Hello and welcome to the first issue of Books for Keeps in 2022. At times we didn’t think we’d reach this milestone – our 42nd year – so thank you again to everyone who contributed to our fundraising in 2021 and helped us create our new website.
We’re not in any position to relax yet however, but then tension and uncertainty remain the prevailing emotion nationally. Indeed, only this week, Oxford University Press revealed that anxiety is the Children’s Word of the Year 2021. Over 8,000 children from across 85 schools in the UK, spanning Year 3 to Year 9, were surveyed and asked to choose the top words they would use when talking about health and wellbeing and almost a quarter of all surveyed plumped for anxiety (21 per cent) as their number one word, closely followed by challenging (19 per cent) and isolate (14 per cent). It’s not all doom and gloom however, wellbeing (13 per cent) and resilience (12 per cent) closely followed as their top words.
When teachers from the 85 schools were asked the same question, perhaps unsurprisingly resilience came in as their number one choice (31 per cent) ‘reflecting the importance of providing their pupils with positive direction in the face of difficult times’ according to the creators of the report …. Challenging was the teachers’ second choice (19 per cent).
With everyone in need of a boost it’s no wonder that joy will be a dominant theme for books in 2022, at least according to agents questioned by The Bookseller. As has become a tradition in our first issue of the new year, we asked publishers to tell us about the books they are most excited to be publishing, and a quick ‘control find’ reveals that the word joy appears nine times, which would bear this out.
This time last year, we drew up a list of our reasons to be cheerful and highlighted the growth in the number of independent bookshops. That number continued to grow throughout 2021, and there are now 1,027 in the UK, while the profit-sharing platform Bookshop.org, meanwhile, is about to reach £2m of profit generated for indies. It’s cheering too that book sales continued to climb last year, with more than 212m print books sold in 2021 – the highest figure of the last decade. With the help of our team of reviewers, we will continue to read and appraise as many of those published for children as we can (over 400 in 2021) and to introduce our readers to new authors, illustrators and publishers and aim to continue for as long as you want us to.
What do you think of our new website?
Launched in July 2021, our new website is bedded in and we’d very much like to know what you think of it. Please take a few minutes to complete this short survey and if there’s extra information you’d like to share, please email us email@example.com.
If you’re a teacher and would like to contribute to our Good Reads feature, we’d love to hear from you too – use the same email address, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Happy reading, 2022!