Linda Newbery
Linda Newbery
Review of The Shell House “Intelligent and perceptive” - Guardian

All About Linda Newbery

Linda Newbery writes for young readers of all ages, from picture books to challenging young adult novels. She is very experienced as a speaker and workshop leader in schools and libraries and at festivals, conferences and residential courses.

Linda has judged the Whitbread prize and the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize and has contributed reviews to publications including the Guardian, the Times Educational Supplement and the School Librarian. She currently edits the teenage section of Armadillo, an online review magazine. She is a member of the Society of Authors.

A former English teacher in a comprehensive school, Linda has wide experience of presenting her work to all ages, from reception classes up to sixth form and adults. She has also led writing workshops for Gifted and Talented groups, keen writers, reluctant writers, etc., for organisations including the Arvon Foundation, the British Council, Young Cultural Creators and the Writing Squads in Wales. Linda lives and writes in Northamptonshire.

“Having dreamed of being an author from the age of eight, I often begin my sessions by talking about ambitions, hopes and dreams and what it might take to fulfil them. This, of course, reaches beyond writing, focusing on the determination necessary to succeed in any field and the refusal to give up when things don’t go well.”

Linda works with many different age groups so her approach is very flexible. Linda will begin the day with an assembly style talk which last between 30-40 minutes, illustrated with PowerPoint, focusing on a particular book and showing how ingredients come together to form a story. Her aim is to give insights into the writing process and to give ideas which will be helpful for children’s own writing.

For younger children, especially reception – year 2, a more informal, story-telling approach is used which includes readings of her published poems or picture book text, sometimes inviting the children to join in by guessing rhymes.

Writing workshops will be tailored to the particular group, she works with 20 students in each hour long session. Activities may include:

– Building up a character
– Handling pace and tension
– Writing a good opening
– Or creating atmosphere.

Depending on the time available and the size of the group, there may be time for one-to-one feedback on students’ pieces. In the best writing workshops, there’s time for students to read aloud and to comment on each other’s work.

Equipment:

For presentations: laptop, screen and projector for PowerPoint
For writing workshops: the use of a photocopier is helpful

Linda’s Books

The first three books would be of interest for the first World War Centenary .

Tillys promise

Tilly’s Promise, is a short, dyslexia-friendly novel, published by Barrington Stoke, suitable for readers of about 11+.

Stories of WW1 is an anthology edited by Tony Bradman, and includes short stories by Malorie Blackman, Frank Cottrell Boyce, Jamila Gavin and Oisin McCann. My story, DANDELIONS FOR MARGO, is about Land Girls and the Home Front. The book is suitable for readers of 11+.

the shell house

The Shell House, reissued, is a young adult novel combining two stories, past and present, linked by a ruined mansion which was burned to a shell in 1917. This novel was shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal and the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize, and is suitable for readers of 13+.

Set in Stone, for young adults, was the Costa Children’s Book of 2006. The Shell House and Sisterland were both shortlisted for the prestigious Carnegie Medal, and many of Linda’s other titles have also been nominated. Catcall won a Nestle Silver Medal, and in 2010 The Sandfather was selected by IBBY (International Board of Books for Young People) for its international, biennial Honour List. Linda’s books for various ages have also been shortlisted for numerous regional awards.

Catcall

catcall

Orion Children’s Books – for age 9+

“The lion turned and looked straight at me with his amber eyes. For that second it was like there was nothing between me and him – no binoculars, no glass panel, no fence. I felt sure he knew me, knew what I was thinking.”

Josh’s family is used to changes – but now they are hurtling into even more.

Although Josh has always had an affinity with animals, it’s his younger brother Jamie who falls under the wild cat spell.

“Leo” seems to have taken over Jamie’s life. Soon it becomes impossible for the family to cope with his frightening, unpredictable behaviour.

Only Josh understands, but is he brave enough to break through Jamie’s unhappy mask, and save them all?

Silver Medal Winner, Nestle Children’s Book Prize

Lob

lob

David Fickling Books / Random House  – for age 7+

He’s older than anyone can tell. Older than the trees. Older than anybody.”

For as long as she can remember, Lucy has wanted to catch a glimpse of the mysterious green man who lives in Grandpa Will’s garden – Lob.

You have to be very special to see him: that’s what Grandpa says. Lucy’s parents think Lob’s just imaginary, but Lucy knows he exists. And she can’t believe it when she finally spots Lob in the gooseberry bushes.

But Lucy’s world is about to be shattered by a terrible event. What will happen to Lob now – and will she ever see him again?

Nominated, Carnegie Medal
Longlisted, Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize
Longlisted, UKLA Award

Barney the Boat Dog, Usborne – age 5+

runaway horse very brave dog rescue dog fairground surprise

A series of four charmingly illustrated stories for children to read alone as first chapter books, or for adults to read aloud.

Barney lives on a narrow-boat, Whistling Jack, with his owner, Jim. He loves cruising along the canals and rivers, meeting new people and having adventures.

What Barney doesn’t like is tunnels. He’s scared by the echoey, smokey darkness. But in the first story, Barney gets separated from Jim, and has to face the longest and most frightening tunnel of all – alone! The four books take Barney and Jim through a year afloat.

To purchase Linda’s books, click here.

Recommendations and Reviews

The Arvon Foundation:

“Linda Newbery has proved herself to be an excellent communicator with the groups she has taught at Arvon. As important as her skills in working with children, is the nature of the books she writes for them. Children really engage with Linda’s work and we have found introducing Linda’s work to the children before the course begins adds an immeasurable dimension to her workshops and individual tutorials. Children want to listen to her. Linda’s books deal with wonderful themes and ideas for children.” Northamptonshire Libraries and Information Service:

“Linda has a reputation for being both flexible and adaptable, tailoring her delivery with careful consideration for the age and ability ranges and educational focus of the organised event. Over the years she has worked closely with school librarians and teachers in schools throughout our county as a popular guest author for book weeks and author events, engaging with students in writing workshops and discussion forums from Year 3 up to Years 12/13.”

Reviews of The Shell House:

“Intelligent and perceptive”  Guardian
“Newbery writes wonderfully” Financial Times
“This is a novel to read, think about, and then read again.” Independent

Reviews of Catcall:

“Expertly contrasts knowledge and understanding against fears and doubt … with compassion and perception” ACHUKA
“Atmospheric and empathetic, this is an intense novel” Carousel
“I would recommend it to anyone.” Teen Titles

Reviews of Lob:

“A magical story of believing in the unknown” Guardian
“An exquisite novel” The Sunday Telegraph
“There’s something timeless about this lovely story” The Ultimate Children’s Book Guide

Reviews of Barney the Boat Dog:

“It’s a delightful story which will appeal to boys and girls. It’ll be reread and enjoyed and besides having the pleasure of a book under their belt the aspiring reader is going to realise that this reading lark is fun.”  The Bookbag
“The adorable dog on the cover will attract young readers and the tale inside will enchant them … Nearly confident readers (with a little help) will discover the pleasures of a realistic, zap-free story well told.’ Julia Jarman, Carousel

To Make a Booking

To make an enquiry about Linda Newbery, or any of the other authors, poets & illustrators listed on this website, please phone Trevor Wilson on +44 (0) 1535 656015, or email him at trevor@caboodlebooks.co.uk