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Join in with the Big Jubilee Read

If you’re a keen reader The Big Jubilee Read could be just the challenge you’re looking for. Featuring 70 titles, one for each year of Her Majesty The Queen’s reign, the books were all selected by a panel of experts to reflect our changing nation through fiction.

Each decade, from the 1950s to the 2020s includes ten books written by authors from Commonwealth countries including Australia, Canada, Guyana, India, Jamaica, Malaysia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Trinidad and Tobago and the UK.

The star-studded list of authors which includes Margaret Atwood, E. R. Braithwaite, Anthony Burgess, John le Carré, Bernardine Evaristo, Seamus Heaney, Kazuo Ishiguro, Marlon James, Hilary Mantel, Andrea Levy, Arundhati Roy, Salman Rushdie, Zadie Smith, Douglas Stuart, Derek Walcott, and Markus Zusak; brings some of the best writers of the last 70 years back into the limelight.

In Hampshire we have purchased eleven full sets of the collection of seventy books, plus 22 additional reading group sets of key titles from every decade. To complement the full sets of printed books we have also purchased the titles as eBooks and eAudiobooks, where they were available, which can be borrowed for free through the BorrowBox app.

The full sets of the collection of seventy books, which can also be reserved for a small charge and sent to any public library in Hampshire, will be based at the following libraries from Saturday 28 May for the remainder of 2022:

For the full list of books please visit this website. Which will you read first…

The Lonely Londoners, Sam Selvon

A vivid picaresque comedy with serious, melancholy undertones, The Lonely Londoners documents the 1950s immigrant experience through the affectionate relationship of a new arrival and a rueful old timer.

Wide Sargasso Sea, Jean Rhys

Her grand attempt to tell what she felt was the story of Jane Eyre’s ‘madwoman in the attic’, this classic study of betrayal, a seminal work of postcolonial literature, is Jean Rhys’s brief, beautiful masterpiece.

The Sea, The Sea, Iris Murdoch

When Charles Arrowby retires from his glittering career in the London theatre, he buys a remote house on the rocks by the sea. He hopes to escape from his tumultuous love affairs but unexpectedly bumps into his childhood sweetheart and sets his heart on destroying her marriage. His equilibrium is further disturbed when his friends all decide to come and keep him company and Charles finds his seaside idyll severely threatened by his obsessions.

The God of Small Things, Arundhati Roy

This is the story of Rahel and Estha, twins growing up among the banana vats and peppercorns of their blind grandmother’s factory, and amid scenes of political turbulence in Kerala. Armed only with the innocence of youth, they fashion a childhood in the shade of the wreck that is their family: their lonely, lovely mother, their beloved Uncle Chacko (pickle baron, radical Marxist, bottom-pincher) and their sworn enemy, Baby Kochamma (ex-nun, incumbent grand-aunt).

The Bone People, Keri Hulme

The Bone People is the story of Kerewin, a despairing part-Maori artist who is convinced that her solitary life is the only way to face the world. Her cocoon is rudely blown away by the sudden arrival during a rainstorm of Simon, a mute six-year-old whose past seems to hold some terrible trauma. In his wake comes his foster-father Joe, a Maori factory worker with a nasty temper.

The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Attwood

Both an unforgettable portrait of defiance and authoritarian rule and a devastatingly powerful exploration of female oppression, The Handmaid’s Tale is a classic dystopian vision with an all-too chilling resonance for our times.

Wolf Hall – The Wolf Hall Trilogy, Hilary Mantel

The first novel in her Man Booker double award-winning Wolf Hall Trilogy sealed Hilary Mantel’s reputation as one of Britain’s greatest living writers. Bursting with life and colour and peopled by complex, fully-realised characters, it’s impossible to imagine a more convincing and thoroughly immersive historical novel.

Shuggie Bain, Douglas Stuart

An uncompromising yet tender and warmly witty exploration of love, pride and poverty, Shuggie Bain charts the endeavours of its eponymous protagonist – an ambitious and fastidious boy from a dire mining town with a thirst for a better life.

Author of the Month: Philippa Gregory

Philippa Gregory was chosen to tie in with the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations.  We wanted an accessible author who has a royal theme in their work, as well as having a good backlist.

Philippa Gregory is a world renowned historical novelist and a recognised authority on women’s history.  She has written 27 novels – her 27th, Dawnlands, will be published in November 2022 as well as 3 books for children.

As well as being a full time writer, she enjoys riding, walking, skiing and gardening.  She  also runs a charity which builds wells in The Gambia and teaches children how to cultivate their own food. The well digging side of the charity stopped during the pandemic to focus on a public health initiative.

We were lucky enough to chat to Philippa Gregory on one of our previous podcast episodes. You can listen to that here: https://pod.fo/e/e0f93.

“If it means something, take it to heart. If it means nothing, it’s nothing. Let it go.”
― Philippa Gregory, The Other Boleyn Girl

Supporting Ukraine in libraries

Dobro Pojalovat v bibliotyeku – Добро пожаловать в библиотеку
(Welcome to the Library)

Our libraries are pleased to have been able to work alongside colleagues, communities, and partners to offer support to refugees arriving in Hampshire.

Alongside free and flexible emergency library membership and information on our services, which has been translated into Ukranian and Russian, we have also been able to offer Ukrainian Connections drop-in sessions for Ukrainian guests and their hosts in many of our libraries. Needs have varied, but many people attending these sessions are seeking local information, activities for children, access to the internet, support with completing forms, and company in a welcoming space where people are willing to listen without judgement.

For information on all events and activities at your local library, including Ukranian Connections sessions please visit our website

In addition to this direct support, we have also created a special collection of books to take you beyond the headlines. Explore the country’s history, culture and literature with our two BorrowBox promotions – Ukraine and Read Ukraine.

In Wartime, Stories From Ukraine
Tim Judah
Making his way from the Polish border in the west, through the capital city and the heart of the 2014 revolution, to the eastern frontline near the Russian border, seasoned war reporter Tim Judah brings a rare glimpse of the reality behind the headlines. Along the way he talks to the people living through the conflict – mothers, soldiers, businessmen, poets, politicians – whose memories of a contested past shape their attitudes, allegiances and hopes for the future. Together, their stories paint a vivid picture of a nation trapped between powerful forces, both political and historical.

Ukraine Diaries
Andrey Kurkov
Ukraine Diaries is acclaimed writer Andrey Kurkov’s first-hand account of the ongoing crisis in his country. From his flat in Kiev, just five hundred yards from Independence Square, Kurkov can smell the burning barricades and hear the sounds of grenades and gunshot.

Life Went on Anyway (Stories)
Oleg Sentsov
The stories in Ukrainian film director, writer, and dissident Oleg Sentsov’s debut collection are as much acts of dissent as they are acts of creative expression. These autobiographical stories display a Tarkovsky-esque mix of nostalgia and philosophical insight, written in a simple yet profound style looking back on a life’s path that led Sentsov to become an internationally renowned dissident artist.

Author of the Month: Len Deighton

Leonard Cyril Deighton was born in London in 1929. His publications have included cookery books, history and military history, but he is best known for his spy novels. 

In 1940, at the age of eleven, Deighton witnessed the arrest of Anna Wolkoff, who was detained as a Nazi spy and charged with stealing correspondence between Winston Churchill and Franklin D. Roosevelt. Deighton later said that observing her arrest was “a major factor in my decision to write a spy story at my first attempt at fiction”

It was on an extended holiday in 1962 that Deighton wrote his first novel – The Ipcress File (short for the “Induction of Psychoneuroses by Conditioned Reflex under Stress”), which was a critical and commercial success.  

Several of Deighton’s novels have been adapted for the screen. In March 2022, ITV broadcast a new six-part adaption of The Ipcress File, starring Joe Cole as Harry Palmer. The new series had a big budget and big name stars, and plenty of overseas locations to capture the eye of the viewer. 

During 2021, Penguin Books reprinted all of Len Deighton’s fiction backlist, creating a range of fresh and vibrant cover designs that hark back to the 1960s, when designer Ray Hawkey did the covers for their first Deighton editions. 

‘The hallmarks of a Deighton novel are an intricate plot, an easy grasp of detail and a total mastery of storytelling technique.’ – Sunday Times

Ann Cleeves

A great advocate and supporter of libraries, the best-selling writer Ann Cleeves was awarded an OBE in the 2022 New Year Honours List ‘for services to Reading and Libraries.’ Typically modest, this author of more than 30 novels responded to the nomination by saying, ‘I’m delighted that this honour highlights the importance of reading and libraries and celebrates the skilled staff who work in the field.’

Throughout her long career Ann has created a number of enduring characters whose exploits have made the transition to television, including Vera Stanhope, of the eponymous series Vera, Shetland’s Jimmy Perez and mostly recently an adaptation of The Long Call, the first in Ann’s new series set in North Devon featuring Detective Matthew Venn.

In 2017 she was presented with the Diamond Dagger of the Crime Writers’ Association, the highest honour in British crime writing, for her excellent writing and contribution to the crime writing world. In 2006 Cleeves was the first winner of the prestigious Duncan Lawrie Dagger Award of the Crime Writers’ Association for Raven Black, the first volume of her Shetland series. In addition, she has been short listed for a CWA Dagger Awards – once for her short story The Plater, and twice for the Dagger in the Library award, which is awarded not for an individual book but for an author’s entire body of work.

We have picked out a selection of titles from Ann’s long career – for the full list of books, eBooks and aAudiobooks by Ann Cleeves we have available to borrow, please visit our website.

In true Agatha Christie style, Cleeves once again pulls the wool over our eyes with cunning and conviction.

Colin Dexter

Sea Fever

Amateur sleuth, George Palmer-Jones, and his fellow bird-watchers on the Jessie Ellen catch sight of a rare sea bird. When one of the party goes missing and is found floating in the sea, Palmer-Jones must find out who murdered the man.

Murder in My Back Yard

When a proposed housing development results in uproar and murder, the pressure is on Inspector Ramsay to find the killer. Just as he thinks he is nearing a conclusion, disaster strikes again and Ramsay must test his measure as a detective.

The Crow Trap

At the isolated Baikie’s Cottage, three very different women come together to complete an environmental survey. The three women each know the meaning of betrayal. So when people begin to mysteriously die, DI Vera Stanhope is sent to investigate.

The Glass Room

DI Vera Stanhope is not one to make friends easily, but her hippy neighbours keep her well-supplied in homebrew and conversation so she has more tolerance for them than most. When one of them goes missing she feels duty-bound to find out what happened. But her path leads her to more than just a missing friend.

Raven Black

The murder of teenager Catherine Ross sends shockwaves through a small Shetland community, and most of the fingers of blame point to loner and simpleton Magnus Tait. But Catherine’s vicious and sudden demise has thrown a veil of suspicion over everyone who knew her, and one local detective is keeping all options open.

Blue Lightning

Shetland Detective Jimmy Perez knows it will be a difficult homecoming when he returns to the Fair Isles to introduce his fiancée, Fran, to his parents. When a woman’s body is discovered at the renowned Fair Isles bird observatory, Jimmy must investigate the old-fashioned way.

Too Good to be True

When young teacher Anna Blackwell is found dead in her home, the police think her death was suicide or a tragic accident. After all, Stonebridge is a quiet country village in the Scottish Borders, where murders just don’t happen. But Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez soon arrives from far-away Shetland when his ex-wife, Sarah, asks him to look into the case.

The Long Call

In North Devon, where the rivers Taw and Torridge converge and run into the sea, Detective Matthew Venn stands outside the church as his father’s funeral takes place. The day Matthew turned his back on the strict evangelical community in which he grew up, he lost his family too. Now he’s back, not just to mourn his father at a distance, but to take charge of his first major case in the Two Rivers region.

The Heron’s Cry

Detective Matthew Venn is called out to a rural crime scene at the home of a group of artists. What he finds is an elaborately staged murder – Dr Nigel Yeo has been fatally stabbed. His daughter Eve is a glassblower, and the murder weapon is a shard of one of her broken vases. Dr Yeo seems an unlikely murder victim. He’s a good man, a public servant, beloved by his daughter. Matthew is unnerved, though, to find that she is a close friend of Jonathan, his husband. 

Behind the Bookshelves

Ali Archer, Stock Services Technician

What is your role and what do you like about it?

My job title is Stock Services Technician and I’m based at our Stock Support Services hub in Winchester.  Day to day I co-manage the stock services team at Bar End (in Winchester), who ensure that all the behind-the-scenes work such as sending out reading group sets and approving invoices is done.  I also develop county-wide promotions to ensure our book stock reflects current trends and affairs. Recently we created shelves on Borrowbox showcasing the work of Ukrainian writers in both fiction and non-fiction, we also included books about Ukraine in these shelves.  All of which has proven very popular with our readers.

What do I like about my role?  So many things! I’m part of a small, supportive, and friendly team where I get to talk all things books and libraries. I think my favourite thing about this role is when I can be creative with promotions and have to research books – it gives me the perfect excuse to read lots, my to read list is continually being added to!

What did you do before you came to Hampshire Libraries?

First and foremost, I am a mum. It’s a role that I’ve had the pleasure to hold since 2001, I have four children, and all share my love of reading.  I was lucky enough to be able to stay home for the first few years of my children’s life and then I had several retail roles – I especially enjoyed working at a well-known high street store as their staff shop meant I often came home with a cut price caterpillar cake!  After that I was self-employed as a seamstress.  I created bespoke clothing and accessories using vintage patterns. My favourite makes were relaxed boho style wedding dresses, prom dresses and clothing for vintage events. I still sew, but now it’s just for myself and family.

What made you want to work at Hampshire Libraries?

I realised that I was missing the hustle and bustle of working with more than one person at the time, my youngest child was about to start infant school and I wanted to do something that would be for me but would also where I was helping others – that’s when I noticed the job advert for Romsey Library.

I’ve always been a reader, as a young child I remember making sure that the landing light was on when I was sent to bed so I could carry on reading – I devoured the Malory Towers and St Clare’s books by Enid Blyton before moving on to What Katy Did books by Susan Coolidge and the Green Gables books by L. M. Montgomery. As a teenager I loved Judy Blume – Tiger Eyes will always have a special place on my bookshelf at home. Libraries have always been a big part of my life; in fact I think walking to the library on my own was one of my first tastes of freedom as a young girl.  As I’d always felt so at home in libraries, working for Hampshire Libraries seemed a natural move to me.  I’m so glad I applied, being surrounded by books all day is just heaven!

Is there anything that surprised you about working for Hampshire Libraries?

I wasn’t prepared for the incredibly variety of library customers. A library plays such a rich and diverse role in a community – it’s not just books as I naively thought!  What surprised me most is how much I miss being around the public now that I’m not in a public facing role anymore, especially running events such as Time to Talk coffee mornings and organising the craft after a story time session. 

When I joined Stock Services, I was amazed at how much work is done behind the scenes to ensure the libraries have everything they need. Learning more about the publishing industry has been incredibly interesting, who knew that the pandemic would have a negative impact on the paper pulp industry which in turn has affected the book supply chain!

If you had to live out the rest of your life on a lonely space station overlooking the planet, which three books would you bring and why?

Firstly – why am I on a space station? I’m not sure I’d have gone through choice – I’m a little scared of the idea of space travel!  But…If I must be there then my first choice is Anne of Green Gables by L M Montgomery, I’ve already mentioned it as being one of my favourite childhood books.  It’s much like a comfort blanket as I’ve read it so many times now, we should all be a bit more Anne, she’s fun, a little a bit naughty and cares deeply about the people and things important to her. My children have also enjoyed this book, so it would be a link to my family whilst living in space. Secondly, I’d take Diary of an Apprentice Astronaut by Samantha Cristoforetti. I’ve always enjoyed reading memoirs and this one is a fascinating account of a young woman’s journey to becoming an astronaut.  She spent 200 days on board the International Space Station, so I’d dip into this book whenever I needed a boost to get through the lonely days. Finally, I’d take Taste: my life through food by Stanley Tucci. I really enjoy cooking; I love a cocktail (or three – Margaritas are my current favourite 🍸) and I adore all things Italian.  This is the book equivalent of a lazy afternoon spent in an Italian piazza with delicious coffees and pastries… and on that note I think I’ll start planning a holiday!

Find out more about Ali by signing up to our Digital Readers Book Club. The group which selects one book to read on BorrowBox each month is free to join. From this month Ali will be the online host of the group’s online discussion – on the fourth Tuesday of each month. The Wonder by Emma Donoghue to the read/listen to for March.

Powerful poetry: 7 must read contemporary poetry books

Poetry comes in all different shapes and sizes. From flowery language mixed with rhyme and rhythm, to plain speaking pages that confess something profound (and everything in between). Discover your favourite kind of poetry with these varied recommendations to get you started.

Everyone sang: a poem for every feeling by William Sieghart

This collection of writers new and old is an amazing way to find poems that connect with you. Everyone Sang is a wonderful selection of accessible poems that are arranged to help us map out our emotions. Chosen by the creator of the bestseller ‘The Poetry Pharmacy’, William Sieghart, and brought to life by illustrator Emily Sutton. The collection includes Maya Angelou to A.A. Milne, Lemn Sissay, Jackie Kay, Carol Ann Duffy, Joseph Coelho, Kae Tempest, W.B. Yeats, Christina Rossetti, Emily Dickinson, and many others.

If you’re a fan of Joeseph Coelho, you’ll love our interview with him on the Love Your Library podcast.

The actual by Inua Ellams

A symphony of personal and political fury. Sometimes probing delicately, sometimes burning with raw energy. In 55 poems that swerve and crackle with a rare music, Inua Ellams unleashes a full-throated assault on empire and its legacies of racism, injustice and toxic masculinity. In just 80 pages Ellams shows us the many faces of contemporary poetry and how we can use it to understand the world.

Bluets by Maggie Nelson

While Bluets narrator sets out to construct a sort of ‘pillow book’ about her lifelong obsession with the colour blue, she ends up facing down both the painful end of an affair and the grievous injury of a dear friend. Winding its way through depression, divinity, alcohol, and desire, visiting along the way with famous blue figures, including Joni Mitchell, Billie Holiday, Yves Klein, Leonard Cohen and Andy Warhol.

bone by Yrsa Daley-Ward

Raised in Chorley in the north of England, Yrsa Daley-Ward’s work draws on her early life and her Jamaican and Nigerian heritage. The first collection from a ground-breaking poet, bone looks at identity, race, mental health, and femininity. With celebrity fans from Beyoncé to Florence Welch, this isn’t a collection to be missed.

Hold your own by Kae Tempest

Hold Your Own is a rhythmic retelling of the Tiresias myths set-in modern-day Britain. Kae Tempest’s first full-length collection takes a close look at class and gender in this ambitious multi-voiced work. A vastly popular and accomplished performance poet, Tempest commands a huge and dedicated following on the performance and rap circuit.

Grief is the thing with feathers by Max Porter

Part novella, part sound-poem, Max Porter’s debut depicts a wild and unruly grief embodied by the character Crow – antagonist, trickster, healer, babysitter. In a Nanny McPhee-like series of events, the sentimental bird visits a grieving family after the loss of their mother and threatens to stay until they no longer need him. As weeks turn to months, and the physical pain of loss gives way to memories, the family begin to heal.

Citizen: an American lyric by Claudia Rankine

Through essays, images, and poetry, Claudia Rankine’s book recounts mounting racial aggressions in 21st century daily life and in the media. The accumulative stresses that come to bear on a person’s ability to speak, perform and stay alive. Taking a close look at how racism has impacted the lives of Serena Williams, Zinedine Zidane, Mark Duggan and others.

Remember, there’s no wrong way to read poetry, but reading poems in different ways can be great for finding out how they can create different feelings. Why not try reading a poem as fast or as slowly as you possibly can and see whether it changes the sense of meaning you get from it? Lots of poets like to play with how words sound too, so you could even ask a friend to read a poem aloud to you. It’s a great way to discover more about poetry and share your favourite reads with those closest to you.

Train of the Future Competition at Eastleigh Library

For more than 100 years trains have been built in Eastleigh! We want you to jump forward in time and tell us what sort of trains will be built in Eastleigh 100 years in the future!

How will you report back on the trains of the future? What could you tell us? How could you let us know… will it be a picture, a written description or a model It’s up to you…

Just remember only you have seen this incredible future train… so you’ll have to let us know all about it… how do the people travel, how does it move, what fuels the train, what does it look like, where does it go?

Please submit entries by 5pm on Saturday 23 April by bringing them to Eastleigh Library or emailing them to eastleigh.library@hants.gov.uk. The winner’s will be notified by Saturday 14 May, prizes will be awarded to the three winners on Saturday 28 May 2022.

There are three age categories in this competition, please remember to submit the entrants name and age along with a name and telephone number for a responsible adult for all three categories:

– Age 0-4 – the winner will receive a selection of children’s books

– Age 5-8 – the winner will receive a selection of children’s books

– Age 9-12 – the winner will receive a £30 book token

Competition Rules for Train of the Future competition

1. The competition is organised by Hampshire Libraries.

2. Entrants must be aged 12 or younger on Saturday 23 April 2022.

3. Entrants must submit a picture, a model, a photograph of a model or written description of a train of the future.

4. Written submissions should be no more than 200 words in length, excluding the title.

5. Entries, which must be accompanied by an entry form submitted at Eastleigh Library by 5pm Saturday 23 April 2022. All written entries should be submitted in English.

6. All entries must be the original work of the entrant and must not infringe the rights of any other party.

7. Entrants retain the copyright in their entries but grant to Hampshire Libraries a perpetual non-exclusive royalty-free licence to publish, broadcast (across all media) and post the entry online and on any other platforms yet to be envisaged.

8. Prizes will be awarded to three winners, the best drawing or design, best model and best written description in each of the three age categories.

9. The judging panel’s decision is final. No correspondence will be entered into.

Death Positive Libraries

Death positive libraries aim to remove the barriers to talking about death and dying.

Almost 80% of British adults find it difficult to talk about death, even though we all have to face it. Not talking about death, not getting the right support and advice at the right time and the suffering that people go through when a loved one dies or when they are facing death themselves, puts enormous strain on mental health and wellbeing. The Covid-19 pandemic has highlighted the urgent need for supportive services for bereaved individuals, at a time of vulnerability and low resilience.

Working with Libraries Connected and following on from pilot schemes in Redbridge, Kirklees and Newcastle Library services we are launching five Death Positive Hubs in early April 2022.

Libraries are uniquely placed to be a centre for bereavement support as well as a trusted space where conversations about death and dying can take place with caring staff on hand to help.

The Hubs, which are located across the county, to ensure as many people as possible can benefit from this project, will offer

  • A specially chosen collection of books for adults offering practical information and guidance
  • A collection of books for children, which use relatable stories to help initiate conversations about death
  • Trained staff who are comfortable talking about death and able to provide practical guidance for those seeking further professional support
  • Resources containing QR codes, directing customers to our webpages and signposting to relevant support services

Our five hubs, which are based in Basingstoke Discovery Centre, Chandler’s Ford Library, New Milton Library, Stubbington Library and Waterlooville Library; will also be working in partnership with specialist charities, organisations and businesses who support those who are dying or bereaved. These partnerships will enable us to offer practical and supportive events and activities in the Death Positive hubs later this year.

Existing services within libraries will also be helpful for people seeking support within Death Positive Hubs: social groups such as ‘Knit and Knatter’ or Scrabble club, access to digital information through our public network computers and WIFI and drop-in advice clinics such as the Citizen’s Advice Bureau. Over time new groups and services will be offered, such as Death Cafes and special story times hosted by children’s bereavement specialists. We will be working with our Learning in Libraries team to offer a bespoke programme of learning too, covering a range of topics including, grief management, tackling end of life conversations, confidence building and wellbeing.

Our Death Positive books will be available in the five hubs and through Borrowbox. For physical copies, browse our online catalogue and, for a small charge, reserve the book or books you would like to pick up at your local library.

We will invite feedback from customers regarding the Death Positive booklist, exploring how useful particular titles are and suggestions for improving the collection.

International Women’s Day #BreakTheBias

International Women’s Day (IWD) March 8 is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating women’s equality.

IWD has occurred for well over a century, with the first IWD gathering in 1911 supported by over a million people. Today, IWD belongs to all groups collectively everywhere. IWD is not country, group, or organization specific. The theme of International Women’s Day 2022 is #BreakTheBias. To achieve this, we ask you to imagine a gender equal world. A world free of bias, stereotypes, and discrimination. A world that is diverse, equitable, and inclusive. A world where difference is valued and celebrated. For more information on IWD please visit their website.

Together we can forge women’s equality. Collectively we can all #BreakTheBias. We believe books, information and libraries are a great place to start, so to mark #IWD2022 we have selected some books for younger readers on the theme of inspirational women and highlights from the Women’s Fiction Prize 2022 longlist.

Books for younger readers:

The Extraordinary Life of Greta Thunberg
Devika Jina & Petra Braun

From taking part in school strikes and owning that her Asperger syndrome is her superpower, to crossing the Atlantic Ocean in a powerful stand against carbon emissions, this is the incredible story of a schoolgirl who is changing the world.

Little People, Big Dreams: Josephine Baker
Ma Isobel Sanchez Vegara

Discover the incredible life of Josephine Baker, the world-famous entertainer, activist and French Resistance agent in this true story of her life. She fought against segregation her whole life and kept going with style, whatever was thrown in her way.

Little People, Big Dreams: Jane Goodall
Ma Isobel Sanchez Vegara

When Jane was little, her father gave her a toy chimpanzee named Jubilee which inspired her lifelong love of animals. Jane went to study them in the wild, living with chimpanzees in their natural habitat and becoming famous for her pioneering approach to research.

Little People, Big Dreams: Marie Curie
Ma Isobel Sanchez Vegara

When Marie was young, she was unable to go to college because she was a woman. But when she was older, her discoveries of radium and polonium dramatically helped in the fight against cancer, and she went on to win the Nobel Prize for Physics. This moving book features stylish and quirky illustrations and extra facts at the back, including a biographical timeline with historical photos and a detailed profile of the scientist’s life.

Little People, Big Dreams: Maya Angelou
Lisbeth Kaiser

Maya Angelou spent most of her childhood in Stamps, Arkansas. After a traumatic event at age eight, she stopped speaking for five years. However, Maya rediscovered her voice through books, and went on to become one of the world’s most beloved writers and speakers. This inspiring story of her life features a facts and photos section at the back.

Women’s Prize for Fiction 2022

The Women’s Prize Trust is a registered charity championing women writers on a global stage. Their goal is to empower all women to raise their voice and own their story, by shining a spotlight on outstanding and ambitious fiction by women from anywhere in the world, regardless of their age, race, nationality, or background through the annual literary award.

This year the panel of judges; Anita Sethi, Dorothy Koomson, Lorraine Candy, Pandora Sykes and Chair, Mary Ann Sieghart; chose a longlist of sixteen books, featuring both debut and acclaimed writers; which span the globe in their settings, from Trinidad, Cyprus and a dystopian England, to Cape Cod, Buchenwald, and Vietnam. We’ve selected some titles which are already available to borrow as a book, eBook or eAudiobook.

Flamingo
Rachel Elliott

Flamingo is a novel about the power of love, welcome and acceptance. It’s a celebration of kindness, of tenderness. Set in 2018 and the 80s, it’s a song for the broken-hearted and the big-hearted, and is, ultimately, a novel grown from gratitude, and a book full of wild hope.

Great Circle
Maggie Shipstead

The life of Marian Graves was always been marked by a lust for freedom and danger. In 1950, she embarks on her life’s dream – to fly a Great Circle around the globe, pole to pole. But after a crash landing, she isstranded on the Antarctic ice without enough fuel and writes one last entry in her logbook. Half a century later, Hadley Baxter, a brilliant, troubled Hollywood starlet is irresistibly drawn to play Marian Graves, a role that will lead her to probe the deepest mysteries of the vanished pilot’s life.

Remote Sympathy
Catherine Chidgey

Frau Hahn’s husband, SS Sturmbannführer Dietrich Hahn, has taken up a powerful new position as camp administrator at Buchenwald, but her stubborn obliviousness to their new circumstances is challenged when she is forced into an unlikely alliance with one of Buchenwald’s prisoners, Dr Lenard Weber, the inventor of a machine that he believed could cure cancer.

Sorrow and Bliss
Meg Mason

Everyone tells Martha Friel she is clever and beautiful, a brilliant writer who has been loved every day of her adult life by one man, her husband Patrick. A gift – her mother once said – not everybody gets. So why is everything broken? Why is Martha – on the edge of 40 – friendless, practically jobless and so often sad? And why did Patrick decide to leave? Forced to return to her childhood home to live with her dysfunctional, bohemian parents, Martha has one last chance to find out whether by starting over, she will get to write a better ending for herself.

The Book of Form and Emptiness
Ruth Ozeki

One year after the death of his beloved musician father, thirteen-year-old Benny Oh begins to hear voices. The voices belong to the things in his house – a sneaker, a broken Christmas ornament, a piece of wilted lettuce. Although Benny doesn’t understand what these things are saying, he can sense their emotional tone; when his mother develops a hoarding problem, the voices grow more clamorous.

At first Benny tries to ignore them, but soon the voices follow him outside the house driving him at last to seek refuge in the silence of a large public library, where he meets his very own Book – a talking thing – who narrates Benny’s life and teaches him to listen to the things that truly matter.

The Exhibitionist
Charlotte Mendelson

The Hanrahan family are gathering for a momentous weekend as famous artist and notorious egoist Ray Hanrahan prepares for the first exhibition of his art – one he is sure will burnish his reputation for good. But what of Lucia, Ray’s steadfast and selfless wife? She is an artist who has always had to put her roles as wife and mother first. What will happen if she decides to change? For Lucia is hiding secrets of her own, and as the weekend unfolds and the exhibition approaches, she must finally make a choice.

This One Sky Day  
Leone Ross

Dawn breaks across the archipelago of Popisho. The world is stirring awake again, each resident with their own list of things to do. A wedding feast to conjure and cook. An infidelity to investigate. A lost soul to set free. As the sun rises two star-crossed lovers try to find their way back to one another across this single day. When night falls, all have been given a gift, and many are no longer the same. The sky is pink, and some wonder if it will ever be blue again.

The Paper Palace
Miranda Cowley Heller

On a perfect August morning, Elle Bishop heads out for a swim in the pond below ‘The Paper Palace’ – her family’s holiday home in Cape Cod. As she dives beneath the water, she relives the passionate encounter she had the night before, against the side of the house that knows all her darkest secrets, while her husband and mother chatted to their guests inside… So begins a story that unfolds over twenty-four hours and fifty years, as Elle’s shocking betrayal leads her to a life-changing decision – and an ending you won’t be able to stop thinking about.

The Island of Missing Trees
Elif Shafak

1974, on the island of Cyprus. Two teenagers, from opposite sides of a divided land, meet at a tavern in the city they both call home. The tavern is the only place that Kostas, who is Greek and Christian, and Defne, who is Turkish and Muslim, can meet, in secret. This tavern provides the best food in town, the best music, the best wine, but there is something else to the place: it makes one forget, even if for just a few hours, the world outside and its immoderate sorrows.