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Joy Court - Editorial Expert

Joy Court is Reviews Editor for The School Librarian journal and Past Chair of the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals.

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

Play
The second novel from this Branford Boase shortlisted author certainly lives up to the promise of his debut Grow. Apart from the deliberately anonymous first page, the story is narrated by three voices: Matt, Mark and Luc. Each voice is unique and distinctive and they vividly describe the lives of four young boys growing up in a small town in England, negotiating friendship, school and family and each desperate to get out and find freedom. They play games, scoring points off each other, anything to break the boredom. But Mark gets involved in a very dangerous game and his ... View Full Review
Treacle Town
Set in the author’s hometown of Coatbridge, this hard hitting, shockingly authentic and unforgettable novel will sadly be all too relevant to far too many other places where poverty, gang violence and substance abuse are rife. He is shining a light on overlooked and ignored communities and the metaphor of the title is poignantly apt for the young people who can see no way out and no future. It opens with a funeral and ends with one, young lives brutally and needlessly cut short. Our narrator is Con, a young man who is no stranger to death, his ... View Full Review
Because I Said So
The fourteenth book from this bestselling childcare and parenting expert is designed to be provocative. She wants the reader to re-examine their own childhood, as well as their parenting experience and to look more widely at how our society treats children. It is an altogether fascinating blend of history, anthropology, sociology, psychology, and current affairs, written in an accessible, chatty, myth-busting style, but with each chapter fully backed up by references. As a mother of four, like the author, I found myself forcefully agreeing as I was reading about the potential harm caused by so called sleep training and historical ... View Full Review
This Summer's Secrets
Compelling, surprising and complex, this will not disappoint the many fans of best-selling Emily Barr, who has become renowned for her twisty, psychological page turners ever since her Carnegie nominated debut, The One Memory of Flora Banks. Set in a beautifully evocative Cornwall and across three different decades: the 1940's, the 1980's and the present day, with each time frame covering a generation of the family living at the grand, isolated Cliff House, which has come to symbolise wealth, privilege and absentee owners for the present-day local teens. One character spans the whole time period, and it is really Martha&... View Full Review
How Far We've Come
At once a thrilling historical adventure, a harrowing account of life on a brutal Barbados plantation for our heroine Obah and an excoriating examination of the legacy of slavery on our society today. Both how far we have come in a technological sense and yet how little progress has been made in terms of equality or reparation. This is achieved through the clever use of a timeslip device which links the plantation to its wealthy owner’s heirs living in the UK today. Descendants who wish to make amends and think they can do so by rescuing Obah from ... View Full Review
Let's Play Murder
In a pandemic lockdown inspired change of genre from the fantasy novels with which she began her career, Kesia Lupo has delivered a nail biting, compulsively readable thriller that will surely gain her even more fans. Veronica wakes up in a snowstorm trapped with four strangers in a sprawling manor house complete with a dead body. They have each fallen into The Game. A notorious Dark Web creation where, if they can solve the murder mystery, they could win a life-changing sum of money and where the only way out for any of them is to complete the game. But ... View Full Review
What Walks These Halls
This debut has all the ingredients that fans of the genre will love- an eerie, abandoned mansion, a truly malevolent spirit, family secrets and a team of young paranormal investigators. But it also has a wonderfully diverse group of relatable characters with credible backstories and the novel becomes as much about friendship, love, and found family as it is about the paranormal. Skilfully told from multiple points of view, the book follows Raven and Archer, siblings who have become estranged since the death of their father during a paranormal investigation. Now Archer is determined to reboot the family business and ... View Full Review
Crossing the Line
A stunning debut that makes full and highly skilled use of the narrative verse format, with imaginative use of font and layout, to tell an important story that the author acknowledges is based upon the real experiences of a friend’s son. It highlights how easy it is for young people and children to be entrapped by ruthless drug gangs. But this portrayal of Erik goes far beyond a single issue, it is a thoroughly nuanced, credible portrait of a young man and the complexities of his life. It had been difficult due to bullying and rapidly worsens ... View Full Review
Wild Song
This highly anticipated companion novel to the Carnegie shortlisted Bone Talk is an even more remarkable achievement. I would not call it a sequel, although we do meet characters again, the voice and perspective is very different. This is Luki’s story as narrated to the spirit of her dead mother and from the first sentence we are entirely immersed in her world in the mountains of the Philippines in 1904 and follow her decision to leave her village behind and travel with the charismatic American, Truman Hunt, to St Louis to take part in the World's Fair. ... View Full Review
Wearing My Mother's Heart
The award-winning performance poet’s second anthology for teenagers to be published by Walker, really establishes her as one of the foremost poets of her generation, with a powerful and inclusive message for all readers. While steeped in Black culture and heritage, the universal truths about the debt every young woman owes to the pioneers that went before her and the truths that every woman inherits from her mother and grandmother, will speak to all audiences. There are poems specifically on topics such as religion, identity, race, politics, relationships, mental health and self-love. The experience of love and ... View Full Review
Oxygen Mask
This remarkable collaboration between Carnegie medal winning Jason Reynolds and acclaimed artist Jason Griffin has created both a lasting memorial to what the world endured in the pandemic of 2020 and a testament to the enduring horror of racism and what humans do to each other and the world. Printed on yellowed lined paper with every appearance of a notebook it looks and feels like an artefact of the troubled times we have all survived. This is lived experience we can all share with the creators, who have captured so brilliantly the sheer claustrophobia of being trapped within four walls, as ... View Full Review
Her Dark Wings
Melinda Salisbury is a superlative creator of totally convincing worlds, where everyday reality brushes up against the supernatural or in this case the mythological. We are utterly convinced by The Island setting where the Greek Gods are still worshipped and everyday life is punctuated by rituals and superstitions. Our narrator Corey is utterly convincing too, feeling heartbroken and betrayed by her first love and, what is worse, by her best friend Bree. They have committed the unpardonable sin of dumping her and getting together. But she fears that her wish for vengeance went too far when Bree is found dead ... View Full Review