This issue’s cover illustration is from A Year of Nature Poems by Joseph Coelho illustrated by Kelly Louise Judd. Thanks to Wide Eyed Editions for their help with this January 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

Shadowscent: The Darkest Bloom (14+ Secondary/Adult)

P.M. Freestone

448pp, 978-1407192154, RRP £7.99, Paperback

Quest fantasies risk ending in anticlimax, but here tension builds towards a finale where mortal courage is fused with supernatural violence, managed by Freestone with remarkable graphic intensity.

Latest Reviews

Paper Avalanche (14+ Secondary/Adult)

Lisa Williamson
(David Fickling Books)

368pp, FICTION, 978-1910989968, RRP £10.99, Hardcover

This is Lisa Williamson’s third novel, and like its predecessors scores highly for sheer readability. Compassionate and understanding, even where silly spoilt Bonnie is concerned, this is YA fiction at its most assured.

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Lark (10-14 Middle/Secondary)

Anthony McGowan
(Barrington Stoke)

120pp, FICTION, 978-1781128435, RRP £7.99, Paperback

As with the earlier books, along with the excitement of the adventure, our interest lies in the relationship between the brothers and the emotional frontiers they cross, together and separately. McGowan makes such complexity available to his teenage readers in a social context where day-to-day life can be abrasive and emotion is implicit rather than expressed.

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The Key to Flambards (14+ Secondary/Adult)

Linda Newbery
(David Fickling Books)

310pp, 978-1788450041, RRP £12.99, Hardcover

This book is designed as a sequel to the series by K.M.Peyton known as the Flambards novels. The book is set after the end of the final book in the Peyton series.

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I Was Made For You (Under 5s Pre-School/Nursery/Infant)

David Lucas
(Andersen Press)

40pp, PICTURE BOOK, 978-1783446056, RRP £11.99, Hardcover

This delightful picture book has just the right mixture of humour, adventure, jeopardy and sentiment, as woolly Cat sets off into the snowy Christmas night to find out why he has been made.

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Books for Keeps Feature

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Latest News


Lollies winners 2019

Elys Dolan, Emer Stamp and Tom Gates creator Liz Pichon have been named the winners of the 2019 Laugh Out Loud Awards, or Lollies.

Established by Scholastic UK in 2015 on the demise of the Roald Dahl Funny Book Prize, the Lollies celebrate funny books for children.

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Hilary McKay

Hilary McKay has won the Costa Children’s Book Award for the second time for The Skylarks’ War, a story following the loves and losses of a family growing up against the backdrop of World War One. The judges described The Skylarks’ War as ‘as perfect a novel as you could ever want to read’.

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Cath Senker wins EWA 2018

The winner of the 2018 Educational Writers’ Award, the UK’s sole award for creative educational writing, is Far From Home: Refugees and Migrants Fleeing War, Persecution and Poverty by Cath Senker.

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