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Jacqueline Wilson Appreciation

Dancing the Charleston, the new book from the legendary Jacqueline Wilson, publishes this month. Wilson has been writing books for children since 1985 and quite a few of us here at Penguin HQ grew up reading and loving everything she wrote!

We spoke to some of our staff about their favourite Jacqueline Wilson book. Is your favourite listed here?

If you’ve never read one of her books and aren’t sure where to start, check out our handy guide here

 

Kelsey – Sales Executive

Favourite Jacqueline Wilson Book: Love Lessons

 

 

My best friend in primary school introduced me to Jacqueline Wilson and Love Lessons (which covers quite a taboo topic) was a book that inspired a lot of intense conversations between us. Difficult families and school dramas, as well as the main character’s love for art, all drew me into this story. But its controversial plot revolving round a student‑teacher relationship still stays in my mind, and the choice to address such challenging subject matter in a children’s book struck me as so brave.

Jacqueline Wilson’s talent for writing about difficult and sometimes uncomfortable situations makes her stories fascinating, and inspired not only my love of books but also of writing.

 

Bex – Marketing Executive

Favourite Jacqueline Wilson Book: Lola Rose

 

 

Lola Rose is the first Jacqueline Wilson book I ever read, and from there I read any and every JW book I could get my hands on! Because it was the first one I read, it became my favourite, and a go-to for re-reads! A lot of important and difficult topics are discussed in this book, and I remember that at times I felt scared reading it. I think it opened my eyes to different family situations and what life might be like for other people, helping me to learn a bit more about the world outside of my own childhood bubble.

I think what really appealed to me about this book was the strength of the characters, and I felt that if Jayni (Lola Rose) was a real person, I’d be friends with her. She was very brave and she went through a lot - I definitely admired her.

 

Lauren – Marketing Assistant

Favourite Jacqueline Wilson Book: Sleepovers

 

 

My mum always used to love surprising me with books when I was growing up, and Sleepovers was one of the first chapter books that I was ever bought. I would read it a couple of times a year because I loved reading about all the girls’ birthday parties. I could see my friends in the stories so clearly. It’s the book that, whilst quite battered 17 years on, I always go back to.

I think one of the reasons I adore Jacqueline Wilson so much is how she handles difficult issues.

Although Sleepovers is for younger readers, and while I do love a lot of other Wilson books, this one will always hold a special place in my heart.

 

Naomi – Marketing Executive for Young Readers

Favourite Jacqueline Wilson Book: The Lottie Project

 

 

The Lottie Project was published in 1997 when I was 9 years old and at the height of my Jacqueline Wilson fandom. It also caught me at a time when I was weirdly fixated on Victorians so the narrative device of splitting the storyline between Charlie (the central character) and Lottie (the character Charlie has created for a school project on the Victorians) really sucked me in. Although it’s one of the more light-hearted titles in the Wilson backlist, The Lottie Project still tackles some of the tricky issues children may face with the author’s trademark humour and real-ness.

What I always appreciated most about Jacqueline Wilson (although at 9, perhaps I couldn’t have put it into these words!) was that she never talked down to her readers or shied away from addressing difficult topics (from mental illness, to poverty, to prejudice). She always seemed acutely aware that kids can process and understand far more than they’re often given credit for.

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