Bibliobuzz 2021: books that made me

Biblio-buzz 2021, the Alexandra Palace Children’s Book Award, is now underway! Young people across Haringey and beyond are taking on our reading challenge, immersing themselves in six selected texts, before our finale week in June, which will be packed full of fun, including meeting the books’ authors.

Biblio-buzz is supported by local writers, schools, libraries and book shops in order to introduce the world of literature to young people. As we count down to our finale, we’re asking our friends and partners to celebrate the books that have shaped their love of reading. In this blog, Jennifer Killick, one of our Bibliobuzz 2021 authors, talks about the books that have inspired her:

The book I am currently reading: I recently started reading the second book in the ‘Monstrous Devices’ series by Damien Love. It’s called ‘The Shadow Arts’ and I’m really enjoying it so far.

The book that changed my life: I read my first Jane Austen novel – ‘Northanger Abbey’ – when I was fourteen, and it really started my love of the classics. I went on to read every Jane Austen, Thomas Hardy, and Bronte novel many times over. I took English at A level and went on to study it at university. ‘Northanger Abbey’ was the beginning of that.

The last book that made me cry: I honestly cry at everything – whether happy or sad tears, so the last book that made me cry was the last book I read, ‘The Perfect Parent Project’ by Stewart Foster.

The book that I wish I’d written: ‘The Hunger Games’ by Suzanne Collins. The concept is as good as it gets, she executes it perfectly, and I love the movies, too.

The book that has got me through lockdown/the pandemic: The best thing about lockdown was being able to spend lots of time with my family. My youngest son and I discovered a book together that we read and reread a hundred times over. It was the source of many brilliant conversations and calculations and we still love it now. It’s called ‘Lifesize’ by Sophy Henn.

The book that makes me happy: Anything by Rainbow Rowell. I know I will love anything she’s written before I’ve even looked at a cover or read a blurb. Knowing she has a new book coming makes me so happy.

The book that I always recommend: ‘Flora and Ulysses’ by Kate DiCamillo. Kate DiCamillo is, in my opinion, one of the greatest authors of our time, and this is my favourite book of hers. The voice, the humour, the characters – I love them all. And the ending is my favourite ending of any book ever. It makes me weep.

My earliest reading memory: When I was very young – maybe about five years old – my sister was invited to a friend’s birthday party, and I was invited to come along, too. I enjoyed the food and the games, but as none of my friends were there, I wasn’t really part of the main group. The mum who invited me gave me a book, called ‘Jenny’s Adventure’ by Jean Gilder, and it became my favourite story. The illustrations are so beautiful – I still look at them often.

The book that is my guilty pleasure: I don’t really have any guilty pleasures because I think you should be proud to read whatever makes you happy.