Knights Of is the amazing new publishing house for children’s books started by David Stevens and Aimée Felone, set up to address the imbalance in children’s publishing and to offer a window into different worlds. Figures from Book Trust Represents from the period 2007 – 2017 showed that just 5.6% of published UK children’s authors are from BAME backgrounds, whilst the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE) found that in 2018, just 4% of the books published over the previous 12 months had featured a BAME character, and only 1% had a BAME character as a lead. In 2012, only 1% of books had a BAME character whilst 32% of children in schools were BAME.
High Rise Mystery is the first in a detective series for 9 -12-year-olds featuring main Black characters, sisters Nik (11) and Norva (13) who are determined to solve the mystery of who killed art teacher and antiques dealer Hugo Knightley-Webb on the Tri estate in London.
Jackson conveys life on the estate brilliantly and her characterisation is great, from the chattering gossip Mrs Kowalski to Mark, the moody love interest. The writing style is fresh and informal, with a consistent, authentic voice. The main characters are likeable and relatable, and the plotting and timing is excellent. The snappy dialogue and perfect pitch mean that the book will be an instant hit with readers both reluctant and accomplished. A highly recommended début.