W&P's roving reporter Sarah Broadley talks to Emma Perry about the wonderfulness of books

My Book Corner is a fantastic go-to resource for many creatives but, most important of all, for readers! Can you tell us about its beginnings and the vision you had for it back when it all started?

My Book Corner started on the other side of the world! I'd just moved to Australia with my young family and finding work was proving tricky. My husband had just built a review website for a friend and suggested that I set one up on... books: "you're always reading!" I resisted it at first, then jumped in. I had no idea that book reviewing was 'a thing', had NO idea that publishers would actually send me books BEFORE THEY EVEN HIT THE SHELVES, or that I'd get to interview the Australian Children's Laureate over the phone!  And so... my journey was filled with lovely surprises!!

Over the years you've created a sound professional relationship with many publishers, agents and PR folks through My Book Corner.  How are these relationships created in the first place and how do you maintain them? 

For the most part, publishers contact My Book Corner to ask if we are interested in reviewing a particular book and contact is made via the website or social media. Over the years, I've had the privilege of getting to know many lovely publicists and they are a very hardworking bunch! It's been lovely seeing new authors and book series softly launch onto the market and then grow and grow as more people discuss their wonderfulness. 


In your opinion, what is the most interesting part about the review process? Perhaps being introduced to a new voice or receiving the tenth book in a fantastic series? Book post? So many to choose from...

Ooh, there are certain books that catch my eye, and I quite often squeal when one of those drops through the letter box. I love delving in and seeing an illustrator that I haven't come across before, or opening a book with zero expectations but then being blown away by the gorgeousness tucked inside. Watching a new series develop is lovely - The Strangeworlds Travel Agency from L. D. Lapinski has been one of my absolute favourites.


Puddling! by Emma Perry and Claire Alexander, published by Walker Books

You are a published writer and a reader. Do you think a writer reviews books in a different way to how a reader perceives the work?

Hmm that's a VERY good question. When I started out on this journey I had ZERO desire to write fiction myself. I adored writing, but had absolutely no notion that I could actually consider writing a book. It just wasn't on my radar as something that I 'could' do. I grew up in a proudly working-class household and writing books was just something that other people did - I just enjoyed reading them. As it turns out, reading so many books in wide-ranging genres over the years has turned out to be the perfect training. Books are, ultimately, about the reader and giving the reader the best experience. I think the way I review books has probably changed over the years, as I've developed an ever-growing appreciation of the hard work and craft that has gone into creating a truly great book. 


With the digital era well and truly a part of the industry, what do you consider to be the pros and cons of social media when promoting releases?

Ah, social media... approach with caution! It has so many pros but, what I love about My Book Corner, is being able to shout so loudly and proudly about the amazing books we come across, via all our social media platforms. It's important to me. It's important to my team. We know how hard it is to promote books and we are keen to help out. 


Which have been your most coveted books to review? Are there any particular author/illustrators to look out for this year?

Eeeek! There have been many exciting moments. I have been known to reply to publicity emails with FULL INTENTIONAL CAPS when asked if I'd like a review copy of a particular book - Benjamin Dean's The King is Dead and AM Dassu's Fight Back are two I can't wait to read. I gobble up EVERYTHING by Joseph Coelho, Sarah Crossan (I remember reviewing her very first one!) and Louisa Reid - I am a huge fan of their verse novels. Their work has inspired me to start writing my own. 


Know It Owl by Emma Perry and Andrea Stegmaier, published by Storyhouse Publishing

With your brilliant picture book Puddling! (wonderfully illustrated by Claire Alexander) out now, what's next for Emma Perry and of course, My Book Corner?

Puddling! - can't believe we get to have a book with an exclamation mark in the title! Yippeee!!! Puddling! has been so much fun to create. It's my debut on the Walker list and they have been a dream team to work with. Claire's characters are the most cuddliest, squishiest, joyful characters you ever did see, and I love that we've created a book that celebrates nature in an urban setting - that was so important to me. 

Next up for me is teaming up with Andrea Stegmaier for the publication of Know it Owl in July this year. Expect puns, den buildings and a strong character from a shiny new publisher with amazing ethics - Storyhouse Publishing is definitely one to watch.  

A spread from Puddling!

Photos credit: Emma Perry


Emma Perry can be found either writing books, reading them or teaching them. It's always been that way. In fact, her first two picture books were about...yep, books. Emma Perry is an author, teacher, the founder of MyBookCorner and organiser of International Book Giving Day. The book obsession shows no sign of slowing down with two new publications in 2022 - Puddling! illustrated by Claire Alexander, plus Know It Owl illustrated by Andrea Stegmaier.


Sarah Broadley lives in Edinburgh with her family and two cats. She is a member of SCBWI Scotland. Follow her on Twitter.


Natalie Yates is Writers' Minds editor for Words & Pictures. Follow her on Instagram. Contact: writers@britishscbwi.org.

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