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Amy McKay - Editorial Expert

Amy is a knowledgeable, innovative and enthusiastic school librarian, living and working in Cumbria.  Amy is a past UK School Librarian of the Year.

With over 17 years’ experience in school libraries and over a decade as the Yoto Carnegies National Coordinator she has a vast knowledge of children’s literature. She is a familiar face at festivals and has judged numerous book awards, including the Blue Peter Book Awards and the Nibbies.

Amy loves nothing more than sharing her love of books and reading, connecting young people with the authors and books that will enrich their lives for years to come.

Latest Reviews By Amy McKay

The Things We Leave Behind
London teenager Clem enjoys her 15th birthday surrounded by friends, family, and glorious sunshine – a perfect day. The world is changing though, and soon everyone and everything she knows, and loves, will be in danger. Set in a not-so-distant future, England is ruled by a racist far-right authoritarian government, as civil unrest grows Clem must flee London with her younger sister, Billie. Safety lies in newly independent Scotland, but to get there the sisters must face unknown danger, suspicious bigots, and a terrifying small boat. This was a gut-wrenching read; the concept was so believable and the writing so ... View Full Review
Spin! 10 Exciting New Voices in Poetry
A power collection of 50 poems from 10 debut poets, put together by the 2022-24 Children’s Laureate, Joseph Coelho. Working in collaboration with spoken word champions, Apples & Snakes, Coelho has selected 10 exciting and fresh poets from diverse and under- represented backgrounds, to create a unique and original anthology. The range of topics covered, and poetry styles utilised is impressive. From video-games to racist bullying, giant snowmen to ableism, Spin! takes us on a journey through many different perspectives and experiences whilst maintaining a sense of unity. The sometimes simple, always evocative poems shine with authenticity and attention to details. ... View Full Review
Moving Up
Moving up to secondary school brings with it a lot of different emotions and worries, thankfully experienced teacher and poet, Christian Foley, has created a perfect guide to help make the transition as smooth as possible. Foley’s knowledge and empathy for young people is apparent from the opening, bringing an authenticity and understanding that will connect with his audience. He entertainingly addresses the questions, curiosities, and concerns Year 6 students might have in an open and honest manner. Starting with how to navigate the last weeks of primary school, to school uniforms and other practicalities, such as getting lost ... View Full Review
On Silver Tides
Kelda is a fiercely protective big sister, she loves and defends her little sister, Isla, passionately and unquestioningly. But times and their community are changing, and protecting Isla may not be possible for much longer. For the sisters are silvermen, a secret species of near-humans who live on Britain’s waterways, breathe through their skin underwater and keep strictly to themselves. When it is revealed that Isla cannot breathe water, she is decried as an abomination to silvermen lore and blamed for a sickness poisoning the rivers. With incredible world building and intricate plotting this is an exceptional fantasy ... View Full Review
Rainbowsaurus
Two dads and their three children set out on a joyful adventure to meet the Rainbowsaurus. As they search they meet an array of colourful and wonderfully noisy creatures. Bold illustrations and a fabulous rhyme make this a joy to read aloud and share. The use of repetition and colourful animal characters encourage young readers to join in with the story, spotting the animals and mimicking their sounds. Animals in an array of non-traditional colours, make this a fun and bold story, whilst gently underlining the inclusive message of celebrating difference. Read to the tune of ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little ... View Full Review
I Love Books
Imagine the injustice of having to read a WHOLE book over the summer holidays! That’s the horror one little girl is faced with in I Love Books, and she’s not happy about it. A trip to the library does little to quell her disgust at least not at first, but when the right book is put in her hands a world of imagination opens for her and maybe, just maybe, her hatred of books starts to change. Mariajo is an award-winning illustrator, and these wonderful illustrations are a perfect example of her stunning talent. The girl&... View Full Review
Inside Story: How the News Works
The news is everywhere and a hugely important part of our lives, but understanding how it works can sometimes be a challenge. Written by a real-life journalist and with a foreword from TV newsreader Charlene White, How the News Works is an accessible and informative guide for children into what constitutes news, how it’s made and problems to look out for. Topics such as the history of news, the importance of impartiality, and the opportunities and changes brought by social media are covered in an engaging manner. The book expertly explains the mechanics of producing news; taking us ... View Full Review
SuperQuesters: The Case of the Angry Sea
SuperQuesters Lilli, Leo and Bea have a new mission in the latest in this STEM adventure series. Through an inventive mix of story and puzzling quests the friends must stop evil Lord Grumble polluting the waters around Questland. The engaging puzzles that the reader must solve to help the 3 friends achieve their mission include using problem-solving to calm an angry sea spirit, using coding skills to save a pair of otters from an oil spill and using programming to help clean an ocean garbage patch. As these quests are completed they slowly save the Questlands waters, and give young readers ... View Full Review
From Cells to Ourselves The Story of Evolution
With award-winning Arbuthnott and Nielsen as the creators, my expectations were high for this book. Happily, this journey through the origins of life on earth is as informative, entertaining, and beautifully presented as I hoped. Starting with creation myths from different cultures and religions, and then different historical suggestions on the likely age of the Earth, the creation of Earth itself is fascinatingly covered. From there the book starts to look at the origins of life on Earth, discussing the fact that for centuries scientists believed that many species spontaneously reproduced. As these massive and expected subjects are explained, snippets ... View Full Review
There's a Tiger on the Train
A train journey to the seaside turns chaotic when a few unexpected and fabulous extra passengers appear. Whilst dad is engrossed with his phone, his young son is making new friends. First with a tiger, then a band of crocodiles, then three large hippos…where will it end?! Cobb’s distinctive and charming illustrations bring this sweet story to life. Creating characters that young children will love to meet; they are full of movement and a sense of childlike innocence. The rhyming text follows a familiar picture book tradition of gentling cautioning parents about being distracted by other ... View Full Review
Rainbowsaurus
Two dads and their three children set out on a joyful adventure to meet the Rainbowsaurus. As they search they meet an array of colourful and wonderfully noisy creatures. Bold illustrations and a fabulous rhyme make this a joy to read aloud and share. The use of repetition and colourful animal characters encourage young readers to join in with the story, spotting the animals and mimicking their sounds. Animals in an array of non-traditional colours, make this a fun and bold story, whilst gently underlining the inclusive message of celebrating difference. Read to the tune of ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little ... View Full Review
Confetti
When she finds a forgotten piece of confetti it sparks memories of happy family celebrations for Arianna. Watching the confetti spiral through the air she recalls her third birthday party, her first Pride parade, a baby shower held in anticipation of her new sister, her uncle’s recent wedding, and other happy family times. This debut picturebook, from a much loved and respected poet and YA author, brings Atta’s acclaimed warmth and lyricism to younger readers. Whilst Marley’s soft and colourful illustration brim with the love and security Ari feels surrounded by her family. I ... View Full Review