With the launch of One Stop Social Membership in early October, we’ve been working hard to build partnerships and relationships with services and organisations within social work who will actively help us support our social work community in the best way possible. Jessica Kingsley Publishers (JKP) sought us out with a desire to be involved in our membership – showing us a real drive to help social workers – and now offer One Stop Social Members 20% off all their books and e-books. Thanks to this support of our membership, we wanted to get to know the team a bit better at JKP and show our extended community the values and history that influences the books and resources JKP provide to the sector. We got chatting to Steve Jones, the Senior Commissioning Editor, and here’s what we found out:
“What is the core ethos of JKP?”
JKP’s long-standing mission statement has always been to ‘publish books that make a difference’, whether that’s to helping professionals, or to the individuals, families and communities they support.
As part of our 30th anniversary celebrations last year, I embarked upon the intimidating task of compiling a book called 30 Years of Social Change; to document how things have changed in our subject areas over the period. Spending time talking with long-standing authors and revisiting our backlist really drove home to me the clear and unswerving mission of ‘making a difference’ which has underpinned all our publishing.
“What were the values instilled in the company by Jessica Kingsley?”
Jessica Kingsley founded the company in 1987, and her independent and pioneering spirit have shaped its publishing throughout: always looking to improve on what has gone before, always growing, and always looking to break new ground. This might be a new subject, or innovative forms of publishing or writing. Her dedication to social change and making a difference, and a willingness to take a risk to achieve that, has driven JKP to do some really interesting and innovative publishing. Jessica retired this year, but her ethos and vision strongly remains in place.
“What are your main goals at JKP in regards to supporting the social work community?”
In common with all the professionals we publish for, JKP’s aim is to publish books for social workers that will help them to further develop their understanding and practice. Social work is a central part of our publishing and identity – way back in 1987, one of JKP’s first ever books was a social work title by Professor Joyce Lishman. It continues to be a vital part of the company today.
“How does JKP hope to impact the lives of practitioners?”
The diversity of our publishing on social work reflects the rich diversity of social work. So, while browsing JKP’s catalogue you’ll find essential handbooks like Jan Horwath and Dendy Platt’s The Child’s World to help you to develop your knowledge, skills an understanding; you’ll find activity books like Conversation Starters for Direct Work with Children and Young People by Audrey Tait and Becky Dunn which offers lots of creative and easy to use ideas for practice; and you’ll also find thought-provoking books, like Sara Ryan’s Justice for Laughing Boy: Connor Sparrowhawk – A Death by Indifference; a book that relates to the values and ethics that lie at the heart of social work in a very direct and human way.
Sara Ryan’s book ties in with another important part of our publishing, which is advocacy – to empower marginalised or disenfranchised people with a voice to define themselves and to create their own body of literature. This is perhaps most obvious in relation to the subject of autism, where we have published memoirs, collections and professional handbooks written by people with autism to help develop professionals’ understanding. In a similar way, we’ve published authors with lived experience of dementia (Christine Bryden’s Dancing with Dementia), mental health issues (Out of the Madhouse by Michael and Iain Maitland) and foster and residential care (Paolo Hewitt’s But We All Shine On).
“How do you select which different areas within social work you publish books about?”
To publish for any community or group – whether it be social workers, families living with autism, adoptive parents or otherwise, you need to listen. You need to talk to people, stay in touch with current debates, know about challenges of the job and also to have a sense of emerging needs or areas of funding and interest. I speak with social workers and social work lecturers on their concerns, and find Twitter and Facebook are also useful ways to keep abreast of current conversations.
“What benefit do you think “The Child’s World, Third Edition” will bring to social workers?”
It’s one of those books that we’re extremely proud to publish. The Child’s World is a touchstone text which provides a really comprehensive account of everything you need to consider when working with children and their families, and to inform an assessment of their needs. First year undergraduates love the fact that it is clear and concise, and tell us they continue to use and refer to it throughout their degree. There’s also sufficient depth and complexity for experienced workers – it really is one of those ‘must have’ books for any child and family social worker’s bookshelf.
Jan Horwath has been joined by Dendy Platt in editing this latest edition, and they have done an incredible job – it has been a root and branch rewrite. Almost all the chapters have been newly commissioned, and we have leading contributors in the field providing an account of the core policy, knowledge and theory relevant to social workers today. It links theory, research and legislation to practice, with case examples, tools and guidance. Examples of new chapters added since the last edition include children’s neurological development, assessing parental capacity to change and early help assessments.
“How do you hope to see JKP expand in the coming years, and how will this benefit the social work community?”
Well we’re as busy and excited about our new publishing as ever! My colleague Andrew James has been pioneering a really exciting new list of publications around gender diversity, and in particular publishing to help support the trans community – from children’s books and graphic novels through to resources for professional and educational practice, introductory guides, memoirs and books for parents, including the bestselling titles To My Trans Sisters and the Trans Teen Survival Guide, and the award-winning Queer Sex.
Other highlights for 2019 include a brand-new series of full-colour therapeutic activity books by Dr Karen Treisman which are designed to help children with social or emotional challenges. The first in the series is called Neon the Ninja: Activity Book for Children who Struggle with Sleep and Nightmares.
In the longer term, we’ll continue to listen, and hopefully continue to publish books and resources that help social workers to carry out the important work that you do!