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Keren David worked as a news reporter and feature writer before publishing her compelling debut YA novel, When I Was Joe, while taking a course in Writing for Children at City University. Keren now teaches the City University course and is an editor for The Jewish Chronicle . Her novels have won and been nominated for numerous awards including the Carnegie Medal and the Branford Boase award. Keren lives in North London
Selected for The Book Box by LoveReading4Kids | Published just before Holocaust Memorial Day this book could not be more important or timely. Author Keren David has talked about her own challenges bringing up Jewish children and about Jewishness only being reflected in Holocaust literature. She wanted to write a story in which young Jewish people could see themselves as well as hopefully giving all young people something to think about. She has done a remarkable job with this immensely readable and authentic story. The short, dark and curvy extrovert, Evie, could not be more different from the tall,blonde ,willowy, anxious Lottie. They go to different schools and have very different interests. Their Jewish mother has never discussed their heritage or family history and they follow no religious or cultural customs. But Lottie makes friends with Hannah and not only has her eyes opened to the casual bitchy racism of her classmates but relishes and enjoys the Jewish life Hannah shows her. Of course, the reader is learning alongside Lottie and Hannah is so refreshingly modern, for example challenging gender roles in her faith, that this is a vibrant and positive view of the community. Meanwhile the twin’s mother meets an old friend and her son Noah who have fled racist attacks in Paris. In her new role on radio she decides to announce her Jewish status and denounce racism. The ensuing Twitter storm of abuse and trolling opens Evie’s eyes too, as does Noah’s contacts with young Jews trying to take action to confront racists. Both girls are faced with very real danger and in the aftermath, they attend a talk by Mala Tribich- a very real Holocaust survivor. David very cleverly uses her actual testimony to ensure that readers can distinguish that this is the actual truth and not fictionalised. Mala’s inspiration is just what they need to renew their enthusiasm – for Evie in activism and for Lottie in religion and for their family to finally feel a real part of their heritage and history. While dealing with some intense modern issues, this is a real page- turner populated by some very convincing and engaging young characters that will have absolutely no difficulty in finding enthusiastic readers. Highly recommended.
May 2018 Book of the Month | Interest Age Teen Reading Age 8 | When a billionaire phone-tech entrepreneur challenges the Year Eleven pupils in her former school to switch off their phones for six weeks, Esther is determined to rise to the occasion. With her American-born dad, sister and baby nephew now living in New York, she has her sights firmly fixed on the £1000 prize, which she’d use to visit them, plus she could do with a break from the constant peer pressure to share super model style selfies. But almost immediately, Esther’s FOMO (fear of missing out) “is at emergency levels”, not least because she has no idea what her friends are up to. As a result, she and a few fellow participants set up a support group in her mum’s new cafe, among them River, who gives an impassioned speech about how social media users are “just pawns in the hands of people making money out of us”. Alongside an engaging exploration of the pros and cons of online life, there’s a sensitive sub-plot about the complications of family life, with the downsides of digital media touched-on through that too (her mum’s café is struggling to find customers in the wake of a poor online review), and reference to being aware of “fake news” and inaccurate reporting. Thought-provoking and topical, this pacey read is especially suitable for reluctant and dyslexic teen readers. Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant or dyslexic readers aged 13+
September 2018 Book of the Month | An uplifting, authentically-voiced novella about finding your way from a bestselling YA author, and a pre-eminent publisher of inclusive fiction. Frizzy-haired Ruby is thoughtful and funny, but even she struggles a little when her mum takes in a new foster child, such as quiet, distrustful Clara who reminds Ruby of a “housemaid from Downton Abbey”. To Ruby’s mind, Clara is the kind of girl “who clearly doesn’t take many selfies”. Then, thanks to Ruby’s acts of kindness, Clara undergoes a butterfly-beautiful transformation as she discovers the wonders of the world and a newfound love of science and - slowly-slowly - realises who she really is. Meanwhile, however, Ruby realises that she has her own identity issues to work through. Publisher Barrington Stoke is devoted to creating books that break down barriers that prevent children and young adults from developing a love of reading, from practical considerations such as printing on easier-on-the-eye tinted paper, to delivering pitch-perfect content, which is certainly the case with this enriching novella - it’s ultra-readable, ultra-inclusive and ultra-ideal for all fans of character-driven, true-to-life tales.
Interest Age Teen Reading Age 8 | In a nutshell: topical unputdownable thriller | In a topical and gripping new thriller for Barrington Stoke Keren David sends her young hero on a search for the truth – about his family and himself. It leads him to question everything he’s ever believed. River is an accomplished, occasionally extravagant liar; and you get the sense that this talent has developed because he’s constantly been inventing stories about the dad he’s never known. Who was he? Why did he leave his family? What would he think of his son? River the born storyteller is an irresistible narrator and readers will be completely caught up in his story from first page to last. There are twists, shocks and surprises throughout and a truly explosive ending, all told with a tough economy that makes it accessible to all readers. ~ Andrea Reece A Piece of Passion from Mairi Kidd, MD of Barrington Stoke: “We are honoured to publish Keren David for the first time, and what a novel she has given us. Inspired by real-life cases of women deceived into relationships with undercover policemen and the resulting families, Keren has created an incredibly vivid narrator, a cracking plot and a great sense of unease as the action builds to an explosive denouement. We wanted to give this book a seriously special treatment to reflect its themes of concealed and forged identities, and have spun a ‘passport’ design complete with rounded corners with a clever take on the coat-of-arms of the Metropolitan Police.” Lovereading Review will follow. Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers aged 12+ Barrington Stoke is the foremost publisher of dyslexia friendly books and those for reluctant readers. Here on Lovereading4kids we are constantly selecting new titles and refreshing our special dyslexia friendly category. Click here to view our current selection which is broken down by age range.
Kitty dreams of a beautiful life, but that's impossible in suburban London where her family is haunted by her father's unexpected death. So when her mum suggests moving to Amsterdam to try a new life, Kitty doesn't take much persuading. Will this be her opportunity to make her life picture perfect? In Amsterdam she meets moody, unpredictable Ethan, and clever, troubled Theo. Two enigmatic boys, who each harbour their own secrets. In a beautiful city and far from home, Kitty finds herself falling in love for the first time. But will love be everything she expected? And will anyone's heart survive?
A roller-coaster, first-person teenage thriller tells the third part of Keren David's story about teens caught up in the world of crime. Having been expelled from the boarding school he hates, Archie is delighted to be back in London where he can hang out with a cool crowd. But, and more importantly for Archie, he can support his cousin Ty, who is up on a charge for carrying a knife. When Ty is sent to a Young Offenders institute Archie is drawn into trying to unravel Ty's complicated past while also keeping him out of trouble. Archie relates his story at a cracking pace convincingly capturing contemporary teen life.
A Lovereading4kids 'Great Read' you may have missed 2011 selection. Teenager Lia is used to dealing with falling in love, arguing with her family and shopping! In fact, her Mum has just kicked her out of the house when her lottery numbers come up. Suddenly, Lia is £8 million pounds richer. Her account of what money can – and can’t buy – is hilarious. With money, teen life looks very different in this highly entertaining but also thought-provoking novel written in a convincing teen voice.
A thrilling adventure in which the stakes are dangerously high, Almost True is an emotional roller coaster. When someone is shot dead on the doorstep instead of him, fourteen year old Ty, already under police protection since witnessing a murder, has to find another new identity. As the police have failed to protect him, Ty is sent to live with grandparents he doesn’t remember ever meeting before. Ty learns to live a new life but he can’t help hankering after the past and especially, he can’t resist going back to see Claire - an action so dangerous that it puts his life at risk. To find out about When I was Joe, the first novel about Ty's experiences, click here.
Shortlisted for the Branford Boase Award 2011. Highly Commended for the Teenage Book Prize 2010. An edgy and contemporary thriller about the life changing dangers of knife crime – and that’s just for the witness. When Ty tells the police what he has seen, his life is changed forever. His enemies are ruthless and will stop at nothing to prevent Ty from testifying. Given a new look, new names and a new past, Ty and his mother make a fresh start. But forgetting Ty and remembering to be Joe is hard. Ty tells his story of familiar teenage experiences – school friendships, bullying, falling in love – against a terrifying background in which letting out the secret could mean the end. How Joe survives and grows and, in particular, how he befriends the lonely Claire whose self-harming is an equally important secret, is touching. This is definitely a novel for 14+ and not younger. Now there's a sequel to When I Was Joe. Click here to find out more. Titles shortlisted for the Branford Boase Award 2011: I am the Blade Out of Shadows Tall Story The Crowfield Curse Unhooking the Moon When I was Joe