On this shortlist:
Born in Kent, Katherine spent time in Zimbabwe, where her father was a diplomat. She later moved to Brussels, then London. She studied at Oxford and developed an interest in roof-top climbing. Her first book, The Girl Savage, was published in 2011 and had influences from Zimbabwe in it. Her second novel, Rooftoppers, won the Waterstones children’s book prize in 2014 and also the Blue Peter award. The Explorer is her fourth novel. It is based in the Amazon Jungle where Katherine fell in love with the beauty of the place. She wanted children to realise that they can be explorers anywhere by paying attention to their world. She explains that the book can be summed up by one line spoken at the end of the novel “You are right to be afraid, be brave anyway”.
From his seat in the tiny aeroplane, Fred watches as the mysteries of the Amazon jungle pass by below him. He has always dreamed of becoming an explorer, of making history and of reading his name amongst the lists of great discoveries. If only he could land and look about him. As the plane crashes into the canopy, Fred is suddenly left without a choice. He and the three other children may be alive, but the jungle is a vast, untamed place. With no hope of rescue, the chance of getting home feels impossibly small. Except, it seems, someone has been there before them.
Katherine claims to start every day with a cartwheel as “Reading is almost exactly the same as cartwheeling; it turns the world upside down and leaves you breathless”.
She is now a full-time writer and a Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford, where she studies Renaissance literature and climbs old buildings at night.
Follow Katherine on Twitter: @kdbrundell
Johnny from Westgate Primary:
Lucy from Westgate Primary School:
Farhanah from Oakwood Primary Academy: