Continuing the series of posts that describe what I do all day, here’s a post about my gig as children’s book reviewer for Today’s Child magazine.
For the Love of Children’s Books
Anyone who knows me will be aware that I love to read books. A few years ago I landed a super job with children’s reading charity Read for Good, which gave me a great excuse to embrace children’s books. Read for Good’s fabulous work, through its Readathon and ReadWell brands, also made me realise the importance of leisure reading in children’s lives:
- being in the habit of reading for pleasure in childhood is a greater influence on your lifelong success and happiness than financial wealth and social class (which is why Readathon runs sponsors reads in schools to encourage children to read for fun)
- having access to books in hospital makes seriously ill children and their carers feel better (which is why ReadWell provides free books and storytellers to children’s hospitals)
Read for Good and Today’s Child
My role at Read for Good included administrative, promotional and marketing tasks. One day I fielded a phone call from Today’s Child‘s advertising department, asking whether we’d be willing to place a paid advert in its pages. As a registered charity, we spent very little on advertising, but I did offer as an alternative some free editorial copy about Read for Good, which they were happy to accept.
They liked what I wrote so much that they invited me to write a regular column for them, not always about the charity’s work, but focusing on aspects of reading. This has evolved into a regular double-page spread of book reviews, and in each issue I look at a particular genre, such as books about art or sport or the current season, and I put it into a wider parenting context. That way the feature is much more than a series of book reviews but an interesting, longer read that hangs together.
When I left Read for Good last year to write full time from home, I continued to write for Today’s Child, which has rapidly evolved from a London-only freebie paper to an online magazine with global reach.
How I Compile the Review Features
I announce in each issue what the next feature’s theme will be, so that any publishers wishing to send me suitable free review copies may do so. I welcome submissions from self-publishing authors too that match the chosen theme, so if you have a book that you think would be suitable, please contact me with more details.
After use, I pass all review copies on to Read for Good to put to use for that fabulous charity, whether to give to schools running Readathon sponsored reads or to send into children in hospital via ReadWell.
The July/August issue has just been published, and this time I was looking at books about art. You can read the feature online here via the paper’s fab online reading app.
Next issue, I’ll be considering back-to-school books. But first, let the summer holidays begin!