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Elen Caldecott graduated with an MA in Writing for Young People from Bath Spa University and was highly commended in the PFD Prize for Most Promising Writer for Young People. Before becoming a writer, she was an archaeologist, a nurse, a theatre usher and a museum security guard.
Elen's debut novel, How Kirsty Jenkins Stole the Elephant, was shortlisted for the Waterstone's Children's Prize and longlisted for the 2010 Carnegie Award.
July 2020 Book of the Month | Set in the author’s native Wales during the dark days of the fifth century, Ellen Caldecott’s The Short Knife is an energetic, edge-of-your-seat page-turner with present-day resonance as 21st-century Britain - island of migrants - faces the challenge of forging an identity independent of continental Europe. With the Romans compelled to leave Britain after 400 years, the island is on the brink of collapse. Amidst this uncertainty and the chaos of Saxon invasion, thirteen-year-old Mai is cared for by her dad and sister (she lost her mam when she was three), and wrestling with her “anger at the people free to flee into the hills. Anger at all the world and everyone in it. I want to open my mouth and let the fire out, burn it all into blackness.” When Saxon warriors turn up at their farm, the family is forced to flee to the dangerous hills themselves. Mai must cross the threshold from childhood to adulthood if she’s to survive in a hostile world in which speaking in her mother tongue might turn out to be fatal. The cinematic scene-setting, first person narrative, and succinct, magnetically lyrical style make for a thrilling experience that will hook the most reluctant of readers. Recommended for fans of Caroline Lawrence and Damian Dibben’s The History Keepers series, this offers enlightening insights into British history with fresh flair, and through the eyes of a compelling main character.
Starring a group of resourceful, quick-thinking children, the Marsh Road Mysteries are the Famous Five thoroughly updated for the 21st century. This is book three in the series (there’s no need to read them in order) and twins Flora and Sylvie take centre stage. They are very disappointed when their dad cancels a holiday to Tenerife at the last minute, but the reason is shocking: someone has stolen blueprints for his latest invention and his job and beloved company are at risk. Of course, the kids decide to investigate and a pacey adventure follows. Though storytelling of this kind has to have a fantasy element the books are firmly grounded in the real world, making them particularly satisfying for young readers. Fans of mystery and adventure will also enjoy Helen Moss’s Adventure Island series and Lauren St John’s Laura Marlin Mysteries. ~ Andrea Reece
With a great theatre background, this is a gripping adventure of a lost diamond necklace, a false accusation and a desperate race to find out the truth. Piotr’s dad is on security duty at the theatre when the great Hollywood actress Betty Massimo’s diamond necklace goes missing. Although there is no evidence against him, he is so distraught at being thought a suspect that he threatens to take the whole family back to Poland. Piotr is horrified; England is his home! And so are his friends, Minnie and Andrew. Together with twins Flora and Sylvie, the gang set out to prove who really took the diamonds. Can they catch the thief even in the middle of a show?
Shortlisted for the Leeds Book Awards 2014 9-11 category - June 2013 Book of the Month A warm, funny adventure about sticking up for your friends from this hugely popular author and as usual all told with Elen Caldecott's trademark wit. ----------------------------------------- The winners of the Leeds Book Awards are chosen by you! Read the books, talk about them with your friends & teachers and decide which one is your favourite. You can vote in your local library or at www.leedsbookawards.co.uk. Voting closes on Friday 25th April and the winners will be announced on Tuesday 20th May. See below for the entire shortlist.
Two children thrown together on a residential week in Wickworth Manor find a mystery at the heart of the handsome stately home that provides a gripping diversion! Bouncy Paige and the reserved Curtis make an unlikely pair but their determination to solve the puzzle and uncover the story of the family’s link with slavery that lies behind the hidden portrait turns them into eager sleuthing partners – and firm friends. Exciting and with lots of action, it also gives some background on the slave trade. Click here to see more by Elen Caldecott.
Shortlisted for The Red House Children’s Book Award 2012. Lauren, Jack, Ruby and Billy live by the seaside with their mum and dad - but their parents are always arguing, and then their dad moves out. Lauren and Jack decide they have to get them together again. And so begins Operation Eiffel Tower ...in which the four children try to raise money to give their mum and dad a treat in an attempt to make them happier. First they want to send their parents to Paris, but quickly realise they can never afford that, so instead they set up a dinner for two under the Eiffel Tower in the local crazy golf attraction. But will it get their parents talking again? A funny and very moving story that tackles important issues with a light touch.
This is a brilliantly accomplished debut that packs a lot of punch, touching as it does on death in the family and the difficulties of step-family relationships. It's a warm, funny and moving novel that can't fail to bring to the fore a range of mixed emotions for the reader. It's also proof that children can make a real difference if they are determined enough. Elen Caldecott is undoubtedly a distinctive new voice in the world of children's fiction.