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Steven Camden is a leading spoken-word poet, performing as Polarbear. He also writes radio plays, teaches storytelling in schools, and was a lead artist for The Ministry of Stories. Tape is his first novel. When you read it, you will find this hard to believe. Everything All At Once is a collection of original poems for teenagers and is his first collection for Macmillan Children's Books.
Generously illustrated by Timothy with greyscale images this book is the first novel from poet Camden – a performance poet known as Polar Bear, and prize winner of the CLiPPA poetry award. Beautifully written we are taken into Jay’s world – a ten-year-old who is uncool and mostly ignored. But when his dad just ups and leaves no-one will answer Jay’s questions. So, he makes up his own answers – and shares them with his classmates! This suddenly makes him one of the coolest kids in class! But little does he realise just how complicated it is to keep track of his stories, and who he might hurt, badly, along the way. For a book about the dangers of lying – with a moral heart at its centre – it is a very amusing, funny book which will keep readers enthralled to see if Jay and his friendships survive – or what he can do to save the day? A powerful look at the dangers of untruths – and no matter what, the reader roots for Jay as he is such a lovely character, well drawn and full of the chaotic emotions of pre-teens thrown into their often complex school relationships.
Longlisted for the UKLA Book Awards 2020 | Winner of the CLiPPA 2019 | One of our 2018 Books of the Year | These poignant, punch-packing poems explore the varied emotional lives of secondary school pupils facing the giddy transition from being “the biggest to the smallest...in the secondary school jungle” like “gazelles in a field full of lions”. Complex tangles of feelings are laid bare with heart-rending authenticity, from the headiness of he-said-she-said gossip, to the bewildering “who the hell do you sit with?” loneliness that strikes when your best friend’s off school (Thanks a lot, Belinda). Vending Machine is an incredible piece of writing, encapsulating the anguish and anger of betrayal, of having your heart trampled on, and then the bliss of recovery when your heart feels “a little lighter”. Another personal favourite is the sublime Dear Mum, BTEC about a student “drawing different plans” after realising they are ill-suited to exams - plans they hope will make Mum proud. There are jubilant themes too, such as the breathless, time-stopping “WHAM!” of instant attraction, the jangling joy of being at the bottom of a celebratory pile-on after you’ve scored, and the magic of those inspirational, unforgettable teachers who take time to share a book they think you “should try”. A chorus of entertaining, emotionally-charged insights and observations sing and dance through these tender, playful pages, with each short verse alive with empathetic, true-to-life experiences.
A sublimely fresh and moving exploration of how it feels to be teetering on that giddy precipice between childhood and adulthood. Marcie is on the verge of everything changing. About to leave school and head to university, she feels lost, left in limbo. She’s struggling with family, she has yet to discover her own dreams and she simply doesn’t know what she wants. Cue the re-entry of her childhood imaginary best friend, Thor, a boy with bear arms whom Marcie cast from her life some years ago. Through their alternating narratives, we learn that both Marcie and Thor are heading towards a time of epic transformation, and together they navigate these terrifying tides of change. Spiced with pithy life lessons - ”A rollercoaster’s only fun because you know you’re getting off at some point” - this really is an unusually ingenious novel. The wildly off-the-wall set-up casts a soulful spell that becomes more potent when readers take time to take-in every single word. A rare gem.
June 2015 Book of the Month It’s About Love is a kind of Romeo and Juliet story. Two young people, from different sides of their town and with different backgrounds, meet studying film at college, and are instantly drawn to one another. It could almost be written in the stars: he’s Luke, she’s Leia. As they work on an idea for a film, each uses the script to explain their histories to each other and themselves. Just as with Romeo and Juliet, it’s a story of violence and revenge as well as love. References to films old and new are woven throughout the story, but Luke and Leia’s story belongs to them alone. Skilfully and originally told, this tender, moving novel impresses as much as Camden’s previous novel, Tape. ~ Andrea Reece
This stunning debut novel by acclaimed spoken-word artist Steven Camden tells two stories which take place twenty years apart but which are connected by one old cassette tape. Ryan and Ameliah each tell their story. Both are suffering unhappiness following the death of their mothers. Ryan has to deal with his malicious half-brother; Ameliah is trying to piece together her mother’s life. When Ameliah finds an old tape among her mother’s possessions she begins a connection that will change her life. It is a powerful story and Steve Camden unravels it with a delicacy and subtly that adds much to its impact. One of our Books of the Year 2014.
One of our Books of the Year 2014 - February 2014 Mega Debut of the Month This stunning debut novel by acclaimed spoken-word artist Steven Camden tells two stories which take place twenty years apart but which are connected by one old cassette tape. Ryan and Ameliah each tell their story. Both are suffering unhappiness following the death of their mothers. Ryan has to deal with his malicious half-brother; Ameliah is trying to piece together her mother’s life. When Ameliah finds an old tape among her mother’s possessions she begins a connection that will change her life. It is a powerful story and Steve Camden unravels it with a delicacy and subtly that adds much to its impact.