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  • Celia Jenkins

BaBs - Five Contemporary Children's Authors Not to Miss

I've been reading a lot of fiction for children and teenagers this year, and have been delving into old favourites as well as trying out newer authors. Following on from my Five Books I Recommend post, I've decided this month to focus on the children's books I've been reading this year. Obviously it's hard to whittle the list down to just five, so I'm focussing on contemporary novelists, and particularly stories with a mystical, fantastical, historical element to them. So let's see who is on the line up:

If you're looking for a contemporary author to really get into and ready widely of, Sedgwick is a great choice because he has written so many books! As well as writing books for children, he has also written young adult fiction, picture books and folk tales for adults. Many of his books have a mystical, fantastical element to them. I've been particularly interested in the Elf Girl and Raven Boy series. These two characters are the perfect comedy duo, and their adventures are no less than extraordinary. The Raven Mysteries series looks similarly hilarious.

There has been a lot of talk in the press this year about celebrities (such as sports personalities, actors and comedians) who are using their celebrity status to secure publishing deals, and so shutting children's authors out of their own trade. At a first glance, it seems that Walliams is one of these monopolizing celebrities – but unlike many others who are securing deals without a scrap of writing talent, David Walliams is actually a fantastic author. He is currently one of the highest-earning authors in the UK, and for a good reason. Often likened to Roald Dahl, Walliams' books are hilarious tales of adventure with fantastical elements throughout. It's a good thing that he is churning out these books on a regular basis, because children are absolutely powering through them.

Earlier this year I had the pleasure of interviewing Sophie Cleverly about her series of children's books, Scarlet and Ivy. The first book in the series (The Lost Twin) came out in 2015, and the fifth book (The Curse in the Candlelight) is due at the end of this year, with one more instalment coming in 2018. Aimed at ages 9 – 13, the books are also popular with much younger readers who often share pictures of themselves with the books, or dress up as the main characters for World Book Day events at school. These mysterious stories are full of intrigue and excitement which keep young readers hooked from page one. This is an author to keep an eye on in years to come!

Dr Lucy Worsley is a familiar face on British television. As Chief Curator at Historical Royal Palaces, Worsley has starred in numerous documentaries exploring the history of these amazing buildings, and the people who lived in them. Having penned a number of books on the subject, a few years ago Worsley turned her hand to fiction writing and has since published two young adult novels, with a third due out next year. Published in 2016, her first YA novel (Eliza Rose) is set in the Tudor court, while her second book (My Name is Victoria) is set in more recent history. Both are fantastic reads, and I can't wait for the next one to come out.

The last contemporary children's author I'm recommending is Sarah Driver. The first two instalments of her trilogy (The Huntress) came out this year, and are already causing quite a storm! Set abroad the Huntress, this pirate adventure is aimed at readers aged 9 – 13 with a love of the sea and a sense of adventure! I'll be finding out more about this trilogy later this year, with Sarah Driver on my author interview list, so watch this space!

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