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Joanne Owen - Editorial Expert

About Joanne Owen

Joanne Owen’s lifelong love of reading and writing began when she was growing up in Pembrokeshire, and very much wished that witches (and Mrs Pepperpot) were real. An early passion for culture, story and folklore led Joanne to read archeology and anthropology at St John’s, Cambridge, after which she worked as a bookseller, and led the UK children’s book buying team for a major international retailer. During this time, Joanne also wrote children’s book previews and features for The Bookseller, covering everything from the value of translated fiction, to the contemporary YA market. Joanne later joined Bloomsbury’s marketing department, where she had the pleasure of working on epic Harry Potter launches at Edinburgh Castle and the Natural History Museum, and launching Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book. After enjoyable spells as Marketing Director for Macmillan Children’s Books and Consumer Marketing Manager for Walker Books, Joanne went freelance, primarily working for multi-award-winning independent children’s publisher, Nosy Crow.

Alongside her publishing career, Joanne has written several books for children/young adults. She’s now a fulltime reviewer, workshop presenter and writer, working on YA novels with a strong basis in diverse folklore from around the world, as well as fiction for younger readers (in which witches are very much real).

Latest Reviews By Joanne Owen

Little ones will be tickled pink by Tickled Moon’s charming personalised picture books. They make a wonderful present to enjoy in the moment and treasure for years. The quality of the production values and personalisation options outshine other customisable picture books I’ve encountered, and Jodie Wonford’s illustrations are full of energy and life, from the charming monster character of the Boo! books to the atmospheric landscapes of The Joyful Adventures.   The books cover a range of occasions and family needs. For example, The Birthday Boo! can be personalised for solo children ... View Full Review
Framed by a lyrical, mythological story of the Great Sky Wolf and every mother-dog’s desire to protect her pups (“she cannot know what lies ahead…when they are taken from her, into the world of man”), Gill Lewis’s A Street Dog Named Pup is a poignant tale of survival, and the lifelong, life-changing bonds that can be formed between humans and dogs. Brimming with empathy and understanding, it’s a thrilling and deeply moving novel that will be adored by animal-lovers and fans of adventure fiction alike.   From the off, the ... View Full Review
Little ones will be tickled pink by Tickled Moon’s charming personalised picture books. They make a wonderful present to enjoy in the moment and treasure for years. The quality of the production values and personalisation options outshine other customisable picture books I’ve encountered, and Jodie Wonford’s illustrations are full of energy and life, from the charming monster character of the Boo! books to the atmospheric landscapes of The Joyful Adventures.   The books cover a range of occasions and family needs. For example, The Birthday Boo! can be personalised for solo children or twins. ... View Full Review
Calling all outdoor adventurers who want to walk on the wild side by the light of the moon! While there’s no shortage of brilliant books to inspire and guide nature exploration in young adventurers, Chris Salisbury’s Wild Nights Out is the first nature guide to focus on night-time activities, which gives both the book and its activities a distinct and decidedly magical edge.   With a foreword by Chris Packham, this is a brilliant book for grown-ups to use with 7+-year-olds who share their passion for the great outdoors. The text addresses adults, as opposed to ... View Full Review
From finding your sparkle (which the author defines as “unleashing the natural talent inside you” and "feeling and believing you can do anything”), to dealing with anti-social media, Suzanne Virdee’s A Girls’ Guide to Being Awesome is a pitch-perfect guidebook for girls navigating the confusing path to adulthood. The author, an award-winning TV journalist and radio broadcaster, contextualises her approach and advice through her experience as a tenacious, aspiring journalist who refused to give up. Sassy inspirational soundbites (“life is tough but so are you”; “success is a decision”; “... View Full Review
“Do You Love Dinosaurs?” – surely THE all-important question on the lips of thousands of children, and one to which they will undoubtedly roar in reply, “Yes, I do!”. If you know any such dinosaur devotees, I urge you to give them this fact-filled picture book at the earliest opportunity - it’s a romping, stomping exploration of why dinosaurs are absolutely amazing.    Beginning with laying down the ten rules that must be obeyed when it comes to dinosaurs (among them, never turn your back on a hungry hunter, and don’t ... View Full Review
“Do You Love Dinosaurs?” – surely THE all-important question on the lips of thousands of children, and one to which they will undoubtedly roar in reply, “Yes, I do!”. If you know any such dinosaur devotees, I urge you to give them this fact-filled picture book at the earliest opportunity - it’s a romping, stomping exploration of why dinosaurs are absolutely amazing.    Beginning with laying down the ten rules that must be obeyed when it comes to dinosaurs (among them, never turn your back on a hungry hunter, and don’t ... View Full Review
Beautifully presented, packed with puns, and shot-through with an environmental ethos, Heather Buttivant’s Beach Explorer is the perfect companion for days at the beach, with fifty activities and oceans of facts that are sure to inspire and astound children and adults alike. Highlights of the practical projects include finding fossils, starfish bums and mermaid purses (yes, you read that right!), and the step-by-step instructions for pressing seaweed and making your own plankton net. What’s more, alongside all the “how to make and find” activities, Beach Explorer is packed with facts that are sure to ... View Full Review
Kat Dunn’s deliciously dark debut - the first in a series - is a riot of rebellion, ruthlessness and extraordinary science interlaced with the all-consuming love between two young women in post-Revolution Paris.    Following the revolution, France had been filled with the hope of “finding a better, fairer way to rule” but now, five years on, “people still starved, inequality continued. The country splintered and the different factions spat at each other like a serpent with many heads.” And in such explosive circumstances Camille, the daughter of a revolutionary, leads the Battalion ... View Full Review
Michelle Paver has done it again in the eighth book in her epic, emotional Chronicles of Ancient Darkness Stone Age series that began with Wolf Brother. Skin Taker reels with a rollercoaster sense of adventure, shadowy atmosphere and an infectious spirit of survival as Torak, Renn and Wolf must find new ways to exist during the midwinter Dark Time, when new dangers are awoken and devastation looms.   Torak remains the brave, brash protagonist readers have long known and admired, yet his character has been deftly developed too, and he’s here presented with fierce challenges - and responses ... View Full Review
Lauren Wolk’s Echo Mountain shimmers with timeless lyricism and rhythm. The story sings with empathy and a spirit of bravery. Its world is one young readers will be enraptured by and long to return to, making it perfect for fans of classic Eva Ibbotson novels and contemporary books by Katherine Rundell.   In the wake of The Great Depression, Ellie’s fine tailor father and music teacher mother lose work, then their house, “and then the life we’d always known” when they’re compelled to leave town for Echo Mountain. While her ... View Full Review
From the agonising loneliness of grief, to the wonders of new friendships and a newfound father-son bond, Cath Howe’s How to be Me will stir readers to joy as it steers through Lucas’s profound sadness. His pitch-perfect narration is sublimely child-centred, with fine details that raise smiles and tug the heart. Tender and thoughtful, what a warm beam of a book this is, with the transformative, restorative power of music (and cats) threaded throughout.   “Vanessa’s going to be your new mum, Lukie. You could at least look a bit excited about it.&... View Full Review
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