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Joy Court - Editorial Expert

About Joy Court

Joy Court is Reviews Editor for The School Librarian journal and Co-founder of All Around Reading.

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

In English teacher Louise Reid’s first venture into the verse novel, she uses the form magnificently using layout and different font sizes and styles to show as well as tell Lily’s story. We meet her in the opening poem, Roadkill at her lowest ebb. Bullied at school and battered and abused outside it, betrayed by childhood ‘friends’ and mentally trapped in a self-critical prison. This is an unflinching portrait of a girl who does not fit in and who hates herself. But it is also a picture of a family in poverty and the ... View Full Review
The troupe of mammoths that first appeared in Mammoth Science reappears here along with some elephant shrew buddies. This time they are explaining how Mathematics works. Bestselling illustrator David Macaulay, whose iconic How Machines Work won the Royal Society Young People's Book Prize in 2016 is renowned for his ability to explain complex ideas with simple genius. Speaking as somebody who is entirely maths averse and numerically challenged at the best of times, I found the added whimsicality of using the animals to illustrate the fundamental concepts really helped keep me interested by demonstrating key mathematical principles in unusual and amusing ... View Full Review
Ema Vašková belongs to a family of famous scientists and yet she appears to have the very unscientific ability to predict events, but she is never allowed to talk about this. When she is sent to stay with her eccentric uncle in Prague, she fears she'll lose the chance to ever fit in and become a true scientist like her beloved older siblings. But there she meets the mysterious Silvie and soon the girls are meeting for secret midnight adventures aimed at conquering Ema’s fears. When Silvie disappears it’s up to Ema to ... View Full Review
This award-winning title from Australia will resonate with young activists everywhere and is a really enjoyable read to boot! Casey, Zeke and Cookie are Green Peas- their own secret activist organisation designed to grab attention for important environmental issues- usually by means of ‘pranks’ or practical jokes, which cause great hilarity to their school mates but certainly get attention. Casey is the pranks mastermind having been trained in pranking from an early age by her delightfully mischievous Grandpa , the mainstay of the family since the death of Casey’s mother Trixie. Trixie passed on her passion for ... View Full Review
A new book from Greenaway winner Catherine Rayner is always going to be a visual treat and the luminous watercolour and inked images are a delight. As one bear meets another the initial reaction is defensive and even hostile, but Other Bear defuses the situation with calm friendliness and they go on together; each thinking their own thoughts but now moving in the same direction. Grunty Bear is a bit embarrassed by his first negative reaction to them and follows along. Very Big Bear is even more direct: “Go Away” he says and when asked why, says “ ... View Full Review
Inspired by their own toddler watching Blue Planet and being struck that he was unable to tell fish apart from the plastic floating in the world’s oceans, this is a tale of a very helpful little fish who is equally puzzled by the Odd Fish bobbing along. He and his shoal decide the Odd Fish must be lonely and that they will help him find his family. The text and images flow along with the current very creatively, as they meet dangers and help to rescue other creatures. An octopus trapped in a net and a turtle struggling ... View Full Review
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
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
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