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Amy McKay - Editorial Expert

Amy is a knowledgeable, innovative and enthusiastic school librarian, living and working in Cumbria.  Amy is a past UK School Librarian of the Year.

With over 17 years’ experience in school libraries and over a decade as the Yoto Carnegies National Coordinator she has a vast knowledge of children’s literature. She is a familiar face at festivals and has judged numerous book awards, including the Blue Peter Book Awards and the Nibbies.

Amy loves nothing more than sharing her love of books and reading, connecting young people with the authors and books that will enrich their lives for years to come.

Latest Reviews By Amy McKay

Raising the Roof
Composer and radio presenter Jack Pepper takes us on an exciting and informative journey into the world of Western classical music, from the early Middle Ages to today. Starting with what he terms the “ingredients of sounds” giving brief explanations of key terms such as pitch, melody and register. He then moves onto different types of classical music and the terms used to describe them, such as symphonies, concertos, operas, and choral – explaining exactly what they are and giving key examples of them in action. As a non-musician I found these explanations incredibly interesting and ... View Full Review
Cowgirls and Dinosaurs Big Trouble in Little Spittle
Clementine and Abigail are complete opposites and they do NOT get on. Prim and proper Clementine is the deputy sheriff of middle-of-nowhere town, Little Spittle, and coincidentally the sheriff's daughter. Determined to prove she deserves her deputy badge she works hard, does her best to remain a ray of sunshine and is wholesomely polite to everybody. Polite is not a word that has ever been used to describe Abigail, she is loud, brash and determined. Openly ambitious about wanting to be the deputy sheriff, she fumes at nepotism stealing what she believes she deserves. But when it falls to them ... View Full Review
Glasgow Boys
Finlay and Banjo have both grown up in care, once as close as brothers, now they don’t speak at all. Finlay has recently aged out of the care system and has just started a nursing degree; but without a safety net and completely alone in the world, writing essays comes second to keeping his head above water. Banjo has just been placed with yet another set of foster parents and is starting yet another new school, unsurprisingly he’s full of anger and fear. As both boys struggle with impending adulthood and uncertain futures, will ... View Full Review
The Teenage Guide to Digital Wellbeing
With fresh reports of the ills of screentime appearing seemingly weekly, this is the perfect book to help teenagers, and those who love them, learn to balance screentime and real-world experiences. Presented as a self-help book with activities to be tried and completed throughout a twelve-month period, readers are given agency and control over their own behaviour. This is a book that gentle guides and suggests, rather than preaching at you. With a fresh focus every month, positive and health-promoting online activities are perfectly balanced with suggestions for offline experiences to pursue. Monthly focuses include goal setting, resilience, and self-esteem. ... View Full Review
Sister Spirit
Plagued by nightmares, Tara is full of fear and questions about her identity. Adopted at age 2 and now 16, she traces her heritage to Nigeria, a place that whispers and calls to her. Persuading her parents to travel from England to the land of her biological father, she begins a year’s exchange at a prestigious boarding school. As her nightmarish visions intensify, she will learn the true value of friendship and belonging. Sister Spirit is a skilfully written, genre defying novel. Rich with Nigerian mythology this supernatural thriller is also a story of boarding school drama, friendship, romance, ancestry, ... View Full Review
Explodapedia: Rewild
Taking key science concepts and making them accessible, interesting and entertaining, the Explodapedia series has become a must-read for non-fiction readers. Full of entertaining illustrations and written in a witty style, it is current, informative and incredibly readable. In this instalment Dr Martynoga turns his focus to rewilding. Rewilding is the act of allowing and giving nature and ecosystems the space they need to solve the planet’s biodiversity crisis. Written with a positivity and hope for the possibilities that rewilding offers, this is a call to arms and should be read by every environmental decision maker in the ... View Full Review
Girl on the Fly
Philadelphia teen, Kamaria, just wants to concentrate on her and her track team friends winning the upcoming state relay championship. Kamaria is confident, loves her friends fiercely and is enjoying her first tastes of independence, but she hates change. And with lots of change on the horizon, Kamaria’s life is about to get difficult. She’s fallen out with her best friend, Odie, and she’s not sure why. When it’s announced that an aunt she barely is knows is coming to stay and will be sharing HER bedroom, things go from bad to ... View Full Review
Big Bad Wolf Investigates Fairy Tales
The Big Bad Wolf has been unfairly misrepresented, and he is here to set the record straight. Using logic and scientific fact in this clever, highly-illustrated book he will clear his name and prove he is not (quite) as bad as the stories say. Wolfy (as he’s known to his friends) leads us through six entertainingly scathing retellings of popular fairy tales, followed by his scientific breakdown of why they are riddled with plot holes and falsehoods. This is such a fabulously inventive concept; the world of fairy tales provides the perfect starting point for comedy and a ... View Full Review
The Moleski family are all sporting champions – strong, muscly and with an eye always on the prize. Except for Abtin, the youngest member of the family, he is an artist, a reader, a dreamer. He doesn’t even have a mole on his face like everybody else! In short, Abtin is a big disappointment to the rest of his family. But rather than let the weight of expectation bring him down, Abtin finds his own unique method of bringing a smile to his family’s’ faces. This is a fabulously funny book about embracing individuality and ... View Full Review
King of Nothing
Anton and his friends rule the school, they go where they like and say what they like. They consider everybody else beneath them, including the teachers. But when Anton keeps getting into trouble, his mum is less impressed by his fierce reputation and more concerned for his future. Hoping he’ll see the error of his ways and make new friends, she removes his internet privileges and signs him up to volunteer for a wholesome community. If he doesn’t join in, he doesn’t get back online. Surrounded by guitar-led sing-a-longs, secret handshakes and unbridled enthusiasm, ... View Full Review
Angel of Grasmere
Surrounded by fells and farms Tarn lives in the Lake District village of Grasmere; World War Two rages far away, but its impact is felt throughout her small community. Tarn and her friends spend their days studying the skies above the fells searching for early signs of the much-feared Nazi invasion. Whilst silently Tarn mourns for her adored older brother, killed at Dunkirk. Meanwhile, a strange, reclusive young man haunts the hills high above them, too traumatised to reveal himself but deeply connected to the village and its residents. The third in Palmer’s much loved World War Two ... View Full Review
The Things We Leave Behind
London teenager Clem enjoys her 15th birthday surrounded by friends, family, and glorious sunshine – a perfect day. The world is changing though, and soon everyone and everything she knows, and loves, will be in danger. Set in a not-so-distant future, England is ruled by a racist far-right authoritarian government, as civil unrest grows Clem must flee London with her younger sister, Billie. Safety lies in newly independent Scotland, but to get there the sisters must face unknown danger, suspicious bigots, and a terrifying small boat. This was a gut-wrenching read; the concept was so believable and the writing so ... View Full Review