OUR AUTHOR SUPPORTERS
We're delighted that so many fantastic writers are lending their support to Schoolreaders. Who better than these amazing authors to help us spread the word about the importance of acquiring literacy at an early age? We thank all these writers for their commitment and enthusiasm and for their help in promoting the scheme.
A. F. Steadman
“Schoolreaders understands the magic of reading and the benefits it can bring to every facet of a child’s future. I am thrilled to be supporting its vital work to improve children’s literacy.”
A.F. Steadman is a children’s author based in London. Her magical fantasy series about bloodthirsty unicorns sold to Simon & Schuster after a record-breaking auction, while film rights were bought by Sony Pictures. The first book, 'Skandar and the Unicorn Thief', will be published in April 2022. In 2019, Annabel was awarded a Distinction in a Creative Writing Masters from the University of Cambridge, having previously worked in corporate and family law.
M. G. LEONARD
"Books fill your head with friends, your mind with questions and your heart with feelings. Schoolreaders does a great job of sharing the magic of reading."
M. G. Leonard is the best-selling writer of ‘Beetle Boy’, the ‘Adventures on Trains’ series and ‘The Twitchers’. Her work has been translated into more than forty languages. Maya burst into bookshops with ‘Beetle Boy’ in 2016, and the success of this quirky debut led to her becoming a vice president of the insect charity Buglife. The book is currently in development as a live-action series for TV. Maya lives in Brighton with her husband, two sons and pet beetles. She spent her early career in the music industry and then worked in theatre for a number of years before turning to writing.
Levison is a passionate believer in community-based education and has written nine best-selling books based on his extensive travels.
Levison is an author, photographer and television personality best known for his extended expeditions in some of the most remote regions on earth. He has published nine best-selling books and produced six critically acclaimed documentaries including 'Walking the Nile' and 'Arabia' which was shortlisted for the 2020 broadcast awards. Levison writes for The Times and The Telegraph and his shows have aired on Channel 4 and the Discovery Channel. His photography exhibition 'Ground Truth' was Leica Mayfair's most successful of recent years.
Before his entrance into travel documentary, Levison spent a number of years as an Officer in the Parachute Regiment, where he served in Afghanistan in 2008.
"I am delighted to support Schoolreaders. I am passionate about childhood literacy and there has never been a more vital moment for this work than now when the pandemic has so cruelly set back literacy."
Sam Copeland is the author of the bestselling 'Charlie Changes Into A Chicken' series, and 'Uma and the Answer to Absolutely Everything'. He was shortlisted for Waterstones Children’s Book of the Year and his work has been translated into mmore than 25 languages. He is also a literary agent and was shortlisted for Literary Agent of the Year at the 2020 and 2021 British Book Awards and selected for the Bookseller's Most Influential People in Publishing in 2020.
"I absolutely support Schoolreaders' work in tackling the problem of poor literacy in this country"
Joanna has been writing for over thirty years and is well known for her enormously successful works of fiction. She has been described as one of the most insightful chroniclers and social commentators writing today. Her astute characterisation and gift for creating compelling dialogue have earned her a legion of fans, and her books have been the subject of several highly successful TV adaptations.
We were delighted when Joanna joined Schoolreaders for a special fundraising lunch at Woburn Abbey in December 2019. Joanna has long been a champion of good early literacy, and she gave an inspiring and authoritative talk to our 200 guests. We thank Joanna for her continuing support.
"Schoolreaders is doing fantastic work giving children vital literacy skills and showing them the pleasure and fun of reading! I am absolutely delighted to be associated with the wonderful Schoolreaders!"
At the age of 24, while working as a financial journalist, Sophie Kinsella (whose real name is Madeleine Wickham) wrote her first novel. ‘The Tennis Party’ was an immediate success with critics and the public and became a top-ten best-seller. Sophie has since published more than 20 novels, mostly under the name of Sophie Kinsella (her own middle name and her mother's maiden name). She is best known for her ‘Shopaholic’ series which focuses on the misadventures of Becky Bloomwood, a City journalist incapable of managing her own finances. Sophie has recently turned to writing fiction for a younger audience, with the publication of ‘Finding Audrey’ – for the Young Adult market – and ‘Mummy Fairy and Me’.
"Children need to be shown how exciting, fascinating and enjoyable reading can be, and once they learn that, they can learn anything else. Schoolreaders can pass on the magic of reading to children."
California-born Robin Stevens moved to England as a child and was raised in Oxford where her early ambition to run a zoo was replaced by a wish to become a writer. When she was 12, Robin met the author Colin Dexter who subsequently wrote to her and encouraged her to follow up on her plans to write; a highly successful series of murder mystery stories for children has been the result. Titles like 'Murder Most Unladylike', 'Arsenic for Tea' and 'Top Marks for Murder' have won awards and hit the best-seller lists on both sides of the Atlantic.
"As a child, I was a very slow reader until I received extra help... I believe passionately that every child should have the chance to learn to read well."
Fame came early to Sophie Neville who starred as Titty in the 1974 movie 'Swallows and Amazons'. She struggled to read as a child but, with one-to-one help, became an avid reader. A degree in Anthropology at Durham University was followed by a career in television production when Sophie worked on dramas such as ‘Eastenders' and the 'Look and Read’ series 'Through the Dragon’s Eye', eventually producing an INSET serial for BBC Education. After becoming President of The Arthur Ransome Society, Sophie published 'The Making of Swallows & Amazons’, and began writing for magazines while speaking at literary events and on BBC Radio. She has won book awards for her historical novels set in Africa where she lived for many years.
"Schoolreaders is doing brilliant work. Reading is at the heart of education and gives children a skill that will be vital to their future and will also bring them the infinite joy and pleasure of books."
Jeremy Strong has been writing for children for over forty years and produced more than a hundred books. He has always been keen to encourage and develop children’s reading skills and to that end he has successfully targeted 6-9 year old children in particular, using practical knowledge gained from teaching at primary level for fifteen years. Humour is his hallmark and he has also won several book awards during his long career, including the coveted Children’s Book Award, which he won for THE HUNDRED MILE AN HOUR DOG. (He likes to point out that he won that award the year before J K Rowling won it for the first Harry Potter Book. So he got it first!) He is a regular visitor in schools and book festivals world-wide.
“Schoolreaders’ grass roots work in sharing an enthusiasm for books and reading is an invaluable legacy for children on so many levels. It’s a fantastic organisation.”
Giles is one of the UK’s most popular picture book authors, with many bestselling and award-winning titles to his name. These include 'Giraffes Can't Dance', ‘ Rumble in the Jungle’, ‘Commotion in the Ocean’ and ‘Pants’. Recent work includes ‘Winnie-the-Pooh: The Great Heffalump Hunt’, commissioned to celebrate the 90th anniversary of the publication of the first Winnie-the-Pooh book, as well as the ever popular ‘I Love’… series, illustrated by Emma Dodd. Giles’s children’s books have sold over 10 million copies worldwide. Giles lives with his wife, Victoria, a children’s clothes designer, and their 4 children beside the river in Oxfordshire.
"As a volunteer reader myself, I have seen first-hand how regular one-to-one reading support can transform a child's relationship with books and reading, unlocking a lifetime of opportunities."
Isabel studied Human Sciences and trained as a journalist before becoming a science writer. She has written more than 150 books for young people and has been shortlisted for the ASE Science Book of the Year, the Royal Society Young People's Book Prize, the English 4-11 Picture Book Award, and the Blue Peter Book Awards. Isabel also writes outreach resources for organizations such as The Wellcome Trust and monthly features for children's science magazines Whizz Pop Bang! and The Week Junior Science + Nature. She blogs and vlogs about primary literacy and science for Oxford Education.
"Reading is such a wonderful way to be transported into other lives and other worlds – whether they are flights of fantasy or based on fact; you’ll always have a friend when you have a book beside you!"
Antonia joined Blenheim Palace in 2008 as a member of the Education Team later becoming the Palace’s Social Historian and Researcher. Both roles have involved her curating a number of exhibitions at Blenheim Palace including the highly successful ‘Passion for Fashion’ upon which her latest book is based. She was also a guest on Radio 4’s Saturday Live with the Reverend Richard Coles and Aasmah Mir and has appeared on BBC’s Country File and Channel 4’s Phil Spencer’s Stately Homes. In her spare time, Antonia enjoys the company of her family and her dogs – particularly Percy, a wire-haired Dachshund, who inspired her to write and illustrate her first children’s book – 'Percy at the Palace'. Percy recently made his debut at the Oxford Literary Festival and behaved impeccably!
Photo © Barker Evansl
Photo © Alexandra Dao
Photo © John Swannell
TONY DE SAULLES
Tony de Saulles’ background is in graphic design and typography. His skill as a cartoonist saw him working on the best-selling multi award-winning ‘Horrible Science’ series for many years. The ‘Horrible Science’ books have sold in their millions around the world, and spin-offs include a highly successful range of experiment kits from Galt Toys, a theatre show from the Birmingham Stage Company and a children’s television series on ITV. Tony’s own books include ‘The Deep Dark Sea’ (2015), ‘The Loch Ness Monster Spotters’ (2017), and he has recently published the first book in a planned trilogy, ‘Bee Boy – Clash of the Killer Queens’ (2018). Tony holds lots of workshops where he shares his love of creating funny and informative cartoons; ‘I’ve visited many of the big book festivals – it’s great to escape the studio every now and then! Life is strange – I used to be told off at school for doodling and now I get paid for it!’
Lucy Lethbridge is a writer of books on social history, and is the author of several books for children. Shehas written extensively on the ‘below-stairs’ life of Victorian and Edwardian Britain, digging deep into the often strange, and sometimes revolting methods used to maintain household cleanliness. Lucy also writes for magazines and newspapers including 'The Observer', 'The Sunday Telegraph', 'The Independent on Sunday' and 'The Times Literary Supplement'. She has been Literary Editor of both 'The Tablet' and 'The Catholic Herald'. For the excellent children’s history series, ‘Who Was ….?’, Lucy tackled characters as diverse as ‘St Francis of Assisi, Patron Saint of Animals’ and ‘Annie Oakley, Sharpshooter of the Wild West’. Her book on ‘Ada Lovelace, the Computer Wizard of Victorian Britain’, won the Blue Peter Book Award for non-fiction in 2002.
Catherine Alliott started writing in 1983 having previously been a copywriter in an advertising agency. She is the author of fifteen best-selling novels, the most recent of which, ‘About Last Night’, is published by Penguin. She lives in Hertfordshire with her husband and three children. She says, ‘I am delighted to support this amazing organisation, Schoolreaders, which is already greatly improving children's literacy’.
Co-Chair of the Dorchester Literary Festival, stalwart of The Antiques Roadshow and author/editor of over 30 books from railways to ceramics to Pugin, Paul
specialises in the art, architecture, design and decorative arts of the last two centuries.