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Laura Dockrill is a performance poet and novelist. She was named one of the top ten literary talents by The Times and one of the top twenty hot faces to watch by ELLE magazine. Laura is a young, talented writer/illustrator who is a graduate of the BRIT School of Performing Arts. She has performed her work at the Edinburgh Fringe, Camp Bestival, Latitude, Bookslam and the Soho Theatre and on each of the BBC's respective radio channels, 1-6. She has been a roaming reporter for the Roald Dahl Funny Prize, judged the BBC National Short Story Award, and has appeared on Blue Peter, Channel 4 News and Newsnight. Laura also teaches Guardian Masterclasses in writing for children and is on the advisory board at the Ministry of Stories.
Her books include Mistakes in the Background, Ugly Shy Girl and Echoes. Her first series for younger children, Darcy Burdock was shortlisted for the Waterstones Children's Book Prize. Lorali is her first novel for teenagers.
Laura is a judge on the Blue Peter Awards 2018: “I adored judging the Blue Peter Book Award, the nominated list was incredibly strong and made judging the prize so difficult. Which I think is a very good thing for the world of children’s books! I met wizards, talking toys with speech impediments, and was flown across the globe to marvellous new landscapes. I met big foot, uncovered mysteries and had my head blown off by space facts. It was a wonderful privilege and the shortlist is stunning!”
So beautiful, so powerfully moving, the ever-inventive Laura Dockrill has done it again with The Dream House - an incredibly honest, child-centred story about a boy’s struggle with terrible grief (and guilt) after losing his dad. Beautifully presented with Gwen Millward’s soft, evocative, powerful illustrations - including Rex’s sketchbook drawings that provide poignant insights to his pain - this has all the marks of a future classic. Rex doesn’t talk much now his dad’s gone, and he’s gone to stay with his godfather Sparky, his dad’s best friend since childhood - “Mum said it would be good for me here; Sparky would take care of me so I could get some peace and ‘feel better’. To give her space while she dealt with what needed to be dealt with. But it was also because she couldn’t deal with me.” Rex is worried because drawing “doesn’t make me feel good like it used to”. Nothing is the same, and he’s terrified of returning to the Dream House, a magical place created just for him. A magical place that’s filled with his dad. But little by little, with Sparky’s sensitive support (what a guy; his tenderness is sublime), and after talking to the boy next door, Rex is able to return to the Dream House, able to begin his long journey back to the world, to a life without Dad, but a world in which Dad is remembered and cherished, in the soothing knowledge that he doesn’t have to carry the heavy burden of grief alone.
August 2020 Book of the Month | Interest Age 8+ Reading Age 8 | Laura Dockrill packs a really big story into this compact little book and though she tackles some big issues too, she keeps them specific to her set of characters, so that even quite young readers will understand. Sequin’s mum is a dressmaker, sewing gowns and fabulous outfits for the stars. She never takes any credit though, preferring to stay in the background and in fact, she’s literally hiding herself away in the family’s flat at the top of a tower block. When Sequin does a school presentation about her mum, no-one believes her. It makes Sequin angry with her mum, but then a terrible danger threatens them and they both have to face their real fears. It’s a story that readers will absolutely love, with a twist that they’ll want to return to again and again. Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant or dyslexic readers aged 8+
One of our 2018 Books of the Year | March 2018 Book of the Month | In a Nutshell: Hearty hope-filled ode to food-love, self-love and living out loud As energising as a super food salad, as satisfying and nourishing as your favourite home-cooked meal, this delectable novel about feeling comfortable in your own skin has been prepared with sisterly love and comes served on a bed of inspiration. Meet your new favourite character, Bluebelle, also known as BB, or Big Bones. She’s a one-woman carnival of confidence and style. She likes “being big. Because there’s something of me. I feel wholesome, there alive”, but she’s super-aware of all the double-standards around size and gender. While it’s OK for boys to “want to seem big”, in contrast “it seems the world wants us girls to be tiny and petite and taken care of. What’s all that about?” BB becomes further entangled in this web of weight obsession when a nurse tells her to lose weight and keep a food diary. She gets on with her life - working in a coffee shop, exchanging top bantz with her adventurous sister, and writing the diary - until a family misfortune throws her off-course. How BB handles this situation will truly make your heart sing. Stuffed with lashings of laugh-out-loud loveliness (just wait until you read about Bum Tills...), relatable real-life truths and love in all its complicated, dizzying forms (food-love, friend-love, sisterly-love, boy-love, self-love), this is, quite simply, the best YA book about self-esteem and body image I’ve ever read. ~ Joanne Owen
A magical adventure of mermaids, pirates, myth and romance. Rory is on Hastings beach the night before his sixteenth birthday when he stumbles across a naked girl. This is Lorali, mermaid princess who has decide to forsake her underwater life to become human, a Walker as the Mer people say. Her mother will do anything to get her daughter back and sends storms and sea monsters to cause havoc, while also on Lorali’s trail are the crew of the Liberty – as dapper a group of cut-throats as you’ll find – and some even scarier types. There is much to enjoy – the romance between Lorali and Rory and a wonderful supporting cast, including those smart-suited pirates, rogue mermaid Opal - a kind of marine Kim Kardashian - even the Sea has a voice. Both worlds – salt’n’vinegar Hastings and the court under the sea - are made vivid and this is fresh, colourful, irresistible reading. ~ Andrea Reece Stop press... Laura will be appearing at the Cheltenham Festival on Saturday 3rd October. Click here to find out more. Further information from the Cheltenham Festival.