Our daily lives affect animals and the environment in many ways, some of which are obvious, others we may not realise. Is it possible to live kindly and minimise the harm we do? Can we opt out of cruelty altogether? Find out more on this new page.
'Don't throw it away - there is no away!' This was an advertising slogan from, erm, Shell, the oil giant. It's a good message, though. This book - which started life as a single-word 'concept' book - encourages upcycling, creativity, sharing, growing and fun.
The charming illustrations are by Katie Rewse. Find out more about Katie and her work here.
Rubbish? is published by the brilliant Otter-Barry Books.
I like the idea of a book shepherd, carefully herding and tending books and directing them towards readers!
I've just contributed to their feature in which authors choose their favourite reads of 2023 - here are mine.
My previous post for Shepherd was on the subject of Animals and Us. Here are my choices - it was difficult to limit myself to just five, though.
Do have a browse, and enjoy exploring!
The Great Big Green Week runs from 10th - 18th June, with activities all over the country. Find out more on the blog.
Welcome to guest No. 7 - Rob Pownall, of Protect the Wild! Rob's the powerhouse behind this organisation that aims to end fox-hunting, shooting and other cruel sports. Read about Rob's determined, ambitious approach and how he aims to consign bloodsports to history.
Introducing my sixth Animal Advocate guest! Here's Catherine Cannon, with whom I'm lucky to work on the Plant-Based Councils Campaign. Read about Catherine's motivation, how she became involved and the great progress the campaign is making.
What a wonderful photograph! I'd love to cuddle a pig. The fifth guest in my Animal Advocate series is Gina Bates, vegan crofter and founder of The Vegan Land Movement - an inspiring person who really is living by her principles.
Read more here - with a link to an Off the Leash podcast interview with Gina, too.
Guest number four! Award-winning illustrator Mini Grey talks about her marvellous new book, The Greatest Show on Earth, and her activism - and for once I meet my blog guest in person!
Read more here, with a range of Mini's brilliant illustrations.
I'm honoured to welcome the third guest to my this series: John Oberg, from the United States. An influential campaigner, speaker and trainer, John devotes his life to raising awareness of animal matters, and helps others to make a difference too. Find out more here ...
Big thanks to John for answering my questions!
Here's the second guest in my Animal Advocate series! I'm delighted to welcome Cleve West - best known as a top garden designer and winner of many Chelsea Flower Show gold medals. But he's equally passionate about campaigning for animals ... find out more here.
Launching what I hope will be a regular series on the blog, award-winning author, animal advocate and former vet Gill Lewis talks about her books and her campaigning for animals.
If you haven't yet read Gill's books, there's a treat waiting! All of them are about animals or the environment in some way - and they're great reads, too.
Why insects are so important to all life on Earth and why we need to protect them - read my review on the blog.
My best reads from the last year (that is, books I read in 2022 - several of them newly-published, some older). There's more about these titles in the blog article.
I'm delighted that THIS BOOK IS CRUELTY FREE - ANIMALS AND US has been chosen for the 2022 Read for Empathy Guide, alongside great fiction and non-fiction titles. Find out more from Empathy Lab, download the whole collection and follow #ReadforEmpathy for updates, especially on Empathy day on 9th June!
A Good News roundup for the end of the year, to celebrate some recent successes of animal welfare campaigns.
Click here for my selection of books about animals, nature and protest.
I'm keen to support independent booksellers and am lucky to have three excellent ones within range. Buying or ordering directly from the shops is of course the best way to support them, but if you do need to order on line, Bookshop.org lets you support local booksellers too. Look them up to see what they can offer, and what titles they're recommending. You can look up authors and illustrators, too - we can have our own 'shops'. Here's mine, where my various lists (growing ... compiling them at odd moments is hard to resist) include books I recommend, what's on my reading pile, categories such as the First World War, as well as my own titles by category.
Click here to visit!
Usually on World Book Day I'm dressed as a suffragette to visit a school, and talk about my two novels for young readers about the struggle for Votes for Women. They are GIRLS FOR THE VOTE (first published as POLLY'S MARCH) and UNTIL WE WIN, a short, dyslexia-friendly story for teenagers, published by Barrington Stoke. Read more about this specialist publisher and their excellent range of books here.
I'm delighted that THE KEY TO FLAMBARDS has been selected for the following:
- 2021 IBBY (International Board of Books for Young People) list of outstanding books portraying characters with disabilities
- The Booktrust's Best of the Year list for positive images of disability.
- Nominated, UKLA Book Award
- Nominated, CILIP Carnegie Medal.
It's based on K M Peyton's wonderful FLAMBARDS quartet, and is set at Flambards in 2018, in the weeks leading up to the centenary of the armistice that ended the First World War. THE KEY TO FLAMBARDS has its own page on this website, where I explain how it came about, why I love the original stories so much, and some of the threads my own book picks up, in a modern context.
WRITERS REVIEW, which I host and edit with author friends Adele Geras and Celia Rees, had its fourth birthday this summer. There you can find weekly book reviews by ourselves and our guests - all authors or independent booksellers. I'm proud of the wide range we feature there: new releases, old favourites, neglected masterpieces, and a growing thread of nature writing. Follow us on Twitter: @writersreview1 - and on Instagram for regular updates!
Here are the links to some of my own recent choices:
I was so delighted with this Tweet from Dr Rebecca Garcia Lucas, teacher and children's book specialist, that I asked if I could post it here - she kindly agreed.
Published by David Fickling Books, with lovely cover art by Katie Harnett.
The launch was held at Copped Hall, near Epping - which I have fictionalised as Graveney Hall in The Shell House. Kathy Peyton, author of the wonderful Flambards quartet from which this grew, was of course the guest of honour - here we are in the mansion, with David Fickling. Launch photography is by Chris Normandale.
"Poignant, thoughtful ... Newbery's teenagers feel somewhat old-fashioned, but her sensitive portrayal of grief and recovery is superlative." Imogen Russell Williams, The Guardian
6 CHELSEA WALK is the new series title for what used to be called HISTORICAL HOUSE - six separate stories, two each written by Adele Geras, Ann Turnbull and myself. The whole series is being relaunched by Usborne, each story coinciding with a significant anniversary, and with this lovely new cover art by Tiziana Longo.
Read more on the Middle Grade fiction page.