Shropshire author is a leader of the pack

A Shropshire author is celebrating after his debut novel was selected to be sent in a pack to schools.

Jamie Russell
Jamie Russell

Jamie Russell, who is based in Shrewsbury with his wife, two daughters and a crazy rescue dog, is among 15 authors included in this year’s School Library Pack.

It is being sent to schools all over the country.

Jamie's debut novel is called SkyWake: Invasion, and it's about a group of gamers fighting aliens. It was published in July by Walker Books in the UK and Australia and New Zealand.

He said: "As a children’s author, I am keenly aware of the wonderful work that the BookTrust does to promote reading for pleasure among children.

"I’m absolutely honoured to see SkyWake included in their School Library Pack alongside so many brilliant novels and non-fiction titles.

"As a child, I was a voracious reader and I never went anywhere without a book in my pocket, usually something with a spaceship or alien world on the cover!’

Jamie, a former film critic and screenwriter, wrote his book to appeal to young readers who love videogames.

"I pitched SkyWake as a book for kids too busy playing Fortnite to read Harry Potter and I worked really hard to make it an exciting, page-turning thriller, because I knew I was competing with Xboxes and PlayStations," said Jamie.

"I’ve been contacted by so many parents in the UK and Australia who’ve told me that SkyWake was the book that got their child into reading for pleasure.

"The fact that thousands of copies are going out to schools up and down the country is incredibly exciting and I hope the story of Casey and her friends will encourage even more young readers to discover the joy of a good book.’

BookTrust sends free packs of books to mainstream secondary schools in England with a Year 7 intake, plus those with a substantial number of children on free school meals. It is funded by the Arts Council England as well as BookTrust’s partners and donors.

When Jamie's not writing he works as a climate activist.

The other titles included in this year’s pack are Chris Ryan’s Special Forces Cadets: Assassin; Everdark by Abi Elphinstone, Wink by Rob Harrell and When Stars Are Scattered by Omar Mohamed & Victoria Jamieson.

For students in Years 7-9, the free pack includes fifteen titles, split across three categories – future classics, reluctant readers and non-fiction.

There are five titles in each category.

Five of these titles come with six copies for reading groups, making a total of 40 books.

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