Social work books – recommended reading list

as experienced social workers and practice educators, we’ve been asked by a number of student social workers to compile a list of recommended social work books.

JKP: Publishers on A Mission.

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_single_image image=”3600″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”3/4″][vc_column_text]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:[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]”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.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]”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.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]”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.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]”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).[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]”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.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]”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.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”3607″ img_size=”full” alignment=”center” title=”JKP”][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_message icon_fontawesome=”fa fa-comments”]My favourite piece of feedback from a reviewer so far is from Professor Nick Frost who wrote “If there is a ‘Highway Code’ for children’s social work then this book is it.” – ‘nuff said! [/vc_message][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]”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![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_cta h2=”Enjoy JKP with One Stop Social Membership” txt_align=”center” add_button=”bottom” btn_title=”Sign up for One Stop Social Membership” btn_color=”warning” btn_align=”center” btn_link=”|||”]We’ve teamed up with Jessica Kingsley Publishers (as well as lots of other social work services) to support our social work community more with One Stop Social Membership. All Members get 20% off all books and e-books from JKP, as well as 90% discounted bespoke social work insurance packages, free e-journals and access to our rewards platform. There’s also a monthly lottery for cash prizes of £200 & £100, a benevolent fund and support from fellow social workers for your practice through out Members Forum…to name just a few of the benefits of this social work membership!

It’s our way of rewarding you as a practitioner and as a person – so register today and start benefiting![/vc_cta][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Neil Thompson Celebrates 25 Years!

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]One Stop Social have worked closely with Neil Thompson to help establish our social work membership (launched last month!) and we love recognising how he helps support our social work community. Now, as he celebrates 25 years with Macmillan International Higher Education, we’re so proud to promote that they are offering 25% off all his titles![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Yes, you read that right – 25% off ALL Neil Thompson books with Macmillan International Higher Education. This discount can be applied at the checkout with the promotional code: THOMPSON25. It’s a great chance to discover new knowledge and insight that Neil has to offer the social work community, without breaking the bank![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Neil’s experience within social work makes him a valuable voice, and his contribution to the sector through his writing and educating makes him someone One Stop Social loves to collaborate with in any way we can. Student social workers and qualified practitioners can learn a lot from his writing and online learning resources – making the offer of 25% off everything not only generous, but actually useful. Whether you’re after a guide to reflective practice like “The Critically Reflective Practitioner”, which was co-authored with Sue Thompson; or a more specific investigation of a particular ethical issue within social work, for example “Anti-Discriminatory Practice” or “Social Problems and Social Justice” – no matter the interest, Neil and his library will be here to help![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]If you’re interested in consistent discounts on books from Neil Thompson then make sure to register for One Stop Social Membership. Among a whole range of other benefits (including access to a rewards platform for holidays, utilities and more; and 90% off bespoke social work insurance packages) you can enjoy 10% off all books, e-books and resources by Neil Thompson available through Palgrave, Russell House and Routledge.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_btn title=”Check out all his titles here!” color=”warning” align=”center” link=”|||”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Learn From Neil Thompson

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]“Writer. Educator. Adviser.” These are what Neil Thompson identifies and promotes as the key pillars of his professional identity, and with over 25 years of published works under his belt as well as an incredibly respectable reputation in social work, he can back up those claims. It’s clear this is someone you want on your team, guiding you in the right direction. Now, Neil is turning his attention to e-books and manuals to help further support social workers in new ways.

As one of the founding partners of One Stop Social Membership, we wanted to find out more about Neil Thompson and what exciting projects he’s working on.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_text_separator title=”“For those who may be unfamiliar, what’s your background in social work?””][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]I started off in residential child care, working at an assessment centre. After three years I was seconded to undertake my social work training at Liverpool University. After several years as a social worker and two periods of secondment as a social work tutor. I became a team manager. Next came a stint as a training officer before entering the academic world. 21 years ago I branched out to become an independent writer, educator and adviser and I have never looked back. I tell the story of my career more fully in my e-book, A Career in Social Work.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_text_separator title=”“How does the Social Worker’s Practice Manual support the development of students and qualified social workers?””][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]I regularly meet social workers (on training courses I run, for example) who tell me that they found my books useful when they were a student. I usually thank them for the compliment and then ask them: But, what about finding them useful as a practitioner? It bothers me that so often people stop reading when they qualify; they tend to see books as being for students, rather than important elements of our professional knowledge base. So, with this in mind, what I decided to do was to write a practice manual that encourages the people reading it to think in terms of how the ideas being discussed can not just be useful for quoting in a student essay, but can actually make a positive difference to the quality of our practice – and therefore to the quality of life of the people we serve.

The manual is divided into 30 sections and each one covers an important aspect of practice, outlining some key ideas and offering a perspective on how they can be used in actual practice.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_text_separator title=”“Why was it important for you to make sure the Social Worker’s Practice Manual was an ‘unconventional’ textbook?””][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]I don’t like to think of it as a textbook at all, as that implies that it is geared towards a particular module on a course and will be used primarily as a means of writing essays. What this manual is all about is helping people realise that our professional knowledge base should be the foundation of our practice, not just something that gets focused on in university and then gets forgotten about. I do a lot of expert witness work these days in legal proceedings, and what I often find is that cases have gone wrong because the social work staff involved did not use their knowledge base. For example, I recently dealt with a case where a child had clearly been traumatised, but the two social workers involved seemed oblivious to this. It was actually a teacher that raised the issue of the potential impact of trauma – but, even then, neither social worker picked up on the issue. So, in a very real sense, the manual is about knowledge for use in practice, not just knowledge for use in essays. [/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_text_separator title=”“Tell us a bit more about your new e-learning course: So you want to be a social worker””][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]In my training and consultancy work and at conferences I speak at I regularly come across people who are working in the social care sector, but who are not qualified social workers. So, a question I get asked very frequently is: What is involved in becoming a social worker? I found myself giving the same answer over and over again, so I decided to make that answer more widely available, partly so that I did not have to keep repeating myself and partly so that people I didn’t meet could know the answer too. Because I have been involved in developing a range of e-learning courses, it was quite easy for me to create a course around the process of becoming a social worker. And, that’s what I did. It should prove very helpful for anyone interested in pursuing a career in social work by giving them a clear picture of some of the DOs and DON’Ts involved.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_text_separator title=”“Why do you think e-learning courses like: ‘So you want to be a social worker’ are becoming more and more popular?””][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]E-learning offers many advantages, but probably the two main ones are flexibility and cost-effectiveness. An e-learning course means that you can do it where and when you like, whatever suits you and your circumstances. You are not limited to attending a particular course on a particular day at a particular venue. And, in terms of cost-effectiveness, it can save on travel, venue and refreshment costs and, of course, travel time.

But, interestingly, what is happening more and more is that people are using ‘blended’ learning, which means combining elements of e-learning with face-to-face training. For example, a group of staff may be asked to do an online course on, say, risk assessment and management by a certain date and then come together for a discussion about it on a particular day for a couple of hours. That way you get the best of both worlds. You get the expert input without having to pay the expert’s daily fee and expenses, but you also get the opportunity for discussion, to ask questions and so on. It can work really well.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_text_separator title=”“Considering your experience, what’s the one piece of advice you can offer to social workers who are just starting out?” “][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]That’s an easy one to answer. What it comes down to is: Don’t lose focus! Time and again I have come across people who have lost focus on what they are trying to achieve with a particular individual or family – they have ‘lost the plot’ – and got bogged down in the complexities, losing sight of why they are there. At other times, I have come across social workers who have lost sight of their values. They get bogged down in bureaucracy and forget that they are professionals governed by a key set of values. And, as I was suggesting before, some people lose sight of their knowledge base; it is as if they have forgotten that they were taught lots of important things for a reason – and that reason was not to pass an essay, it was to be an effective social worker trying to make a positive difference to some of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged members of our communities. So, that’s it in a nutshell: Stay focused![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]Dr Neil Thompson has endless nuggets of widsom but encouraging social workers to stay focused is by far our favourite. Studying towards a qualification or working in social work can be a tough journey, but by not losing focus, you can find your way to incredibly worthwhile and rewarding work. If you’re interested in learning more from Neil, then make sure to check out One Stop Social Membership where Members get 10% off his books, as well as a whole range of other benefits![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_btn title=”Learn About One Stop Social Membership” color=”warning” align=”center” link=”|||”][/vc_column][/vc_row]