hardcover


Teenage guides to love, life and everything are not new, but to attract more than a passing glance and avoid being dismissed as worthy, they must strike a chord with the mood of the moment. Gemma Cairney certainly succeeds in this. As a mentor and "agony aunt" she has real credibility. Her approach is chatty and direct; her vocabulary contemporary and colloquial. She draws on her own life experience as well as her expertise in using the interview. The result is engaging and immediate - and authoritative.

Her book is organised under four headings...


Latest Reviews

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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Who Let the Gods Out? (10-14 Middle/Secondary)

Maz Evans
(Chicken House)

368pp, 978-1910655412, RRP £6.99, Paperback


We begin where Elliot Hooper begins most of his days in school – in the office of the headmaster, Mr Sopweed, who oozes empathy and so is also known as Call Me Graham.


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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.


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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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THE CILIP CARNEGIE AND KATE GREENAWAY SHORTLISTS 2017

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The shortlists for the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals have been announced. More than ninety books were nominated by librarians for the awards, of these 20 in each category where longlisted. Eight have now made it onto the shortlists.


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SHORTLIST FOR THE UKLA BOOK AWARDS ANNOUNCED

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The shortlists for the 2017 UKLA Book Awards have been announced.In three age categories, the awards recognise books that can ‘enhance all aspects of literacy learning’, and are the only awards chosen by teachers.


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LONGLIST ANNOUNCED FOR THE 2017 KLAUS FLUGGE PRIZE

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The longlist for the 2017 Klaus Flugge Prize is announced today (Wednesday 8 March 2017). Established in 2016, the Klaus Flugge Prize is awarded to the most promising and exciting newcomer to children’s book illustration. It honours publisher Klaus Flugge, founder of children’s publisher Andersen Press and a supremely influential figure in picture books.


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THE BOOKSELLER YA BOOK PRIZE SHORTLIST

The Bookseller has announced the ten titles on the shortlist for The YA Book Prize 2017.


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MICHAEL MORPURGO, A MURDER MYSTERY AND A CHICKEN NUGGET: SHORTLIST ANNOUNCED FOR THE CHILDREN’S BOOK AWARD 2017

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The Children’s Book Award 2017 shortlist has been announced, the only national award for children’s books that is voted for entirely by children.


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