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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 highly anticipated second novel from Carnegie shortlisted Dean Atta will not disappoint fans of his unmistakeably authentic and honest #ownvoices debut verse novel The Black Flamingo. Once again drawing on his own experiences, in this case of moving from London to Scotland, this novel revolves around Mack, who is forced to accompany his film maker father and sole parent to Glasgow, leaving behind his slowly blossoming relationship with his first love Karim, a basketball star and the hottest boy in school. Mack is a true romantic, openly and unashamedly gay but with low self esteem and high levels of ... View Full Review
From an author acclaimed for her ability to tackle important global issues in the personal context of well realised and nuanced characters, we have a story set after a world-wide antibiotics crisis. Children must be protected until their immune systems have fully developed because a simple infection could kill. All schooling is on-line until the age of 14 and digital technology is central to all aspects of life. This theme is brilliantly worked through and will really resonate with readers who have experienced lockdowns, increased online shopping, online learning and of course not being able to meet their friends. They will ... View Full Review
Nobody captures young children’s body language and expressions better than Roald Dahl Funny Prizewinning author, Rebecca Patterson, who is inspired in this latest book by her own lived experience of growing up with a disabled sister. The delightful Connie is our narrator and uses a wheelchair, which is never mentioned until it is commandeered by bossy playmate Ada as her ‘Throne of Rolling Power’. Ada and Colin, the Beswicks from next door, interrupt the magnificent game of unicorn farmers that Connie and big sister Frankie had been enjoying. The glum expressions of the three children, including ... View Full Review
The latest title in the Changemakers series offers another inspirational collection of 12 real-life stories from across the globe. The author herself set up a company to build bridges between rural communities and the global fashion market and has selected some brilliantly diverse examples here of sustainable enterprises working to improve the world. As in the previous books, each story has a beautifully illustrated double page spread with lively images of busy young people. The layout guides your eyes to the fact boxes and nuggets of information that describe succinctly the problem and how the young person set about changing things. ... View Full Review
This attractively illustrated and cleverly designed book is targeted at children from ages 4-8 and successfully employs key strategies to absolutely ensure their engagement. A pleasingly diverse and relatable cast of characters, Lilli, Bea and Leo, are inquisitive friends who love adventure and solving problems. They discover that when they need help with a difficult problem, if they just hold hands and think hard, they are transported to the magical kingdom of Questland where they are transformed into, ever popular, Superheroes. There it is up to them to complete a series of challenges using key STEM skills, cooperation, and teamwork. ... View Full Review
Following her Carnegie shortlisted debut novel Guard Your Heart, this is another searing story set in Northern Ireland in 2019 but gradually revealing the lives of three generations of women affected by The Troubles. The author has a Masters in Peace and Conflict Studies and a career in community relations, which lends an unmistakable authenticity to the narrative. Narrated by two teens from very different backgrounds and dealing with very different issues with each voice unique and distinctive. Tara, the Catholic daughter of a two-generation single parent family from Derry, is angry and grieving after the suicide of her boyfriend Oran. ... View Full Review
Set in modern day Stockholm, where this debut author and winner of the Bath Children’s Novel Award currently lives, this enthralling and original novel starts with mysterious footprints in the snow spotted by 10 year old Anna. A solitary only child living with her single parent Mum and very close to her beloved Grandpa, she is determined to follow the trail which leads to a girl, her disabled brother and an island in a frozen lake. Rebecca and Samuel are Jewish refugees from World War Two, although it takes several meetings for Anna to realise they are from a ... View Full Review
Telling the real-life story of Mona Baptiste, a Trinidadian singer who was brave enough to follow her dreams and ambitions across the sea on the Emperor Windrush. With gloriously evocative, almost technicolour illustrations, full of life and movement, we follow Mona as she grows up on Trinidad and her growing passion for singing. She sings at festivals and carnivals and seeing an advertisement for the Windrush sailing, she persuades her parents that this is what would make her dreams come true. In England she started singing everywhere ‘so people would get to know my name’. She sang in ... View Full Review
Benefitting from very clear and attractively designed pages to highlight information and with quirky appealing illustrations and a friendly, informative, but non-patronising and non-lecturing tone, this is a book which will attract readers to pick it up and engage with it. The tone of voice is particularly important to the sensitive pre-teen age group it is aimed at. They are growing up fast and want to be treated with respect and not just given stern warnings and rules they should stick to. In this case while dealing comprehensively with topics such as privacy settings, direct messaging, bullying, appearance-enhancing filters, influencers ... View Full Review
It starts with a tiny blue dot making its way along a busy street hitching a ride on some smart new trainers and because the boy makes him welcome and is kind that makes it grow bigger. A big puddle means the boys shoes get soaked through, but a girl kindly offers him a towel and the dot grows again. On they go, helping an old man and a stranded kitten; all through the town spreading kindness, which means the dot gets bigger and bigger and happiness spreads, until the mayor kindly decides to take everyone to the beach for ... View Full Review
Following her highly acclaimed debut novel, And The Stars Were Burning Brightly, we have another powerful story depicting an authentic story of young lives impacted upon by the institutional and everyday racism experienced here in the UK; which makes it an even more important and challenging read. Narrated by three very different teenagers brought together by a moment of terrible violence when they witness a stabbing and for whom the overwhelming impact of this experience is exacerbated by what they are forced to confront. For rich and privileged Jackson at an exclusive school, the casual assumption of his classmates and ... View Full Review
Rehearsals are under way for the big production of Hey Diddle Diddle, but poor Cow has the collywobbles and does not believe she could possibly jump over the moon and indeed there are spectacular failures! Rikin Parekh’s witty and lively illustrations will have young readers rolling in the aisles. He captures expressions of frustration, irritation, fear and embarrassment so perfectly. But this is not a story played just for laughs, it has a lovely message. Cow needs the support and encouragement of the troupe to give her the bravery to carry on trying. We will all be rooting ... View Full Review
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