The Bookette is the alias of Becky, a school librarian from Essex, who manages to juggle a demanding job and her own writing ambitions with running one of the most popular children’s book blogs in Britain. She has nearly 500 followers on her blog - but is read by many more than that. Her reviews are always thoughtful and balanced, but she’s not scared to put the boot in when she feels she must. She’s a reviewer you can trust, and she brings her deep knowledge of children’s literature to the task of assessing new books.If you’re a British author and you find yourself getting more internet reviews in 2011 than ever before your books receive next year, it’s likely you’ve got one woman to thank.
She’s never satisfied with just reviewing alone though. She’s running a campaign to get Katherine Roberts’ Song Quest back in print, promoting it by organising a blog tour and a cover competition.
And her latest idea should shine a light on a lot of British books. The Bookette has launched a new meme - a feature that other bloggers sign up to - the British Books Challenge (BBC) 2011. This offers prizes and promotion to bloggers who sign up to read and review books by British authors, new and old, during 2011. The challenge is for British bloggers, who are encouraged to read 12 home-grown books; and to international bloggers who can read six for a ‘Winston Churchill’ or 12 for the full ‘Royal Family’. Read 50 British books and you qualify for a crown.
Becky has prize packs from British publishers to help promote the challenge, and she’s already signed up more than 40 bloggers for the challenge. If they all read and review an average of 10 books each, that’s 400 reviews. That’s a whole lot of internet buzz for all sorts of British authors, who can find it very difficult to get noticed at home or abroad.
So, on behalf of British authors generally - goodness, I never thought I'd be able to write that! - many thanks to Becky for the work she’s put in to organise this challenge. And thank you to all the book bloggers out there, who take time and much trouble to read and report on our efforts. You’re unpaid for all your hard work, but not unappreciated. In a world where review space in print media is ever-shrinking, your influence is growing every day.
And in the spirit of her challenge, here are some British books I'm looking forward to reading in 2011:
The Opposite of Amber, by Gillian Philip; Jessie hearts NY by Keris Stainton, Kiss, Date, Love, Hate by Luisa Plaja, Hidden by Miriam Halahmy, Entangled by Cat Clarke, Divine Freaks by Fiona Dunbar, A Year Without Autumn by Liz Kessler and Sequins Stars and Spotlights by Sophia Bennett. How about you?