2 Editorial _________________________________________

3 Poems about Pangolins: Editor Fiona Waters describes the joys and challenges of choosing an animal poem for every day of the year.


4 Ten essential books for young readers chosen by Geraldine McCaughrean


6 Windows into Illustration: Britta Teckentrup

_________________________________________ _________________________________________

10 Windows into World: Jake Hope on the importance of visual representation and inclusion

12 The red thread of _________________________________________

reading for pleasure: looking back to learn by Teresa Cremin

14 Beyond the Secret _________________________________________

Garden: The Other Side of the Story Darren Chetty and Karen Sands-O’Connor delve into historical fiction.

16 A Story that Needed

_________________________________________ 17 I Wish: Julia Green chooses

Telling: Tom Palmer talks to Clare Zinkin about his new book After the War


17 Good Reads at home with the Biddles


18 Wendy Cooling remembered by Anne Sarrag


19 Reviewers and reviews List of reviewers

Books about Children’s Books Under 5s (Pre-School/Nursery/ Infant)

5-8 (Infant/Junior) + Ed’s Choice 8-10 (Junior/Middle) + New Talent


10-14 (Middle/Secondary) 14+ (Secondary/Adult)

34 Classics in Short No. 143 Go To the Wild Sky for drama and puzzlement

_________________________________________ COVER STORY

This issue’s cover illustration is from Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright!: An Animal Poem for Every Day of the Year edited by Fiona Waters and illustrated by Britta Teckentrup. Thanks to Nosy Crow for their help with this September cover.

Books for Keeps

September 2020 No.244 ISSN 0143-909X © Books for Keeps CIC 2016

Managing Editor: Andrea Reece Editorial advisor: Ferelith Hordon Assistant Editor: Eloise Delamere Editorial assistant: Alexia Counsell Design: Louise Millar

Editorial correspondence should be sent to Books for Keeps, 30 Winton Avenue London N11 2AT.

2 Books for Keeps No.244 September 2020

Books for Keeps is available online at A regular BfK Newsletter can also be sent by email. To sign up for the Newsletter, go to and follow the Newsletter link. If any difficulty is experienced, email addresses can also be sent to*


Website: *Email addresses will be used by Books for Keeps only for the purpose of emailing the Newsletter and will not be disclosed to third parties.

8 Authorgraph: Kevin Crossley-Holland interviewed by Imogen Russell-Williams

Editorial 244 _________________________________________

Hello and welcome to the 244th issue of Books for Keeps, another bumper edition. This issue’s review pages in particular are more than usually packed. After six months in which publishers have puzzled over how best to manage their schedules, 600 new books were published on Thursday 4 September alone. Certainly our office has been flooded with new books for children and young readers by established authors, rising stars and extremely talented debut writers and illustrators. Alongside fiction, non-fiction continues to thrive as does poetry for children. In the recent online award ceremony for the Branford Boase Award which highlights the most promising new authors, founder and chair of the judges Julia Eccleshare talked about the importance of new stories, because these stories and books probe what is going on in society now, helping young readers come to understand their world. This year’s Branford Boase Award winner, Bearmouth by Liz Hyder, is a book about ‘revolushun’ that though set in an imagined world has a great deal to say about the way we live now, and as Hyder said at the same event, she wants her readers to feel ‘angry but empowered.’ Other books on the shortlist, including The Space We’re In by Katya Balen, highly commended by the judges, and The Million Pieces of Neena Gill by Emma Smith-Barton, deal with serious issues but each of these seven books are informed by and reflect on contemporary society. The results of a recent survey by UKLA on what literature is being taught in years 7 – 9 therefore is deeply concerning. The report’s authors found that ‘the ‘diet’ of literature experienced by these [pupils] is generally limited

and does not exhibit the diversity that we might hope for, considering the wealth

of literature

available.’ When so many outstanding new books are being published, it’s sad that by Year 9, the researchers found only three texts published in the last 30 years were being taught, with the rest being over 60 years old. You can find the full report at literature-texts-are-being-taught-in-years-7-to-9/.

Books for Keeps will continue to highlight new books and new writers, as it has done for the last forty years. In our last editorial we announced our plans to ensure the future of the magazine, launching a funding appeal to raise the £10,000 necessary to create a new website and preserve the archive.

We would like to thank everyone who has contributed so far and helped us raise over £4,000. Thank you in particular to authors Anne Fine, Frank Cottrell-Boyce, SF Said, Kate Wakeling, Pippa Goodhart, Tony Bradman, Matt Brown, Elen Caldecott; to publishers Walker Books, Scallywag Press, Book Island, Child’s Play and Klaus Flugge. Thank you too to all those who have made contributions, we very much appreciate it.

Please do spread the word and to donate now, go to the Books for Keeps Givey page. Thank you for your support. If you have questions or suggestions, contact Managing Editor Andrea Reece, andrea.

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