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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

From the team which brought you the critically acclaimed If All the World Were… we have an inspirational story about finding your voice, both literally and metaphorically. The lyrical text and expressive images capture the intense anxiety of the shy protagonist who never speaks in school and also the transformative power of a good teacher. The illustrations show us the colour, vivacity and joy which Miss Flotsam brings to the classroom and the creativity which she inspires. Getting the child engaged in responding to poetry is the first step into unlocking her feelings and revealing what she needs to ... View Full Review
The first novel from the lockdown #drawwithrob hero for schools and families everywhere, is an absolute triumph. The first in what is sure to become a best selling and popular series introduces us to the amazing Peanut Jones. Her artist father has gone missing, and her own love of drawing is being stifled in her new school and not valued by her mother. The discovery of a magic pencil, that literally brings drawings to life, enables her to draw a door and step through into another world, where she hopes she may be able to find her father.  Peanut ... View Full Review
Having suffered heatwaves and COVID anxiety, we can all empathise with the tired and grumpy Arlo who just cannot sleep. The hero of the Greenaway medal winner’s new book speaks to us all, but particularly to over-tired and over excited small children who do not know how to let go of the day. Luckily for Arlo, and for children, Owl is to hand with some useful advice on how he manages to sleep when everyone is awake during the day. The logic of receiving advice from a nocturnal animal will really register with this audience. “Have ... View Full Review
Eric and Terry Fan are renowned author illustrators with such gems as The Night Gardener and the Kate Greenaway shortlisted Ocean Meets Sky. For this collaboration they have been joined by brother Devin for the first time. Stunningly beautiful images are what we have come to expect, and this is no exception. The enticing, mysterious cover spotlights a little creature in a bell jar. Beneath the jacket the cover looks like a blackboard covered with code, double helixes and creature sketches. The endpapers are design files to start and shelves of completed products at the end. ... View Full Review
After the triumph of her performance at the inauguration, this first picture book from poet Amanda Gorman has been hotly anticipated and it certainly does not disappoint! The combination of the lyrical writing with the luminous illustrations from the acclaimed Loren Long, is a marriage made in heaven. From the first page, where we meet the young girl with her guitar, centre stage on a white page and she announces “I can hear change humming/ In its loudest, proudest song./ I don’t fear change coming,/ And so I sing along,” we are swept along by her ... View Full Review
All brilliant picturebooks rely upon the interplay between words and pictures and this partnership of author and illustrator has very good form. Indeed, the acclaimed A Place to Call Home has a similar theme about discovering the world beyond, but in Ergo Deacon and Schwarz have produced a sublime and joyful mix of text, art and clever typography, which will stimulate endless discussion and read aloud requests. While not being at all a book about the COVID crisis, I think that this adds additional resonance for children (and adults) who can easily recall the time when they were literally shut ... View Full Review
Adapted from the original poem in the wonderful first poetry anthology A Great Big Cuddle that Michael Rosen says, in his Note to Grown- ups, was inspired by watching his youngest child getting angry, this captures perfectly the all-consuming feeling of being at the epicentre of a toddler tantrum. Robert Starling’s glorious illustrations and the bold design perfectly compliment the brilliant rhymes. I have never seen a fiercer or more grumpy kitten! It is all about the eyes which glare furiously from the front cover and on the opening red endpapers. Hugely expressive eyes and body language also ... View Full Review
This is the third book from this author and illustrator partnership, after the acclaimed Through the Eyes of Me and Through the Eyes of Us, which focused specifically upon the world of the autistic child and were inspired by Jon’s daughter. Here the scope has been broadened to look at all sorts of difference, both visible and invisible. Each spread is a delightful conversation with a child or children explaining what is different about them and what can be difficult, but most importantly focuses on the positives and what they enjoy and want to do. The text captures ... View Full Review
The eye opening and fascinating true story of Lily Parr, Alice Woods and their teammates  in the Dick Kerr Ladies Football team are the inspiration behind this engrossing story of football obsessed Polly Nabb, who would much rather kick a ball than stay at home and help her mother, which is the role society expects her to fulfil. As men, including her beloved brother, were sent to fight in the war, women and girls took their place in munitions factories. When Polly sees these women playing football in their breaks, she lies about her age to get a job ... View Full Review
Having demonstrated in The Gifted, the Talented and Me a real comic gift for creating believably awkward adolescent males, William Sutcliffe does it again with 13-year-old Luke. His family life has been turned upside down as first his stroppy elder sister and then his father join the climate rebellion activists ‘across the road,’ squatting in a house scheduled for demolition in a controversial airport extension plan. While poking gentle fun at Nimby’s and career protestors alike, there is an underlying core of real science and justified outrage about the environmental crisis for the planet in this ... View Full Review
From the excellent True Adventures series, in which different authors bring to life some exciting but little-known and diverse aspects of history. This is an area where Catherine Johnson absolutely excels and this story of how one woman masterminded a slave resistance against the British in eighteenth-century Jamaica is perfect for her and indeed was shortlisted for the inaugural Jhalak Prize for Children’s fiction. The story grabs the reader from the start with the thrilling chase through the mountains, as Nanny herds her people away from the pursuing British Army. She becomes a fierce and revered leader and ... View Full Review
Set in a perfectly realised East London, the story begins as newly adopted Imtiaz arrives in Usha’s home. Initially misunderstandings abound between the two girls. Sadly, Usha’s beloved gran, Kali Ma has recently passed away. But when first Kali Ma and then other ghosts appear and task the girls to right a past wrong and reveal the hidden secrets of their house, which is also a refugee community centre and under imminent threat of closure, they and their new Roma friend Cosmo must work together. There is rich historical detail in this  complex but very ... View Full Review