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We're on the ball with Venessa Taylor

A photo of the author Venessa Taylor
The book cover of Baller Boys, by Venessa Taylor

Our author of the week is Venessa Taylor!

Are you football crazy and reading mad? This week you can read Baller Boys by our author of the week Venessa Taylor completely FREE! You can also watch a video about why Venessa was inspired to write Baller Boys, discover her top three children's books and read a Q&A about reading.

If you enjoy reading this book, your local library service has loads more ebooks to borrow for FREE. Ask your parents to help you join.

And for more reading fun including book recommendations, mini challenges, games and more, why not sign up to the Summer Reading Challenge

Watch the video

Venessa Taylor - Author of the week

Venessa Taylor's recommended reads

Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell

The perfect lift-the-flap and giggle book for little fingers. While trying to find the ‘perfect’ pet, children are introduced to zoo animals and learn why they don’t make suitable pets, before eventually finding the perfect pet. Short enough to read in one sitting but engaging enough to read over and over again. I probably read this book every night for a year with each of my three children.

Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman and illustrated by Caroline Binch

An empowering story that enables children to see they can be whoever they want to be. When Grace is told by her well-meaning friends that she can’t be Peter Pan because she is a girl and she is black, her family tell her that she can be anything she wants to be if she puts her mind to it. The perfect book about being true to yourself no matter what the world tries to tell you.

Boy, Everywhere by A.M.Dassu, illustrated by Zainab 'Daby' Faidhi

A gripping, authentic and moving story based on the impact of civil war on children. Sami’s life as a wealthy, privileged teen is suddenly turned upside down when his family are forced to flee the safety of their home. They find themselves on a journey of confusion, heart ache and loss as they flee to safety in a foreign country. They arrive as asylum seekers in the UK in need of help and security but instead are faced with confusion, ignorance and uncertainty and although at times heart breaking, the story also offers hope. This book offers the ideal opportunity in which to have honest conversations with children to challenge misconceptions and stereotypes around refugees and asylum seekers.

Q&A with Venessa Taylor

If you could be a story book character, who would you be?

As I have quite an obsession with mermaids, I would love to be a character like Ariel from The Little Mermaid.

What is the best thing about reading?

The best thing about reading is its ability to allow you to escape from life in that moment. Reading allows you to sit at home and travel the world, to walk in the shoes of others and develop empathy and understanding, to learn new skills and to laugh and laugh and laugh.

What is your all-time favourite book?

Gosh, throughout my life and at different times I have had many favourite books. To try to choose an all-time favourite would be so difficult but...my favourite adult book is probably To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee and my favourite children’s book is probably Boy, Everywhere by A.M. Dassu. However, with that said, my all-time favourite grown-up book is probably A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini.

What can you do to get better at reading?

The best thing to do to get better at reading is to read more!