Online book clubs to be delivered to 30,000 students

Social mobility charity, Speakers for Schools, is partnering with Penguin Random House UK Children’s to offer a series of online book clubs throughout the academic year with the aim of reaching 30,000 students across 3000 state schools.

The National Teen Book Club (NTBC) will offer six Penguin young adult books and a space where students from state schools and colleges can discuss book’s themes.

Students will also be able to meet experts from relevant industries and learn more about the publishing industry.

The diverse range of books and speakers will present possible career options to young people, for example in writing and publishing.

The aim of of the NTBC is to encourage young people to read beyond the curriculum and develop a lifelong enjoyment of reading.

This with the associated benefits of regular reading for exam success, wellbeing, empathy and future earning potential.

Ruth Knowles, publishing director at Penguin Random House UK Children’s said:  “At Penguin we publish books for everyone because a book can change anyone so we are delighted to partner with the National Teen Book Club to introduce a fantastic and diverse range of Penguin YA books and authors to a new audience of young people. 

“Not only do these books offer readers the chance to immerse themselves in trending genres from fantasy and sci-fi to twisty whodunnits, but they also touch on themes important to young people today including mental health, sexuality, race and social media. 

“The book club gives participants the chance to read and discuss a book with their peers in small groups, as well as hear about career possibilities stemming from reading through Q&A’s and workshops with publishing experts. 

“We’re excited to reach new audiences in this way and further inspire a lifelong love of reading.”

The book line-up includes: 

  • The Upper World by Femi Fadugba, which is soon to be a Netflix film starring and produced by Daniel Kaluuya
  • One Of Us Is Lying by New York Times bestselling author Karen M. McManus which was adapted for Netflix earlier this year 
  • Skin of the Sea, Natasha Bowen’s 2021 debut which has been shortlisted for the YA Book Prize 2022.
  • Three more Penguin YA books, yet to be announced

Influential speakers will take part in the programme, such as:

  • Joseph Coelho, the Children’s Laureate
  • Dr Nira Chamberlain OBE, a mathematician
  • Rene Germain, of Black and Great: The Essential Workplace Toolkit

Penguin Random House Children’s is also offering participants discounts on all of the books from the book club.

These can be purchased as an e-Book for 99p, in audio for £1.99 or with 50% off for hard copies for each school or college.

The theme of this year’s books is mental health and wellbeing. 

Each book presents an opportunity to explore these topics and its links to the PSHE curriculum via discussion of:

 – Self-concept

– Mental health

– Emotional wellbeing

– Positive relationships

– Bullying


– Social influences

– Impact of social media

Savitri Patel, head of enrichment at Speakers for Schools, said: “The aim of the National Teen Book Club is to broaden the horizons and raise the aspirations of young people by helping them engage with the increasingly diverse and relatable representation to be found in young adult books. 

“We provide them a place to exchange ideas and socialise while developing literacy skills and confidence. 

“I am delighted to have the support of Penguin Random House Children’s, who have partnered with us for the next stage of this enrichment programme in order to help demystify and increase access to the publishing industry, aiding young people’s current learning and standing them in good stead for the future.”

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