Thrilling seaside mystery for Young City Reads 2020

Year five children from St Bartholomew’s primary school will be listening to a special reading from ‘Malamander’ at Jubilee Library as part of the launch of Young City Reads 2020. 

Malamander is this year’s book for the reading project aiming to encourage children and young people to read for pleasure. The reading will be led by two library staff dressed as characters from the book.

The book is the creation of award-winning children’s author and illustrator Thomas Taylor, known for his distinctive cover artwork on J.K. Rowling’s first novel, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. 

Young City Reads

Established in 2013, Young City Reads is the idea of Brighton-based award winning literary organisation Collected Works CIC

Collected Works and Brighton Festival select one book for children across Brighton & Hove, Sussex and beyond to read, explore and discuss.

Young City Reads is launched to mark World Book Day on 5 March and culminates in a special live event with the author as part of Brighton Festival’s Children and Young People’s Literature programme in May.

Last year, over 3,000 pupils from schools across Sussex took part, sharing Onjali Q Raúf’s book, ‘The Boy at the Back of the Class’ and taking part in free weekly activities sent to teachers for their classes. 


Malamander is set in Eerie-on-Sea, a town where strange stories seem to wash up on the shore. 

The story follows a daring duo, Herbert Lemon, Lost and Founder at the Grand Nautilus Hotel, and Violet Parma, a young girl searching for her parents, as they team up to solve the mystery of a legendary sea-monster. 

Author Thomas Taylor is based in Bexhill-on-Sea, and has written and illustrated several picture books and young novels including the Daniel Dyer series and Scarlett Hart for Marcus Sedgwick.

Thomas said: “I’ve always lived near the sea and seaside towns, but it was only when I finally came to live in one that I discovered the secrets of coastal life that inspired my book Malamander. 

“I’m thrilled to participate in Young City Reads 2020 as it seems so appropriate to have children who live and go to school near the coast read my book. 

“I hope it captures their imagination to create their own stories and encourages a life-long love of reading.”  

Inspiring children to fall in love with reading…

Sarah Hutchings, Director of Young City Reads said: “We are so excited to share this sensational seaside adventure with young readers across Sussex. 

“Herbert Lemon and Violet Parma are a spirited, unforgettable double act and this timeless tale is just the thing to inspire children to fall in love with reading. 

“It’s really easy for primary schools to get involved. Teachers can register on the Young City Reads website for free and we’ll send them weekly literary resources and fun activities for their classes to take part.”

Andrew Comben, Chief Executive of Brighton Dome & Brighton Festival added: “We’re delighted to have Young City Reads take part in Brighton Festival’s young literature events. 

“Encouraging children to enjoy books and discover new ideas together improves their literacy in a fun and creative way. 

“We’re sure Malamander will be a big hit with children across the county and encourage primary schools to sign up and take part for this big read event.”

For more information, visit the Young City Reads website.

Related news