Meet the Pandora Books Experts

Kerry, Marcia, Sarah and Charlie, our Pandora Books Collections Team, have one of the most enviable jobs in publishing! In order to choose the best, most appropriate books for each age and stage in children’s reading journeys they read every book all the way through. They spend 12 months searching for books for each collection that are skilfully written, entertaining to read, at the right text level and have content that sits comfortably in the designated year group. Driven by a personal knowledge of how precious a school’s budget is, the team work hard to ensure all collections are worth every penny, make a real difference to your school by hitting all your curriculum needs and fully engage a wide range of pupils.

With a combined 50 years’ experience working in schools, education and children’s book publishing the Pandora Book Collections Team know their stuff. They are passionate about children’s reading, and driven by the knowledge that children who read for pleasure do better in life, whatever their social background. You can feel confident that our books are passionately selected by a team who feel a sense of responsibility for your pupils' progress and their pleasure in reading.

Kerry - Senior Book Collections Manager


Kerry — Senior Book Collections Manager

Experience

Teaching reading and children’s books was a passion I had and once I left the classroom, I decided to follow this interest. Fifteen years later I have worked with two of the biggest publishers and have met the most passionate children’s booksellers, authors, literacy leaders, teachers, librarians and kids. Nearly ten years at Pandora Books as Book Collections Manager and I’m blessed to work with a team of inspiring, creative colleagues who love buying and banding the best children’s books and putting them into young readers’ hands.

Favourite book?

I adore all Elephant and Piggie books by Mo Willems. My daughter used to fall over laughing when we shared these books at bedtime, and, although not hugely conducive to sleep, these books brought home the pure magic of children’s books.

What do you like most about your job?

I like to hear from teachers who have received a collection of books that the children devour and rave about. It is the reminder that we are doing the right thing here. Plus talking to my colleagues about the books they are reading — the absolute essence of our job and what makes it unique. 

Fun Fact

I once travelled across London to fetch a giant chocolate cake for Michael Morpurgo to congratulate him on becoming Children’s Laureate. Later Michael and I were admiring it and I accidentally stuck my thumb in. Luckily he made me feel better by sticking his thumb in too and we enjoyed the chocolate. Nobody noticed…

Marcia - Book Collections Manager


Marcia — Book Collections Manager

Experience

Before landing this cracking job I was a Philosophy Graduate turned Early Years Practitioner and along the way I spent years as a volunteer for Leeds Museum Service and working as a Special Needs Assistant in different primary schools for Leeds City Council. Education has been a life-long passion and was the subject of my dissertation. I have been a school governor and have set up a variety of voluntary projects in schools. Every year I read and assess the text level and interest age of well over 500 brand new books and make sure I am up-to-date in current primary teaching practise.

Favourite Book

It is too hard to choose; I have a huge nostalgic fondness for The Little World of Don Camillo by Giovannino Guareschi but was stunned by The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley. For my favourite children’s book The Arrival by Shaun Tan, A Face Like Glass by Frances Hardinge and Sputniks Guide to Life on Earth by Frank Cottrel-Boyce have to go head to head.

What do you like most about your job?

My enthusiastic colleagues, but getting to read books months before they are published comes a close second. One day my job might be to search for brilliant KS2 books on mountains or super-confident fiction books that are just right for readers aged 10, and I could not be luckier.

Fun Fact

I eat my breakfast outside every day, whatever the weather.

I once came face to face with a bald, stuffed anteater. I took me a while to work out what it was.

Sarah - Book Collections Developer


Sarah — Book Collections Developer

Experience

After my bachelor’s degree in English Literature, I worked as a student ambassador, spending time with kids of all ages to encourage them to consider higher education while leading a double life as a librarian! I then interned at three publishing houses but cut my final one short to start this job. I’ve now worked here over 6 years as a buyer and product developer and in that time I’ve met with an abundance of teachers, librarians and children to discuss their literacy needs. I’ve read well over a thousand books and created hundreds of collections for schools to enjoy.

Favourite Book

This changes all the time but currently it’s Notes on a Nervous Planet by Matt Haig.

What do you like most about your job?

Free books are definitely a major perk! Meeting authors is pretty cool too but my favourite part has to be recommending amazing books that, potentially, would never have been on a student’s reading radar.

Fun Fact

I recently rescued two boxer puppies from Budapest and own two giant, crazy horses.

Member of Mensa with an IQ in the top 1%.

Charlie - Book Collections Assistant


Charlie — Book Collections Assistant and Library Manager

Experience

When I started working for Pandora books back in 2007 I had no idea I would become part of the books collections team. Being an avid reader from a young age I was thrilled to be surrounded by such an array of children’s publishing. As Library Manager I look after all our publisher schedules and get a sneak peek at what genres are going to be big before they are published. Working alongside teachers and publishers over the last 12 years has really helped to give me the inside knowledge on what makes a fantastic read. I have two sons who have completely different reading abilities which has been most helpful when finding books for confident and emerging readers.

What do you like most about your job?

No two days are the same in the Pandora Book Collections office. Meeting publishers, going into schools, being sent new manuscripts and looking after our fantastic library are definitely a few of the perks to the job. Raising thousands of pounds from holding children’s charity events definitely has to be the most rewarding part of this job though.

Favourite Book

One of our all time favourites has to be Tabby McTat by Julia Donaldson. We read this book so many times both my boys knew it off by heart and the rhyming text and message behind this title are really beautiful.

Fun Fact

Fun or just plain weird? I really love to be scared… whether it’s going on ghost hunts or riding the world’s fastest zip wire.