Meet the experts

Find out more about our independent panel of experts who selected the titles that appear in the All publishers tab. They include Teresa Cremin (Professor of Education, Open University) and David Reedy (Principal Adviser for Primary Schools for Barking and Dagenham Local Authority) who are past and current Presidents of the United Kingdom Literacy Association, as well as Nikki Gamble, Founder and Director of Write Away and Just Imagine. Our experts also include children’s librarians, class teachers and Literacy consultants. They all have one thing in common – a passion for reading.

Darren Matthews

Assistant Head Teacher at Pyrgo Priory Primary School, Romford

Darren has been working in schools as a class teacher and literacy subject leader for 12 years. He is currently the assistant head teacher at a primary school in the London Borough of Havering. Throughout this, he has been a passionate endorser of the importance of teachers reading aloud to children, and the promotion of reading for pleasure. He also works closely with CLPE on their Power of Reading programme which aims to put quality children’s literature at the heart of children’s learning.

Why did you get involved in Oxford BookMatch? My experience teaching and leading literacy in primary schools has given me the opportunity to see the huge impact that a high quality piece of literature can have on children's engagement and excitement for reading, writing and learning. Teachers have a fantastic opportunity to introduce their children to new experiences, and hopefully Oxford BookMatch will point them in the direction of authors and books that they might have otherwise missed.

Esther Green

Year 6 teacher and English Subject Leader, Danesholme Junior School, Corby

Esther is a Year 6 teacher at a large Junior school in Northamptonshire. She is the English Subject Leader and as such is always trying to find or create innovative ways to encourage reluctant readers. Esther enjoys introducing children to new and exciting authors. She also has a passion for children’s literature, especially visual texts and has studied for an MA in Children’s Literature at the University of Roehampton.

As a primary school teacher, Esther knows how important it is to be able to recommend books and authors to young people.

Why did you get involved in Oxford BookMatch? It has enabled me to share my interest and knowledge with others in a wonderfully creative way. I think it is perfect for busy teachers who need ideas and recommendations at their fingertips.

Hannah Thomson

Schools Library Service Advisor, Warwickshire

Hannah is currently working as an Advisor for the Schools Library Service in Warwickshire. This is a broad role and within it she helps to organise regional book awards, facilitate regional training events and works alongside staff, in both primary and secondary schools, to develop their libraries and curriculum resources. Her previous role as a secondary school librarian helped her to cement a vision about what a library can be, underpinned by the promotion of a love of literature and stimulating reading for pleasure.

Hannah has also managed a busy children’s department at Waterstones, which allowed her to gain a real knowledge of what, how and why children read.

Over the past two years, Hannah has been using her expertise as a judge for one of the country's most prestigious awards, the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Book Awards. She also works as a freelance children's illustrator and this has fed into her work with young people, helping to create calm and dynamic learning environments for all.

Why did you get involved in Oxford BookMatch? I hope to use my experience in a way that will encourage teachers to share some fantastic books and teaching ideas with their classes.

Simon Isherwood

Head Teacher, Bladon Church of England Primary School, Bladon

Simon is currently the head teacher of Bladon Church of England Primary School which is in the top 25 schools in the country when analysing KS2 Reading and Writing standards. He worked in about 15 schools, including several Special Schools, during his teacher training and was part of the senior management team at St John the Evangelist Primary School (Carterton) which was a highly successful school, achieving the NACE gifted and talented award.

In 2008 Simon took on a role within the Local Authority as a Lead Primary Practitioner, working in schools supporting all areas of the curriculum, including Raising Standards in Writing and Reading. He also worked as an ISP consultant (Improving Schools Programme), specifically working in schools who were not achieving a nationalised Floor Target in Maths and English. He continues to teach Literacy and is the Literacy Co-ordinator for his school. Simon is particularly keen to promote the use of picture and short fiction books within schools.

Why did you get involved in Oxford BookMatch? I was very keen to share with other teachers some of the texts that have brought alive my own Literacy teaching.

Kate Keaveny

Year 1 and 2 teacher and SENCo, Cossington Primary School, Leicestershire

Kate teaches in Year 1 and 2 at a small village primary school, and is also the SENCo with a specialism in dyslexia, having spent three years working on an MA in assessing and reporting on pupils with literacy difficulties. As a member of UKLA, Kate has been a teacher judge for the UKLA Book Awards for 2012 and 2013, judging all age groups from 3 to 16. Kate is also an eTwinning ambassador for the British Council, through which she has worked in partnership with other European countries on book projects in which the children in school have shared book-related activities with the partner countries.

Why did you get involved in Oxford BookMatch? I am a strong believer in reading for pleasure and believe that teachers are crucial to encouraging a love of reading in children. The recommendations on Oxford BookMatch will help teachers find good quality books to use for a range of purposes in school.