Course Leader Spotlight: Lesley Parr

17th April 2024
4 min read
17th April 2024

Author Lesley Parr is our course leader for Writing Your Children's Book, a six-week online course. Get to know Lesley - and her books - below!

Lesley Parr

A former primary school teacher from a working-class background, Lesley is passionate about seeing more working-class voices in fiction for children. She graduated from the acclaimed MA in Writing for Young People at Bath Spa University with a distinction, and shares her time between writing stories and tutoring adults. 

Lesley has published three middle grade books, her fourth, Fallout, publishing July 2024. Read on to find out about the worlds she's created.

The Valley of Lost Secrets

The Valley of Lost Secrets

September 1939.

When Jimmy is evacuated to a small village in Wales, it couldn't be more different from London. Green, quiet and full of strangers, he instantly feels out of place.

But then he finds a skull hidden in a tree, and suddenly the valley is more frightening than the war. Who can Jimmy trust? His brother is too little; his best friend has changed.

Finding an ally in someone he never expects, they set out together to uncover the secrets that lie with the skull. What they discover will change Jimmy – and the village – forever.

When The War Came Home

When the War Came Home

The First World War has ended, but it hasn't gone away. When Natty has to move to a new village, she meets two young soldiers who are still battling the effects of war and shellshock.

Her cousin Huw can't forget the terrible things he's seen, but another young soldier Johnny doesn't even remember who he is. Natty wishes she could get through to Huw and is desperate to help Johnny recover his memories but what can she do that the nurses and doctors haven't already tried?

Meanwhile Natty is fighting her own battles - protesting to get the local authority to help the schoolchildren who can't afford a midday meal. As she gets embroiled in the cause, and in trying to help the young soldiers, she starts to unravel a mystery. Natty knows that - just as Jonny and Huw did - she must fight for what she believes in, and she learns that some things should never be forgotten…

Where The River Takes Us

Where the River Takes Us

Jason lives with his big brother, Richie, trying their best to make ends meet so they can stay together. They've got supportive neighbours and some great friends, but there's always the threat that someone will think they can't manage on their own since their parents died. It's February 1974 and working-class families have been hit hard by the three-day week. The reduced power usage means less work, and less money to get by on. Richie is doing his best, but to make enough money, he's been doing favours for the wrong people.

An urban legend about a beast in the valleys catches Jason's eye in the local paper. A wild cat is said to roam the forest, far up the river from their bridge. A reward is offered for proof of The Beast's existence. Jason's friends are desperate to help him, and they convince him that this is the answer to his and Richie's money problems.

And so a quest begins. Four best friends soon find themselves on a journey that will change each of them … forever.



Marcus has one brother in a youth offender centre and the other is working with their dad on plans for their next theft. Everyone assumes Marcus will follow in their footsteps, but he has other ideas, different hopes.

When a mysterious accident lands a man in hospital, it confirms what everyone in their community expects and Marcus gets the blame. He feels trapped. Only new girl Emma - with her peace protest banners and political badges - questions this story. Can they work together to clear his name - and help Marcus become the person he really wants to be?

Read this interview with Lesley on