Media Coverage for The Creeping Shadow
The latest installment of Lockwood & Co continues to receive glowing reviews.
In a round-up of 2016’s best books for young people, The Irish Times chose The Creeping Shadow saying: “very clever, very spooky and very exciting.”
In another 2016 round-up, the Evening Standard recommends the book, saying: “The arrival of a new book in Jonathan Stroud’s Lockwood and Co series cheers up my entire year.”
The Guardian chose The Creeping Shadow as one its picks of the year: “Stroud’s nerve-shredding ghouls, laconic hilarity an intelligent character development make him a must for fiction aficionados with an iron nerve.”
The Week recommends the book too: “Featuring action-packed battles and supernatural artefacts, this spine-chilling adventure is the perfect ghostly read.”
Respected American review publication, Booklist, gave The Creeping Shadow a starred review saying: “The wry first-person narrative is a pleasure, relating the story with an impeccable, understated sense of drama. Appearing at chapter headings, Adams’ dark, richly atmospheric, and often ghostly vignette drawings can make even a sandwich look downright sinister. Stroud’s scene setting and storytelling are second to none, but it’s his ability to create credible, idiosyncratic characters and relationships that creates avid fans of the Lockwood & Co. series.”
Respected literary blogger, The Bookwitch, writes: “I really, really like these books…If you’ve not started yet, do so before it’s too late. Before they get you. Ghost-touch is no joke.”
LoveReading4Kids reviews The Creeping Shadow: “Jonathan Stroud’s Lockwood & Co series…is simply superb. Each episode offers a first-class helping of brilliantly-written, edge-of the-seat adventure packed with intrigue, humour and even a touch of romance, and I can’t think of another modern series that makes for quite such entertaining reading…Unmissable”
Sci-Fi bulletin has this recommendation: “Hilarious, gripping and truly chilling, The Creeping Shadow artfully sets the stage for the doubtlessly unforgettable finale to come.”
Crime Review’s write-up says: “The characters are sparky, the dialogue is witty…this is young adult writing of the very highest quality.”
Children’s book radio show, Down the Rabbit Hole, picks out the new Lockwood book as a highlight new publication:
Our favourite ghost-hunting trio continue to be nominated for literary awards around the world (little do they realise their notoriety!):
The Creeping Shadow was nominated for a Good Reads Choice Award in the middle grade category.
The Screaming Staircase is up for the Leicester reading Rampage Award. The winner will be announced at a ceremony in June this year.
The Hollow Boy scooped the top prize of an Indonesian awards - the Paranormal & Supernatural Fiction awards.
Meanwhile, the Swedish audio book for The Hollow Boy has been nominated for the Stora ljudbokspriset award (loosely translated to Great Audio Book Award).
While Jonathan was in the US this autumn he took part in events and signings at YALL Fest held in Charleston. During the trip he was interviewed by a site called Adventures in YA Publishing. Here’s the interview:
Also during his US tour, Jonathan was interviewed on camera for NCTV’s ‘Authors Revealed’ slot. Watch the interview here:
Lockwood Fan Art Competition – Winner Announced
The winner of the Lockwood fan art competition is this brilliant pencil drawing of Lucy and a very creepy skeleton. Congratulations to the artist, Connie Turner.
(THIS COMPETITION HAS NOW CLOSED)
NEWS 2016 . . .
As publication approaches, the first reviews of the new Lockwood & Co installment are coming out in the media and blogosphere – and they’re glowing with praise!
The Financial Times chose The Creeping Shadow as one its top picks for the autumn, saying “The Creeping Shadow is the penultimate volume in a series that reads like the Famous Five fused with HP Lovecraft…It’s cosy and terrifying; no matter how ghastly the apparition, Lockwood & Co always find time for tea and cake.”
Parents in Touch magazine writes: “This is a totally compelling series with a high level of tension maintained throughout; it's certainly spooky, but the characters are so well depicted that you feel you are right with them through their adventures; it's not bedtime reading!”
Author and blogger, Jo Coterill, has this to say of the fourth Lockwood book: “The writing style is as accessible as ever, containing frequent moments that made me snort out loud…The plot is gripping, but what makes this book sing, as with all the others, is the characterisation. Lucy Carlyle is hands-down the strongest female protagonist I’ve come across in a long time…a brilliant grab-you-by-the-lungs comic horror.”
Sneak Peek of The Creeping Shadow
This month Jonathan will release an extract from The Creeping Shadow, the fourth Lockwood & Co. book.
You may remember the cliffhanger ending of The Hollow Boy, and be desperate to know what happens next. Well, the wait it almost over - you can read the first chapter of the new book from Thursday 14th July at 5pm UK time. There will be a link to it from that time on The Creeping Shadow page.
In June, Jonathan revealed the UK cover of The Creeping Shadow to the world, with a fantastic reaction. He followed the reveal with a facebook live chat, which is always a fantastic chance for him to connect with his readers and fans across the globe.
More Awards for Lockwood & Co!
This spring, The Screaming Staircase was awarded a top literary prize in France - the Prix Chimère 2016. Lockwood won the prize in the 11-14 years category. The Prix Chimère recognizes and awards books in the ‘imaginative’ genre so that might be sci-fi, fantasy, horror, or in the case of Lockwood, a mixture of all three.
The prize is organised by school librarians from all over France, and the winners are chosen by a voting group of young people and teenagers.
In April, the Oxford Literary Festival hosted the first ever Freedom To Think event all about creativity. It was called THE GREAT BRITISH CREATIVE CHALLENGE!
Jonathan chaired a talented panel including Abi Elphinstone, Alex Wheatle and Chris Riddell. The panel discussed their creative roots as children, how they developed their artistic passions in to careers, and how they carve out space now to explore their imaginations. There was also a hilarious live creative challenge where the audience shouted out items and creatures for the panellists to draw - Chris and Alex conjured up a burrito-wearing cutlery fish, and Alex and Jonathan designed a werewolf going to a party.
The event was proudly support by children’s newspaper, First News, which backs the campaign’s concept and, via the paper’s stories, quizzes, competitors and more, it encourages children to explore and enjoy their creativity.
After the event, the authors all signed books for the audience. For photos of the event see:
Jonathan’s Latest Interviews and Articles
Grab a cup of tea and catch up on the latest interviews and articles by Jonathan:
Jonathan wrote about Lockwood fan art for the Guardian, who also hosted a gallery of fan images of Anthony, Lucy and George:
Jonathan was interviewed by Graham Marks about Lockwood and Freedom To Think for the Just Imagine newsletter this spring:
Jonathan took part in a radio interview for a show called Down The Rabbit Hole, which is all about children’s books. You can catch up on the interview and hear Jonathan reviewing other new books for young people here:
Reviews for The Hollow Boy!
Lots of lovely praise and glowing reviews for the latest installment of Lockwood & Co.:
A review of The Hollow Boy by top bookseller and Lockwood fan: Darran Stobbart:
The Horn Book Review raved about The Hollow Boy:
“Readers are once again treated to inventive world-building, memorable characters, and edge-of-your-seat pacing—with dashes of sardonic humor (cue the skull in the jar) and signature snacks (cue the cheap sausage rolls, bacon-flavored chips, and chocolate fudge cake).”
The School Library Journal said of the third Lockwood book: “Pleasantly nightmare-inducing and as captivating as its predecessors. Fans of the series will anxiously await Lockwood and Co.’s spine-tingling adventures in the next installment.”
The Spectator gave the latest installment of Lockwood the thumbs up saying “Brilliant as ever.” https://new.spectator.co.uk/2015/11/the-best-childrens-authors-of-2015-after-david-walliams/
The Independent on Sunday reviewed The Hollow Boy:
“Witty and inventive, Stroud always provides plenty of excitement without ever losing the essential good humour found in his works. Writing horror stories which somehow avoid coming over as genuinely horrific is a rare gift, and Stroud is a worthy successor to those authors of adventure stories in the past who also set out to entertain without unnecessarily upsetting more sensitive readers. His ghosts lack any detailed psychological hinterland from their past lives; they are primarily there to frighten before being destroyed. Rhetoric is absent in favour of Lucy’s often self-deprecating account of herself and her friends, unheroic in what they say and do until coming to a climax when they all excel. Younger readers may well have a fight on their hands with older members of the household for first go at a novel that is such a continual pleasure to read.”
A Guardian reader review praises The Hollow Boy:
“I would recommend this thrilling novel to boys and girls 9 upwards. I really enjoyed it so much that I hope there will be yet another book soon to follow in this fabulously told series.”
Lockwood 3 was reviewed on An Awful Lot of Reading blog:
“I love this series so much, the characters are funny, the plot intertwines everything neatly so we see both character development and action sequences, and the ghosts are awesome. I can't wait to see what happens next, there was something of a shocking ending and I need to know how things work out!
ARCHIVED NEWS 2015 . . .
Join Lockwood & Co for live, online murder mystery game!
If you haven’t yet taken part in a Lockwood Whodunit, you’ve missed out.
Every Friday 13th this year, a game is being run asking fans and readers to join Lockwood’s psychic detection agency to solve a case.
The third Lockwood Whodunit will take place this month, on Friday 13th November, and it promises to be the hardest case to crack so far.
Fans of Jonathan’s books and readers from all over the planet are invited to take part in the game. All you have to do is follow the clues throughout the day and piece the evidence together, to discover the haunting, the source and the story behind the paranormal goings on. It is your chance to discover what life is really like for the ghost hunters in Lockwood’s London.
Follow the clues on twitter under the hashtag #Lockwoodwhodunit or on facebook at Jonathan’s fan page: www.facebook.com/jonathanstroudauthor
See you there, if you dare!
Lockwood, Lucy and George must be jumping for joy in Portland Row this week as the story of their adventures receives more critical acclaim.
The School Library Journal has awarded The Hollow Boy a starred review, saying:
“Pleasantly nightmare-inducing and as captivating as its predecessors. Fans of the series will anxiously await Lockwood and Co.’s spine-tingling adventures in the next installment.”
Top Literary Award Nomination!
In thrilling news this week, Lockwood has been nominated for one of the most prestigious British literary awards – the Carnegie Medal. The Whispering Skull is on the nomination list, voted for by UK librarians, alongside the crème de la crème of the British publishing world.
To see the full nomination list see: http://www.carnegiegreenaway.org.uk/pressdesk/press.php?release=pres_2016_nom_ann_carn.html
Congratulations to Jonathan (and Lockwood, Lucy and George of course!).
The Hollow Boy was published last month in the US and UK and already we are seeing glowing reviews online and in print:
The Independent on Sunday dedicated a large review column to The Hollow Boy saying: “Younger readers may well have a fight on their hands with older members of the household for first go at a novel that is such a continual pleasure to read.”
Little Luna’s Library loved the third Lockwood book: “I continue to adore the world Jonathan Stroud has built, the writing and characters.”
Fellow children’s author Jo Cotterill was filled with praise: “Gosh, these books are funny. They really are – I can’t possibly work out how it’s done, because basically they’re horror (and I don’t like horror) but they make me laugh out loud on a number of occasions.”
The Bookwitch is one of the most respected and influential book bloggers in the UK; to receive a glowing review from her is high praise indeed. The Hollow Boy was lucky enough to get her seal of approval:“This is another jolly, thrilling and amusing installment in the Lockwood saga.”
Blogger Stephen at Dark Readers is a huge Lockwood fan: “This is a fantastic series, and also one that's very visual…”
Last, but not least, The Book Bag gave their verdict on the third installment of Lockwood & Co. saying: “Oh, this series is brilliant! Spine-creeping terror is balanced by the kind of throw-away comments that will have readers snorting with amusement and the drama never lets up until the very last paragraph of the very last chapter.”
On top of reviews of The Hollow Boy, Jonathan’s name has come up elsewhere on the internet this month.
When Jonathan toured America last month he did an interview with a food blogger who is a huge Lockwood fan. The interview went live this week and is a brilliant snap shot of the inspiration behind Lockwood, how Jonathan writes and what his favourite food is:
A mention for Lockwood & Co. on Den of Geek this week, in an article about books being developed into films. No new updates on the Lockwood film just yet, but nice to see it amongst this list.
More Honours for Lockwood
Two great bits of news just in for our ghost-hunting trio - The Whispering Skull has been longlisted for the prestigious UKLA book awards. These British awards are the only national awards judged entirely by teachers and the longlist includes the crème de la crème of the authorial world.
The winner will be announced at a ceremony held in July 2016. For the first year the award is being sponsored by LoveReading4Kids which has set up a special webpage for the longlisted titles: http://www.lovereading4kids.co.uk/genre/uk6/UKLA-2016.html
Secondly, The Hollow Boy has been awarded a top honour in the American library world: a Junior Library Guild Selection in for Fall 2015. For more information see: http://www.juniorlibraryguild.com
The Hollow Boy launches in the UK
The end of September saw publication of The Hollow Boy in the UK to a fanfare of applause, virtual and actual, from fans and readers. Jonathan did a fan Q&A on GoodReads on publication day (see his answers here), the first (and very positive) reviews came in (see below), a funny article about characters’ clothing by Jonathan went live on the Waterstones.com website (visit the page here) and Jonathan held a launch event in London.
The launch party was held in Daunt Bookshop in Chelsea and a wonderful crowd of booksellers, librarians, teachers, book bloggers, reviewers, readers and more came out to celebrate the new adventure of Lockwood & Co. Guests played a ‘guess where the ghost is’ map game and let their creativity loose on Lockwood’s ‘Thinking Cloth’. Jonathan also took the chance to speak about his new creativity campaign, Freedom To Think, which hopes to see children given more time to be creative and use their imaginations.
Read about the event and see photos on Jonathan’s blog, and check out the write-up by Shelley from book review site, Love Reading, here:
Last month Jonathan travelled thousands of miles around the US talking about The Hollow Boy, meeting readers and signing books for fans. The tour was the first time Jonathan’s been paired up throughout with another author; he and Eoin Colfer did every event together and got on like a house on fire (that means really well for anyone who doesn’t know that very English saying!).
For photos and to hear about their travels see Jonathan’s blog:
First Reviews of The Hollow Boy
The first reactions to the third Lockwood & Co. installment are in and they are glowing with praise!
“Publication of a new Lockwood and Co adventure must qualify as one of the literary events of the year. Jonathan Stroud not only writes like a dream, he creates some of the most inventive, most exciting storylines around. Each Lockwood adventure raises the levels of tension, as plots thicken dangerously, and our affection for his teenage ghost hunters grows. In this story, there’s a terrifying outbreak of paranormal activity in Chelsea that leaves all the Psychic Investigation Agencies baffled. Can Lockwood & Co find the source? The appointment of a new assistant, the charming Holly, has introduced strains that weren’t there before, and after a shattering climax Stroud leaves the reader on a massive emotional cliffhanger. Book four can’t come soon enough!”
Booklist, a well respected book review magazine in the US, awarded The Hollow Boy a starred review saying: “From the banter among the young associates at Lockwood & Co. and the flaring of unruly emotions to the well-choreographed fight scenes involving monstrous spirits, Stroud brings his considerable storytelling skills to bear in this riveting sequel to The Screaming Staircase (2013) and The Whispering Skull (2014)”.
Book blog site, Jennyopolis says: “I love that you never know where these books are going. Stroud never breaks any rules of his universe, and he manages to deal out new bits of information to get characters out of situations without it seeming like he’s scrambling to make up explanations as he goes.”
Details about the third title in Lockwood & Co. series revealed!
This summer the first details about the next installment of Lockwood & Co have been released. The book will be called The Hollow Boy and it will be published in America on 15th September, the UK on 24th September, and Germany on 26th October. Other international editions will be published thereafter.
Jonathan has given a sneak preview of the book:
“In The Hollow Boy there’s a sudden outbreak of ghosts in London, and Lockwood, Lucy and George have to try to get to the bottom of it. On the way, though, they have to deal with a trail of bloody footprints up a spiral stair, a murderous ambush in a London Street, and something very sinister lurking in a big department store… In short, there are lots of thrills, jokes and cliff-hangers, and I had a great time writing it. I really hope you’ll enjoy it too.”
The UK jacket will be revealed on Good Reads later in the summer. The US jacket and the German cover are already in the public domain and both look fantastic:
To support the global publication of The Hollow Boy, Jonathan will be spending the autumn touring, meeting fans face-to-face and online via social media. Confirmed so far is a publication tour of America with Disney Hyperion in late September, a UK events tour in October and November, a Friday 13th (November) online detective game called #LockwoodWhoDunIt run by Jonathan’s UK publisher, Penguin Random House, and more to be firmed up too.
For more news of The Hollow Boy watch this page and keep an eye on Jonathan’s twitter account too: @JonathanAStroud
This summer, Jonathan Stroud is launching a campaign close to his heart – it’s called Freedom To Think and its aim is to help children unleash their imagination through regular, dedicated, creative ‘free time’.
Jonathan has long been aware of children’s increasingly busy lives, their schedules packed with homework, play-dates, chores or after-school clubs. It was this awareness that inspired him to create the campaign: “My older children, aged 11 and 8, seem busy all the time. It’s all good stuff – both stimulating and educational – but they often don’t have time or space to be creative in their own right. This got me thinking.”
Freedom To Think suggests parents and carers ring-fence at least one period each week for their child as unstructured thinking time. Within this period, it’s up the child to choose their activity and to direct their play. The campaign will provide a space online for parents and children to capture their creative moments, and it will offer inspiration via monthly activity ideas.
Jonathan continues: “I think all parents would agree that play is an invaluable part of their children’s lives. Crucially and above all, of course, it’s about having fun. But it does other things too. Through play kids learn to be creative – they make things, they improvise, they follow the implications of their own ideas. And it gives them better self-knowledge, helping them to understand the world and their own place in it. In short, it’s an essential part of their personal development.
“As families and as a society, we need to allow children to play – we have to make it a priority. I think even a little extra focus could make a big difference.”
Jonathan will be supporting and promoting the Freedom To Think campaign alongside his work as an author.
The Lockwood & Co. books have received more literary accolades this summer, much to Jonathan’s delight!
The Screaming Staircase has won the Hampshire Book Award, voted for by young people aged 11-13 from 50 secondary schools in the county. There will be a ceremony held in the autumn for Jonathan to collect the award in person.
The audio book version of The Whispering Skull has been named a YALSA Amazing Audiobook! The judges of the award commented “The spine-tingling performance of Lyons’ narration will keep listeners on the edge of their seat.” It’s a double triumph for Lockwood - The Screaming Staircase audio book also made the list in 2014.
You can read more about the YALSA Amazing Audiobooks list here: http://www.ala.org/yalsa/2015-amazing-audiobooks-young-adults
Sherlock Holmes inspires Lockwood & Co.
The Guardian (UK) published an article by Jonathan earlier this year about his lifelong admiration for Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle’s famous detective, Sherlock Holmes. Jonathan explains that his early love for detective stories, and specifically Holmes, directly fed in to the inspiration for Lockwood & Co.
The Dagger in the Desk publishes!
This week, the Lockwood & Co. short story, The Dagger in the Desk, is published as an ebook, complete with the story itself and an illustrated guide to the ghosts and ghouls found in Lockwood’s London.
Jonathan wrote the short story in 2013 in conjunction with the Guardian’s website – it was an innovative project that saw the story created interactively with young readers in the UK. The children chose the setting, the title, the ghost and the jokes. Every day Jonathan would log on and write the next installment based on the children’s votes and suggestions.
At only 49p it’s an irresistible download – either for readers who are yet to discover Lockwood’s world and want to try it, or for committed fans who are looking for more adventures, laughs and scares from our favourite ghost hunting trio.
Download now on one of the links below:
There’s also a review of the story on the respected blog site, Pewter Wolf:
“For those of you curious over this series and wondering if this would be good starting point to see if you like the writing, I would say yes. You get a feel for the world…and with this, you get a tiny galley of the ghosts and an sneak peek of Screaming Staircase so if you like it and want to read more, you can read that and see if you like it.”
Some fantastic Lockwood reviews have gone live this month, here’s a run down:
Ann Giles, aka the UK’s much respected book blogger, the Bookwitch, reviewed The Whispering Skull saying:
Middle Grade Mafia blog site recently reviewed The Screaming Staircase:
“Fans who love Dr. Who, Men In Black, and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom will love this series. Sorry for thinking of movie and a television shows for examples, but I’ve never really read anything like this in children’s literature before.”
The Guardian posted a review for The Whispering Skull:
And Lockwood was also chosen in the Guardian’s best books of the year round-up by blogger, Amazing Earthling:
Serendipity Reviews Blog loves the latest Lockwood installment too:
Primary Times magazine picked out The Whispering Skull in their recent book reviews:
Also, this month, some reviews for other books by Jonathan:
Book Marked Pages blog reviewed The Amulet Of Samarkand:
Jonathan’s book for Barrington Stoke (a specialist publisher for reluctant and dyslexic readers) called The Ghost of Shadow Vale was reviewed this month by the respected Fantasy Book Reviews site:
At the start of the year, the category winners for the Costa Book Awards 2015 were announced, including the winner of the children’s category as judged by Jonathan. Kate Saunders’ Five Children on the Western Front scooped the win for the kids prize.
Since the category announcements, Jonathan has been furiously reading other category winners as he was invited to join the judging panel for the overall Costa Book of the Year award. The winner is announced this week at a ceremony in central London which Jonathan will attend. Watch this space for the judges’ best book of the year.
You maybe remember, in 2013 Jonathan teamed up with the Guardian to write an online, interactive Lockwood story for Halloween where the readers took control of the story. It was an incredible week: kids inventing ghosts they’d like included, choosing where the story was set, what strange and funny events took place. Every day Jonathan would log on and write the next installment based on the children’s votes and suggestions. The result was the short story, Lockwood & Co: The Dagger in the Desk.
It is hugely exciting to announce that this story will be published as an e-short by Hyperion in the US and by Penguin Random House in the UK on 9th February 2015. The e-short also includes illustrations and descriptions of the various types of ghosts in Lockwood’s world.
If you have a spare half an hour, do download it and read it over a cuppa – a little extra Lockwood to add to your day!
Costa winners announced!
This week the category winners of the Costa Books Awards 2014 were announced, including the best children’s book, which was co-judged by Jonathan.
Jonathan, alongside his fellow judges Lorna Bradbury and Jake Hope, chose Five Children on the Western Front by Kate Saunders as the best book in the children’s category. Of the book the judges said: “This profoundly moving and magical story tackles the biggest themes – love, family and friendship – set against the horrors of WWI. Kate Saunders’ astounding achievement is to have created a modern masterpiece that captures the spirit of a much-loved classic.”
Congratulations to all the winners – and the judges too of course!
This week, the national newspapers have been selecting their best books for Christmas and their top reads of 2014 – and lots of them have included Lockwood!
The Financial Times chose Lockwood & Co. The Whispering Skull saying: “Plenty of humour alongside the chills”. www.ft.com/cms/s/2/d79f160a-76bb-11e4-8273-00144feabdc0.html
The Metro picked out Lockwood commenting: “Seriously scary, brilliant prose.”
While the Evening Standard had this to say in their round-up: “Set in a London beset with ghosts and a crying need for child ghost-hunters, it’s a world with a Linnean system of apparitions, prescribed rules for dealing with them and no obvious need of adult chaperonage for teenagers. A blissful read.”
The School Run website selected Lockwood in their best books for children this Christmas: “There are heart-stopping moments aplenty in the second, chilling installment of the adventures of London's smallest, shabbiest and most talented psychic detective agency. Apparitions, phantoms, coffin-looting... this is definitely not a tale for faint-hearted children.”
And there was more non-Christmas-related love for our ghost-hunting trio hot-off-the-press this week:
Darran who works at Waterstones Durham reviewed the second Lockwood book:
Raziel’s Book Recommendation blog says of The Screaming Staircase:
Another blog, Books, Literature and Writing, run by Madelyn, reviews The Screaming Staircase and includes a wonderful ‘which character from Lockwood & Co are you’ quiz – we highly recommend it!
Looking for A Good Book is another blogger fan of Lockwood:
A plethora of recent glowing reviews for Lockwood & Co: The Whispering Skull:
“A page-turner at its peak, Jonathan Stroud has written another rip-roaring success of a story that has all the chills and thrills of the first book and the added depth of characters and their relationships that build over time and develop” raves Sister Spooky blog.
“The Whispering Skull 100% delivered a steaming hot and delicious pizza pie of satisfied high hopes” says Book Punks blog.
Books 4 Teens love the latest Lockwood instalment: “The Whispering Skull is a brilliant read especially at this time of year. This review doesn’t really do it justice but trust me it’s brilliant – plot twists, humour, ghosts and a mystery to solve – what more could you want?”
Thirst for Fiction blog comments: “an entertaining read that can be enjoyed without too many goose bumps.”
“The Whispering Skull is an impressive addition to the Lockwood & Co. series, expertly managing to avoid the infamous sequel slump while simultaneously laying the groundwork for what promises to be another exciting adventure. The next book cannot be released too soon.” writes Pages Unbound blog.
“Jonathan Stroud is a genius for plotting” says Sonder Books blog.
Some reviewers are catching up on the Lockwood series, and have just posted reviews for The Screaming Staircase:
SF Crowsnest blog says: “It is smart, funny, witty and genuinely frightening in all the right places.”
Halloween this autumn saw a lot of love for Lockwood & Co:
The Guardian showed the world what ghosts actually look like in a Guide to Ghosts inspired by Lockwood and described by Jonathan:
There was also a Guardian competition for young fans to invent their own ghost and be in with the chance of having their ghost appear in the third Lockwood book!
The Independent newspaper reviewed its favourite Halloween books this autumn, choosing The Whispering Skull as it’s best book for older readers saying: “A dashing teenage hero, a ghostly cult leader and a girl gravedigger with serious personal hygiene issues are just some of the delights that lie in wait in The Whispering Skull, Jonathan Stroud’s second book in the Lockwood & Co. series.”
The World Book Day website’s best Halloween picks included our very own ghost-hunting trio:
The Scotsman also chose Lockwood in their Halloween round up, commenting: “The story is just as spooky, and brilliantly told as the previous instalment - which admittedly you don’t need to have read first, but why miss out?”
To mark the spooky day, Waterstones’ website featured an article called ‘Books to make your toes curl’ and said of The Whispering Skull: “It’s a little bit Sherlock Holmes, a little bit Skulduggery Pleasant, with a terrifying haunted house thrown in for good measure. You definitely won’t be disappointed.”
UK Mums website showcased an amazing Halloween haul, which included Jonathan’s book:
Meanwhile, a ‘Thrills and Chills’ blog tour in America saw book blogs hosting articles written by Jonathan:
Fashion for ghost-hunters appeared on My Friends are Fiction blog:
5 Questions with Jonathan Stroud was hosted on The Midnight Garden blog:
The Social Potato took readers in to Jonathan’s life as an author through a photo tour of his office!
10 Great Horror Films appeared on For the Love of Words:
As you may know, Jonathan is a judge of this year’s Costa Book Award in the children’s category.
This month he met with his fellow judges; literary consultant, Jake Hope, and book critic, Lorna Bradbury, to debate the shortlist. Their choices were announced on Radio 4’s Front Row this week.
More Literary Awards!
More award shortlistings this month as the list for the Warwickshire Secondary Book Awards is announced and The Screaming Staircase has made the cut!
The complete shortlist includes:
• The Bubble Wrap Boy – Phil Earle
Students in years 8 and 9 all over Warwickshire will now be reading the shortlisted books and voting for their winner, which will be announced at a ceremony in March 2015. Fingers crossed for a Lockwood triumph!
Best Books of the Year
Towards the end of each year, the media, book bloggers, reviewers and librarians often choose their favourite books that were published throughout the year. It’s thrilling to see Lockwood make it on to one of the first of these lists – the Waterstones Bookseller’s Best Childrne’s Book for 2014! Emy, from Waterstones Bath, comments:
“Brilliant horror for 9-12s with a well thought out alternative world, fast-paced adventure and shining glimmers of humour. It’s an incredibly enjoyable read.”
Latest Lockwood Reviews
More glowing reviews for Jonathan's new series appeared on the web this month:
A Keyboard and an Open Mind blog gave The Whispering Skull 5 out of 5 stars:
The Online Eccentric Librarian says of the second Lockwood installment; "This was one of my favorite reads of the year."
Stephen at Dark Readers blog has review The Whispering Skull this month:
Also don't miss Stephen's hilarious application letter to Jonathan within the review!
Meanwhile, an American book blog, The Midnight Garden, is hosting a virtual Halloween Chills and Thrill tour, which launched this week with a guest Q&A with Jonathan (look out for the ghostily author photo!):
Of Lockwood & Co. the blog says: "I love how the books feel both modern and classic, how the narrative is both elegant and humorous, and how genuinely shivery some of the scenes are."
The blog of the Williamsburg Regional Library caught up on the first Lockwood & Co. story when they reviewed The Screaming Staircase: "Fast moving, witty, and nicely creepy, the series is written for a middle grade audience, but entertaining enough for any age that appreciates a good ghost story."
Award news: The Screaming Staircase has won a category in the Book Blogger UKYA Awards this week!
All book bloggers in the UK were invited to choose their favourite books and authors in a variety of categories and, to great whoops of joy in the Stroud household, Lockwood came out on top in the paranormal novel category.
The bloggers, who give up their free time to review and recommend books in the UK, are a special bunch of people - passionate, knowledgeable, discerning, magnanimous – this win really is a great honour.
For the full list of winners see the post on A Daydreamer's Thoughts blog below or follow the conversation on twitter at #bbukyaawards.
More Award News
Award news just in – The Salford Children's Book Award has shortlisted The Screaming Staircase in their 2015 award!
Lockwood will now battle it out against the other five shortlisted titles as students from 18 schools in and around Salford will vote for the winning book - to be announced at a ceremony held in March next year.
Good luck Lockwood!
Heroes of the Valley chosen as a classic
The Sunday Times has put together a list of its favourite '100 Modern Children's Classics' (chosen from the past 10 years) and it's thrilling to see Jonathan's stand-alone 2009 novel, Heroes of the Valley, has made the selection!
See the full list here (warning: pay wall on all content in The Times):
Buzz for The Whispering Skull reaches fever pitch . . .
Our favourite ghost-hunting trio have been unleashed for a second adventure in the US for a couple of weeks, and this week they’ll enthrall readers in the UK when The Whispering Skull hits bookshops on Thursday. The buzz around the latest Lockwood installment is palpable and growing. Check out this selection of reviews just in:
Hidden In Pages blog on The Whispering Skull:
The Book Faerie reviews The Whispering Skull:
Mega bestselling author Rick Riordan celebrated publication of the second Lockwood installment in the US on his blog:
The School Library Journal on The Whispering Skull:
A starred review in Kirkus for Lockwood II:
Blog of a Bookoholic comments:
Books Aplenty blogger is a Lockwod fan:
A glowing review from this SciFi review site:
Blogger and reviewer Lucy Catton proves the power of hand-selling books in her review of The Whispering Skull:
Dogo Books enjoyed the new Lockwood:
Looking for a Good Book blog site catches up on The Screaming Staircase:
Jonathan has done a Q&A for American entertainment news site, Hypable, to celebrate publication of The Whispering Skull in the US.
Read the ‘Horror and Hope of Lockwood & Co.” here:
Australian Awards News!
A few months ago, Lockwood & Co.: The Screaming Staircase was longlisted for an Inky Award, a prize presented by the Centre for Youth Literature at the State Library of Victoria, Australia. This week, the shortlist was announced at the Melbourne Writer’s Festival and Lockwood has, thrillingly, made the list! The winner will be chosen by votes from young readers and the most popular book will be announced at a ceremony on 21st October. Keeping our rapiers crossed for Lockwood.
Our favourite ghost-hunter must be getting a big head by now, the reviews and awards are coming in thick and fast! This month's update:
The Screaming Staircase was reviewed in The Sun, one of the UK's biggest papers. They said:
"…the first in a new series that promises suspense, humour and things that go bump in the night…For Lucy Carlyle things are about to get scary. 4/5"
The Screaming Staircase has been shortlisted for the Coventry Inspiration Book Awards 2015! In its ninth year, this regional literary prize is voted for by young people in the UK and, more recently, now takes votes and feedback from readers around the globe. Fingers crossed for Lockwood when the winner is announced in spring 2015.
Lockwood's first installment is also shortlisted for The Weald Book Award 2015, a Sussex literary prize voted for by young people from seven local schools. The winner of the award will be announced in March 2015 at a presentation attended by the shortlisted authors (rapiers at the ready!).
Also up for glory in the US, The Screaming Staircase has been chosen as one of 20 books to compete in the St Louis, MO, annual book battle. This sees 20 books go head-to-head with over 30 teams of middle-school students reading the books, voting and being tested on them. Jonathan will take part in the battle by contributing a blog entry later in the year.
There have been two sci-fi/fantasy conventions going on in the UK this month, Nineworlds and London Comic Con. Although Jonathan wasn't in attendance, his physic detective agency didn't miss the chance for self-promotion (!) - postcards and Lockwood goodies were up for grabs for fans who attended.
The chance to get your hands on The Whispering Skull is almost here! With just over a month to go, buzz is building and the first copies have arrived hot-off-the-press.
Watch this space for reviews, giveaways, event images and more as the next step in Lockwood & Co's adventure unfolds.
Click the covers below to pre-order The Whispering Skull at Amazon in the UK and US.
Review of The Screaming Staircase
The Evening Standard newspaper featured a great review of Lockwood & Co in a recent summer books round-up:
"For older readers, let me commend the first in the series Lockwood and Co, The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud (Corgi, £7.99), one of those books you take with you to the bath. It's set somewhere in modern London but it's curiously old-fashioned in feel — about a trio of young, professional ghost-hunters in a Britain where ghosts have become a national problem. It has that crucial element of internal coherence, whereby you buy into the world that's being described. And it's packed with bloodcurdling spectral incident."
As publication of the second Lockwood & Co. book, The Whispering Skull, approaches this September, the first reviews are cropping up. The first is from Kirkus, an influential literary review magazine in America - they give Jonathan’s latest ghost-hunting adventure a starred review:
“An occult portal and its spectral guardian nearly cut short the careers of three rising young ghost hunters in this madcap sequel to The ScreamingStaircase (2013).
Continuing their predilection for falling into predicaments that require rapier work and fast exits, psychic detection agents Lockwood, George and Lucy are reluctantly hired by Scotland Yard to track down a mystical old "bone-glass" no sooner found in the arms of a moldering exhumed corpse than stolen. As everyone who has looked into this small but potent artifact seems to have either been driven insane or eaten by rats (or both), police and psychic black marketeers are equally eager to get their hands on it.
In fine form, Stroud sends Lockwood & Co. on a trail that leads from an upper-crust social event to the mucky margins of the Thames and into dust-ups with thugs, rival agents and carloads of ectoplasmic horrors that can kill with just a touch. Lucy's cautionary "If you're easily icked-out, you might want to skip the rest of this paragraph…"goes for more than one grisly passage. For all their internecine squabbling, the three protagonists make a redoubtable team—and their supporting cast, led by the sneering titular skull in a jar, adds color and complications aplenty. Rousing adventures for young tomb robbers and delvers into realms better left to the dead.”
Another Whispering Skull review from Moon Shine Art Spot blog:
“The author of the blockbuster Bartimaeus series delivers another amusing, chilling, and ingeniously plotted entry in the critically acclaimed Lockwood & Co. series.”
And a final one from Luna’s Little Library blog:
“It took about a sentence for me to be completely hooked and I loathed having to put the book down. I’m completely sold on the world-building, so much so I was half expecting fog and/or ghosts to start floating from the page…The Whispering Skull is thrilling storytelling at its best.”
Last weekend London was host to the first ever convention for Young Adult fiction in the UK. Held as an off shoot of the London Film and Comic Con at the Excel Centre in Earls Court and curated by Children’s Laureate, Malorie Blackman, YALC saw a coming together of the crème de la crème of the YA authoring world.
Jonathan took part in a panel event called ‘Bring Me My Dragons’ – the event was packed with readers of all ages who had some insightful and interesting questions, and the signing queue afterwards snaked through the convention. A wonderful event and everyone’s keeping their fingers crossed for YALC to become an annual event.
July is such an exciting time, the paperback of The Screaming Staircase is publishing all over the world and in the UK it’s been chosen as top booksellers Waterstones’ book of the month for children.
As part of this major promotion, a bookseller from Waterstones Durham (Darran Stobbart) has written a blog about Lockwood & Co for the Waterstones website. Darren says: "a series to capture the imaginations of children, hooking them on to reading".
And Jonathan’s written a very funny guide to writing ghost stories – a must read this one!
Jonathan has been on the road this month to support the Waterstones promotion. He’s taken the heady Lockwood mix of danger, spookiness, action and humour to schools around the south east of England in conjunction with several branches of the book store (Bedford, St Albans, Milton Keyes, Ipswich, Bury St Edmunds). Jonathan also popped in to branches to sign books in Berkhamsted, Richmond and Teddington, so if you live nearby do pop in as they’ve got signed copies.
With the release of the paperback of The Screaming Staircase, fans of Jonathan’s have been posting review links to twitter. Here’s a round-up of their verdicts:
“Think Harry Potter, Sherlock, and Ghostbusters all mashed together: that’s Lockwood & Co. It’s a great new series that middle schoolers, teens, and adults will love.”
“A creepy mystery, rich descriptions of a haunted London and masterful storytelling combine to make The Screaming Staircase irresistible summer reading fun!”
“Please pass on my thanks to Jonathan Stroud, for keeping me awake all night....my eyes are gritty from lack of sleep, the children ate chocolate cake for breakfast because I inadvertently slept in, and they decided cake was better than cherrios. So my children are wired on sugar, I am confused because of lack of sleep.......and I couldn't be happier. The Whispering Skull was worth it.”
“Readers who enjoyed the action, suspense, and humor in Jonathan Stroud's internationally best-selling Bartimaeus books will be delighted to find the same ingredients, combined with deliciously creepy scares, in his thrilling and chilling Lockwood & Co. series.”
“★★★★★ It's the Young Ghostbusters!”
“This is the first book I have read by Jonathan Stroud and I can't believe I haven't read any of his books before. I really enjoyed this a lot, and I'm looking forward to continuing the series.”
Hazel West on https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/756265511
“Man, this book was awesome and impressive… Honestly, I have troubles deciding which is this book’s strongest asset – the narration, the characters, or the mood/atmosphere? All of them were absolutely well done and written that’s it’s hard to pick. It’s that amazing.”
An early review of The Whispering Skull too:
"After reading The Whispering Skull, I can definitely recommend this series for middle grade readers of dark fiction."
Austrian prize glory
Thrilling news just in: Lockwood has won a literary award in Austria – in fact, it's won two!
The Screaming Staircase was voted the best book in the Austrian Young Critics award in two different age categories – a first for this award!
Jonathan's novel has won the 12 year old age category and the 14/15 year old category too – a double win!
Jonathan has actually won this prize previously – in 2007 for the Bartimaeus trilogy, so it's a great honour to be chosen top of the pile again by young readers in Austria.
Jonathan attended a star-studded event in central London on Wednesday 2nd July to find out the winners of the Booktrust/Kindle Best Book Award for which The Screaming Staircase was shortlisted.
Unfortunately it was not Lockwood's day, and The Diary of a Wimpy Kid scooped the 9 – 11 year old award. But Jonathan had a fantastic day meeting over 300 children who had voted in the award, the judging adults who chose the shortlist and all the other authors and illustrators up for prizes.
The final list of winners is:
0-5 Years: Best Picture Book - Peck Peck Peck by Lucy Cousins
In a ceremony held in University College School in Hampstead, London, Jonathan Stroud was announced as the winner of the WeRead Prize 2014!
To say Jonathan was shocked to hear the result is an understatement: “I was so surprised I barely knew what to say, but I’m thrilled at being awarded such a fine prize.”
Lockwood & Co.: The Screaming Staircase scooped the top prize of this literary award which is in its sixth year and is voted for by students from schools in and around London. It’s co-organised by the wonderful independent bookshop in south London, Tales on Moon Lane, who were in attendance on the ceremony day making sure things ran smoothly and books were available for sale.
Jonathan continues: “What’s great about the prize is that it’s entirely voted for by young readers from many schools, many of whom were at the event today.”
This prize brings Lockwood’s awards success to 10 shortlistings and 4 wins. Fingers crossed for the Booktrust Best Book Award ceremony next week on 2nd July too.
For more information about WeRead see: http://www.weread.org.uk/
Huge congratulations to Jonathan (and Lockwood, Lucy and George of course)!
Jonathan Stroud is delighted to announce he will be one of three judges awarding the Costa Children’s Book Award 2014! Jonathan will adjudicate the award with his co-judges, Lorna Bradbury, reviewer at The Telegraph newspaper and Jake Hope, renowned literary consultant.
Jonathan, Lorna and Jake have a busy summer ahead reading over 100 books and then, through the autumn, they must choose their favourite by mutual agreement. The judges are asked to rate books according to “a combination of three characteristics - great writing, a good read and of broad appeal.”
The winner of the award will be announced in January 2015.
Whilst Jonathan was on tour in Germany in the autumn he recorded a filmed interview with Jugend Buch Blog – and the interview has just gone live on the link below. Also interviewed is Judith Hoersch, the actress who travelled the country with Jonathan doing readings in Lucy’s voice.
More praise and accolades for Lockwood!
An amazing review of Lockwood & Co.: The Screaming Staircase has gone up online this week by author Jo Cotterill, who says:
“I should have read this book sooner. It’s BRILLIANT… And wow. I mean, really – wow. It’s THAT good. And not at all what I was expecting.”
It always means a lot when another author writing for young people reviews a book, and this one has got everyone on Team Lockwood smiling. A big thank you to Jo.
Another glowing review can be found this week on a website called Good Books for Kids. Reviewer, Pam, comments:
“I could gush on but it comes down to this. THE SCREAMING STAIRCASE is a fabulously Good story with good characters and solid world-building. I adore this book and HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT.”
Also this week we heard that The Screaming Staircase has been included in The Best Children’s Books of the Year, 2014 Edition, in the 12 – 14 years category. The list includes 600 books and is chosen by the Children’s Book Committee at the Bank Street College of Education in New York, US. Committee members consider “literary quality and excellence of presentation as well as the potential emotional impact of the books on young readers” when making their selection.
It’s fantastic Lockwood has ticked all these literary boxes to make it in to the list!
This summer (July) sees the release of The Screaming Staircase in paperback in the UK and across the world. For the UK market, Random House has designed a new look – a striking image, left, of Lockwood himself slightly silhouetted with the moon behind him. This bold new look promises to attract a new sets of fans, and is sure to grab the eye of younger readers too.
The Screaming Staircase has been nominated for a literary award in Japan – the Sakura Medal 2015.
Started in 2006, the Sakura award is voted for by 15,000 school pupils across 20 schools all over Japan. For more information about the award see: http://www.sakuramedal.com
It's thrilling to see Lockwood shortlisted for awards across the globe – it shows the true international appeal of ghosts and Jonathan's books!
Lockwood scoops Look Hoo's Reading Award!
This weekend, Lockwood & Co.: The Screaming Staircase has won the Look Hoo's Reading inaugural book award, making it one of the top three winning books on their recommended reading list.
The final list of winners is:
Lockwood & Co.: The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud
Congratulations to all three winning authors!
Also, more award news just in: The Screaming Staircase has been shortlisted for the North Carolina Young Adult Book Award (NYCA) 2014. Voted for by students across North Carolina, the winning book will be chosen in March 2015 – good luck Lockwood!
Lockwood & Co.:The Screaming Staircase has made it on to another highly prestigious list – the 'CCBC Choices' - an annual list of the best books of the year chosen by the Cooperative Children's Book Center in Wisconsin, USA.
The complete lists, for both young readers and grown-up readers, can be seen here: http://ccbc.education.wisc.edu/CCBC_Choices_2014_citations.pdf
Lockwood US tour: a huge success!
Jonathan's four-week tour of the US is now finished and he's back at home, resting, recuperating and writing.
It was an amazing tour – filled with the most enthusiastic young readers, booksellers buzzing for Lockwood, brilliant librarians and teachers and some amazing event venues. It included the Texas Library Association annual conference and a glitzy awards do in LA. To read all about the tour and see photos from the road, see Jonathan's blog: http://www.jonathanstroud.com/blog.html
Breaking award news!
Announced today, 27th March: Lockwood & Co.: The Screaming Staircase is shortlisted for a Booktrust Best Book Award!
This is a major UK literary prize and run in conjunction with Amazon Kindle. It selects only the best books of the year to make the shortlist, so it's a complete honour to have Lockwood up for the award.
The complete shortlist for the 9-12 category is:
Lockwood & Co.: The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud
To see the shortlists for the other categories visit:
The winner will be announced at a ceremony in London in early July.
More award shortlistings
The Screaming Staircase has been shortlisted for the Look! Hoo’s Reading literary award, a brand new prize set up by the people behind the Hoo’s Kids Book Festival (which Jonathan took part in last year). The prize will choose three winning books in early May that will become the Look! Hoo’s Reading recommended reads.
Also Lockwood has been shortlisted for an Australian literary award: the Inky Awards are presented by the Centre for Youth Literature at the State Library of Victoria for local and international fiction, and Lockwood is on the list!
Well done Lockwood!
The running awards tally for Lockwood & Co.: The Screaming Staircase is an impressive and wonderful 11 awards:
L.A. Times Book Award – shortlisted
Watch this space for more award news soon.
Spring media round-up
Washington Parent magazine have given Lockwood & Co.: The Screaming Staircase a glowing review saying: "There's fast-paced action, humor and a rich sense of setting." http://www.washingtonparent.com/articles/1402/mixed-media.php
Christchurch, NZ, has chosen Jonathan as their author of the month this spring:
More awards for Lockwood!
The award news keeps coming in, and this time it's for the audio version of The Screaming Staircase. The YALSA has chosen the audio book read by Miranda Raison as an Amazing Audiobook for Young Adults 2014, saying: "…an interpretation that ranges from creepy to hilarious".
Every summer The Reading Agency in London works with thousands of libraries throughout the UK on the Summer Reading Challenge – a scheme designed to encourage kids to use their library in the holidays. For the first time this year a list has been put together recommending books for the 8000 teenage volunteer helpers of the scheme. The teenage volunteers are a vital part of the SRC scheme - they help libraries to run the project, from setting up displays, to helping children choose books; from monitoring stock levels to giving out certificates at the end of the holidays.
It's very thrilling to hear The Screaming Staircase has been selected for 'The Summer Reading Challenge 2014 Teen Collection' as it's been called.
Jonathan has worked with libraries during the Summer Reading Challenge for years, it's a project he passionately supports and he is therefore delighted to have Lockwood on the recommend teen list.
Jonathan supports local writing competition
Jonathan is once again supporting the Berkhamsted Writing Competition, in aid of the St Francis hospice trust. Jonathan worked with the competition organisers last year to encourage children and grown-ups to write short stories based on a theme, and Jonathan then judged the young people's category.
The year the theme for the competition is 'beginnings' and it was launched at Waterstone's Berkhamsted at en evening event with Jonathan, adult-category judge Catherine Alliott and literary consultant Alison Baverstock.
Amazing Award News!
Hugely exciting news this week that Lockwood & Co.:The Screaming Staircase has been shortlisted for the L.A. Times Book Award 2013! One of only two finalists in the books for 'young readers category', the winner of this prestigious award will be announced at a ceremony in LA in mid-April. Fingers and rapiers crossed everyone!
Also exciting news from the digital world – Lockwood has won a Cybils award. Set up and voted for by book bloggers, these awards reflect an appreciation for a book from the online world, and it's completely thrilling they've chosen Lockwood as a winner.
Breaking news – it has just been announced that Lockwood & Co.: The Screaming Staircase is nominated for an Edgar Award, a major literary award in the US celebrating the best mystery writing.
This year is the 205th anniversary of the birth of Edgar Allan Poe, in whose honour the awards were created. Lockwood faces some tough competition, the compete shortlist for the ‘juvenile’ category is as follows:
Strike Three, You’re Dead by Josh Berk
The winner will be announced at a ceremony in New York on May 1st 2014. We’ll keep you posted on Lockwood’s chances.
2014 has been kind to Lockwood already, with some glowing reviews:
“Fast moving, witty, and nicely creepy, the series is written for a middle grade audience, but entertaining enough for any age that appreciates a good ghost story.”
A blogger coincidentally called Jonathan has recently reviewed Lockwood: “The Screaming Staircase is one of the most fun books I've read all year. It is the sort of fantasy that doesn't get too caught up in itself…Seriously. Jonathan Stroud rocks.” http://jonathanlikesbooks.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/the-screaming-staircase-jonathan-stroud.html
Australian newspaper, The Age, gave their verdict on Lockwood: “Stroud juxtaposes laughter and screams in an effervescent fantasy cocktail.”
A reader review went live on The Guardian website at the very end of last year: “This book is brilliant. I am really looking forward to finding out more about the background of the main characters in book two. This is a book for readers who are looking for originality, humour and excitement with a spooky touch that is not too scary.
Lockwood was chosen as a highlight of 2013 by The Daily Telegraph here: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/children_sbookreviews/10544061/Best-childrens-books-of-2013.html
The Bookwitch also voted for Lockwood as one of her favourite reads of last year: