by Ewa Jozefkowicz, Children's Author

Even before Marcus Rashford made food poverty among school children the headline news it sadly is, I’d written my book 'The Cooking Club Detectives' to help raise awareness of this problem and of the work of Magic Breakfast, having witnessed the impact of the charity’s work first hand at the school where I was a Governor.

In our school, the teachers spoke of the huge difference that the breakfasts made to the children. They were able to concentrate much better in class, they were more eager to share their ideas in lessons, and they had far more energy.

But another wonderful element of these breakfasts was the fact that they provided an opportunity for socialising across year groups. Our school’s breakfasts were sometimes themed, with a focus on music, creative writing or a whole range of other activities. I could see that it was where many new friendships were formed.

Sadly, COVID-19 has increased the impact of food insecurity for many families in the UK and across the globe. In writing 'The Cooking Club Detectives', I wanted to highlight the importance of community and to show all readers that they shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help if they need it.

The story centres on four friends who come together through their mutual love of food and join a cooking club held at their local community centre, Skipton. When the building is suddenly threatened with closure, Erin and her new friends, Tanya, Frixos, and Sam, form The Cooking Club Detectives. Their goal is to find out who is behind it all, and their search for the culprit unravels some unexpected findings.

The thing about Skipton, is that it is a lot more to the gang than just a place in which to host the club that they love so much. It’s a focal point for the entire community and a safe place where children from across year groups can come together.

As character Sam explains, “I went to daycare there when I was little so my mum and my grandma could go to work. We used the food bank in the early days, while Mum got back on her feet. Later, I went to Football Club there, which was great fun, and most importantly it was free - otherwise I would have never been able to go.

I hope that children, parents and teachers enjoy reading ‘The Cooking Club Detectives’ just as much as I enjoyed writing it.

'The Cooking Club Detectives' is out now. You can buy it here or in your local bookshop. A portion of the proceeds from the book will support the work of Magic Breakfast.