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Joy Court - Editorial Expert

About Joy Court

Joy Court is Reviews Editor for The School Librarian journal and Chair of the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals.

Previously she managed the Schools Library Service in Coventry where she established the Coventry Inspiration Book Awards and the Literally Coventry Book Festival, but now just concentrates on books and libraries as a freelance consultant.  She has chaired and spoken on panels at festivals and conferences around the UK. She is also a Trustee and member of the National Council of the United Kingdom Literacy Association where she sits on the selection panel for the UKLA Book Awards and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and of The English Association.

Author of Read to Succeed: strategies to engage children and young people in reading for pleasure (2011) and Reading By Right: successful strategies to ensure every child can read to succeed (2017) FACET and author of several Riveting Reads annotated booklists for the School Library Association, most recently, with Daniel Hahn, Riveting Reads- a world of books in translation (2017)

Latest Reviews By Joy Court

Recent research has highlighted the lack of diverse representation in central characters in books and films and more particularly that when they exist, they are there to highlight an ‘issue’ or social problem. So, this book is doubly important – not only do we have an Asian central character but the main issue at the heart of the book is the power of social media and the challenge to behave in an ethically responsible way- to do the right thing. The issue would have been the same with a white narrator. Added to that we have a joyous ... View Full Review
In English teacher Louise Reid’s first venture into the verse novel, she uses the form magnificently using layout and different font sizes and styles to show as well as tell Lily’s story. We meet her in the opening poem, Roadkill at her lowest ebb. Bullied at school and battered and abused outside it, betrayed by childhood ‘friends’ and mentally trapped in a self-critical prison. This is an unflinching portrait of a girl who does not fit in and who hates herself. But it is also a picture of a family in poverty and the ... View Full Review
This assured and beautifully written debut perfectly captures that awkward phase of growing up when you feel left behind and uncertain who you are. Safiya is obsessed with gaming and Studio Ghibli, feels guilty for choosing to live with her father after her parent’s amicable divorce and feels her ambitious high achieving mother would prefer the more sophisticated and worldly girls at her school. Their relationship is very strained, both are such strong and complex characters, and a particularly bad argument sadly precedes her mother’s hospitalisation. Understandably guilt and anxiety fill her waking moments, and, in ... View Full Review
A timely publication with Brexit looming, this accessible and lively journey through the UK combines a geographical tour of our islands with social and historical themes such as music, transport, food, clothes, sport and how, for example, UK time has defined global time zones since the definition of the Greenwich Meridian. Written and collected by children’s book critic Imogen Russell- Williams, it is not surprising to find a spread on Bookish Britain and a field guide to magical creatures, but equally entertaining are spreads on the famous British sweet tooth and the confectionery industry or conversely on Keeping ... View Full Review
The distinctive Collins trademark bold colour backgrounds to each page serve to highlight the hugely characterful and expressive animals that should be the stars of The First Book of Animals except, as we the audience can blatantly see, a very excitable dog has decided that he is the only animal that counts. He has acquired a pencil (no doubt from the artist) which is going to come in very handy. Dog enjoys the first page This is a Dog. It certainly is – very perky and proud- but he doesn’t want to lose the spotlight. He makes the ... View Full Review
Just like the award short-listed title Once Upon a Raindrop, this is a wonderful topic introduction, but this time revealing the origins and essentials of music in all its forms. A colourful visual treat from the notation themed endpapers to the irresistible, exuberant and inclusive depictions of the drumming, dance and song that have been a vital part of human life since ancient times. We journey through  songs originating around the campfire and passed down through the generations, the development of instruments and musical notation right up to the genres which we enjoy today.   Engaging and ... View Full Review
Each of the 15 subjects selected for this collection gets a lively, well-designed, double-paged spread with bite sized and accessible chunks of information about the life and career of each extraordinary individual. These range from the familiar – David Attenborough, Michelle Obama, Nelson Mandela, Mo Farrer etc- to those that were completely new to me and, I am sure, to most young readers! These include Britain’s first female spy- Krystyna Skabarek; Aeham Ahmad, the pianist of Yarmouk and Keiko Fukuda Sensei, who became the only woman to be awarded the 10th Dan in Judo at the age of 98! The ... View Full Review
Three beautifully drawn, distinctive and compelling voices narrate this heartbreakingly honest story. All three are young women dealing with depression and mental health issues. The story starts with Mehren and the depression and anxiety which she personifies as “Chaos” are overwhelming her life causing her to sign up to a terrifyingly authentic suicide website called MementoMori, a website that matches people with partners and allocates them a date and method of death. This is where she met Cara and Olivia. We learn that Cara is blaming herself for her father’s death and her own injuries while ... View Full Review
Gizmo, a scruffy little mongrel, may well be my favourite canine character yet and we get to hear his side of the story in this dual narrative. Gizmo has been there since the day George was born. George decides to deal with the awful news from the vet, that at fourteen (seventy-eight in dog years) he may not have much longer to live, by creating a “bucket list’ of favourite things to enjoy together. Ben Davis is an expert at capturing the awkwardness of adolescence and gradually we get to understand the full back story as George accomplishes ... View Full Review
With the award winning success of previous titles such as Blame My Brain, The Teenage Guides to Stress, Friends, and Life Online and Positively Teenage, Nicola Morgan has well established credentials with teachers, parents, librarians and young people for calm, authoritative, well researched guidance and this new title may be her most important yet. We live in the age of the image and young people are constantly exposed both to images of perfection and to critical responses to their own images. Anybody of any age can suffer from negative body image and Nicola admits that writing this book helped her, ... View Full Review
Cultures and childhoods collide deep in the Peruvian rainforest as presented by the dual narratives of Maya- first world daughter of renowned scientists and activists and Raul- self-exiled from his beloved and threatened forest home. Both struck by tragedy and loss, deeply suspicious of each other but gradually realising they share the same passions and goals and discovering complimentary and surprising talents in each other. Both battling internal and all too real life demons and seeking answers and in Maya’s case, two missing parents. This is a nail bitingly tense and fast paced adventure as they pursue the ... View Full Review
Multi- award winning Morag Hood does it again in this stylish and surprisingly heart-warming tale! Every small child will know all about wolves and their interest in sheep and will delight in being able to predict what happens next. They know exactly what Brenda’s game is and will fear for the gullible sheep caught up in it. Yet friendship and kindness can conquer even the most carnivorous of hearts. The sheep love the originality and inventiveness that Brenda brings to the flock and the thoughtful feast that they produce for their sleeping heroine (grass lasagne, grass sausages and ... View Full Review