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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

The children are once again front and centre of this author’s second book. But like multi-award winning The Boy at The Back of the Class, the foundations of the story are very dark indeed. In this case domestic violence and the murder of Aniyah and Noah’s beloved mother. But this is not a grim YA novel. it is a book from the perspective of ten-year-old Aniyah and written for children of the same age so you can be reassured that there is nothing gratuitous or explicit. Aniyah and Noah are in foster care with the remarkable ... View Full Review
Carnegie winner Ruta Sepetys seems to specialise in illuminating forgotten or unknown aspects of history. The Spanish Civil War may be widely known but Spain lived under Franco until 1975. Rather like post-Apartheid South Africa there was a reconciliation movement that did not pursue retribution for the human rights abuses and crimes of the dictatorship. But this outstanding, impeccably researched novel seeks to shine a light on those crimes. In a fascinating afterword she tells us that studies estimate over 300,000 babies were stolen from their Republican parents.  This is indeed a story to shock and horrify but its power comes ... View Full Review
Kate Milner, winner of the 2018 Klaus Flugge Award for most promising newcomer to children’s book illustration has certainly lived up to her laurels with this delicate and subtle picturebook, which packs a real emotional and political punch. It is a cause of great shame to many, in this country and in the 21st century, that more children than ever are living in poverty and that there has been a huge expansion in the use of foodbanks. Mum works really hard and watches every penny, but today is a no money day. Her little girl, who tells the story, ... View Full Review
Emma Carroll brings her own Somerset countryside vividly to life in this enthralling tale and you can even detect the West Country tones of her spirited young heroine, Fortune Spicer, as you read. Fair Maidens Lane, where she lives, is a successful hamlet running well, despite an absence of men. But as the story opens a matriarch is arrested. An atmosphere of suspicion is spreading across the land from King James’ obsession with witches and unscrupulous men are using this as a weapon for financial gain. Sent away by her mother, disguised as a boy for her own protection, ... View Full Review
Developed with and endorsed by literacy experts from the UCL Institute of Education, Reading Champions are high quality, visually attractive and engaging supplementary reading resources. They are uniquely designed specifically to support independent reading alongside guided reading in the classroom. With clear exterior labelling linked to Book Bands, children can be confident that the carefully levelled text will be accessible to them. Developing readers need to build their reading confidence and stamina by extended practise within levels to embed and secure their skills while experiencing an enjoyable reading opportunity. There are at least six books in each level to offer ... View Full Review
Developed with and endorsed by literacy experts from the UCL Institute of Education, Reading Champions are high quality, visually attractive and engaging supplementary reading resources. They are uniquely designed specifically to support independent reading alongside guided reading in the classroom. With clear exterior labelling linked to Book Bands, children can be confident that the carefully levelled text will be accessible to them. Developing readers need to build their reading confidence and stamina by extended practise within levels to embed and secure their skills while experiencing an enjoyable reading opportunity. There are at least six books in each level to offer ... View Full Review
A new novel from a Carnegie Medal winning Kevin Brooks is always an event. As an author he has never been afraid of challenging concepts and this is no exception. Kenzi is a typical fifteen-year-old girl and at first sight her problems are familiar tropes- the unexplained death of her mother, a distant and uncaring father and a beloved brother with a serious life-threatening health condition, unwise friendship choices and severe bullying at school. Then illness strikes her, and her skin becomes completely transparent. But the reader can feel completely respected in Brooks’ hands – the scientific background is ... View Full Review
Pip is shunned by the other penguins because his large wings are not normal. They reject all his offers of help and turn him away to face winter alone. But from the top of his hill he can see danger approaching in the form of a hungry seal. Racing to warn the others, Pip trips, falls, flaps his wings and flies. He frightens off the surprised seal and the other penguins realise they have been unkind. They point out their own flaws and recognise “we are all different” but “we are all penguins”. A lovely positive ... View Full Review
Summer loves reading and she knows she would never have enough money to buy all the books she wants to read and so she cannot understand why her friends are not bothered by the proposed library closure. But she is undeterred even when rain destroys her posters and her dog eats the cakes, she had baked to raise campaign funds. Her friends find out why they do need the library after all and the size of the community protest and the money saving ideas they all come up with persuade the mayor to keep the library open. This lively, empowering ... View Full Review
Young readers will immediately spot that the new boy is strikingly different since he is bright green! This is amusingly never referred to in the text and we see Ahmed trying his very best to make the new boy feel included. But as the repetitive refrain tells us, Zab was not good at drawing, eating, singing or even sitting. But luckily, he is very good at playing and he helps Ahmed score a great goal and we can see their friendship is secured. As a Reading Champion text carefully levelled for Book Band Yellow 3 this lively story is designed for ... View Full Review
Samir and his brother Ali live with their Gran in the vibrant community of Rainbow Street, Amman in Jordan. Samir is fascinated by birds and starts each day with feeding the sparrows on the balcony outside his bedroom and is inspired to learn more about birds of all kinds. He is very envious to hear that Gran’s father had a beautiful falcon of his own. This gives Gran an idea and she finds the perfect present for Samir at the local market: a beautiful falcon kite to fly high over the city. Part of the Reading Champion series ... View Full Review
Losing a family pet can be a child’s first introduction to the concept of death and this gentle, heart-warming tale provides a safe introduction to a tricky topic. Leo and Tessa have been best friends ever since Tessa was a puppy. She wakes him every morning with a lick and he was the first to meet Tessa’s puppies when they were born. Leo was particularly fond of Jasper who was the image of her mum but glad to see that he went off with a kind owner. When Tessa dies peacefully in her sleep the reader ... View Full Review
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