The Team

Rob McCann

Managing Director

Rob was a once reluctant reader, however he found a love of books after discovering Roald Dahl and the Goosebumps series of books. He loves sharing his love of books with his own children as well as his class. Currently an Assistant Headteacher, he has been teaching for 14 years and his last teaching position involved co-ordinating English across two schools. He firmly believes in Reading for Pleasure and how books can be transformative.

Krystal McCann

Head of Marketing

Krystal has been a teacher for over 14 years in Primary Schools in Lincolnshire. Her childhood love for reading has influenced her passion and drive for inspiring children to read. She favours novels with spooky, dystopian or witchcraft themes. Her favourite authors are: Margaret Atwood, Finbar Hawkins and Matt Haig.

Onjali Rauf


Onjali Q. Raúf is an award winning and best selling children’s author and activist. Her books are especially noteworthy for helping the children of today understand and deal with a range of issues in a narrative that they can relate to in an engaging way. Her debut book, The Boy at the Back of the Class, was met with critical acclaim whose awards include the 2019 Blue Peter Book Award and Waterstones Children’s Book Prize. She has supported VIP Reading from the very beginning and is a very active patron of the company.

Rachel Sanson

VIP Reading Illustrator from 2022 – current

Rachel Sanson is an illustrator of children’s books and is currently based in Bristol, UK. Originally from a tiny town in the North of England, she graduated from the University of Lincoln with a degree in illustration after 3 years in a little studio perched on the top of a very steep hill. Rachel loves to work on children’s fiction and enjoys illustrating weird and wonderful characters and the worlds they live in. Rachel’s past work includes the Topsea middle grade novel series and the Tails from History educational book series. From this, A Sea Otter to the Rescue received the Gold Standard Selection Award from the Junior Library Guild in 2019. Rachel’s first picture book, The Lady of the Library was published in 2021 by Sleeping Bear Press.

Jackie Graves

Head of Equality & Diversity

Jackie has been a teacher for 20yrs. She is currently a Deputy Headteacher and has been an English leader, SENCO and LA Consultant for KS1/whole school English. She has always been an avid reader and is currently promoting Reading for Pleasure across her school.

Kevin Cobane

Head of MG/YA Fiction

Kevin has been a Teacher for 23 years in Primary Schools across the West Midlands. During his career he has been Literacy Co-ordinator, Assistant Headteacher and Deputy Headteacher. He has also worked as a Senior Lecturer in Primary Education at Birmingham City University. He currently works in a Secondary School with Students in Years 7, 8 and 9 to develop their Literacy and Numeracy skills. He is an avid reader, a massive fan of Philip Pullman and enjoys sharing his love of books with his classes and colleagues. He is passionate about the importance of Reading for Pleasure and exploring how it can be promoted in Schools and Communities.

Chris White

Head of VIP Doodles

Chris White is a writer. Illustrator and performance poet. He has sold thousands of books world-wide due to constant appearances at festivals, schools and libraries across the globe. He has had many poetry and story books published since his first, ‘Bitey the Veggie Vampire’, in 2000. As well as scribbling pictures to accompany his own work, Chris illustrates for other authors too., including Brian Moses, Joshua Seigal and Neal Zetter. His latest book is ‘The A to Z of Completely Made Up Dinosaurs.’ Chris has featured at many literary festivals , including The Edinburgh Fringe, The Edinburgh Book Festival, The Doha Book Festival and The Cheltenham Book Festival. Chris has inspired countless children to be creative and write their own stories, poems and pick up a pencil and start scribbling their own illustrations. Chris has had his poems and pictures broadcast on BBC TV and radio, and worked for the British government and the British Council on various projects.

Ben Morgan

4+ Book Box Resource Writer

Ben Morgan has been teaching for over 8 years across KS1 and now in EYFS. He has always had a passion for reading, however he got into reading kid lit after discovering Brightstorm by Vashti Hardy. He may not be the quickest reader, but you can certainly always find him reading a book!

Tracy Wallis

VIP Review Team

Tracy Wallis is an experienced primary school teacher who now works in Initial Teacher Education. Having been an avid reader since childhood, she is passionate about all things related to reading. She believes there are no such things as children’s books as books are for everybody! Never without a book, she will read anywhere she can. Sharing good books with friends has led to a very high TBR pile! Tracy is excited to be involved with VIP Reading and to be able to recommend books to readers of all ages!

Paula Hale

VIP Review Team

Paula has been a primary teacher for almost 15 years, predominantly in KS2. Throughout that time she has been an English Lead, assistant head and writing moderator. For as long as she can remember, Paula has been an avid reader and credits her mum and the local library for supporting and encouraging her early passion for books. She is currently an Assistant Head teacher at a primary PRU, where quality texts are high on the agenda and have proven successful in engaging learners. She is now developing Reading for Pleasure across the school.

Barbara Valentini

VIP Review Team

Barbara is an experienced primary school teacher and former TA, specifically in KS2, where the greatest achievements and rewards have always been linked with sharing the written word with her classes. Barbara has loved reading from a very young age and could always be found lost in books in the strangest places (up a peach tree, especially). It is only relatively recently that she has rediscovered children’s literature, so, to catch up with lost time, she is hell-bent in hoarding more books that she has time to read! Picturebooks have become particular favourites. Barbara feels extra-lucky that, having been born and having lived in Italy, she can read in two languages to double the pleasure that books afford in discovering words and unlock new worlds and dimensions: she is a firm believer in the power of reading for pleasure. She feels privileged and excited to be part of the wonderful VIP Reading crew!

Tara Cross

VIP Review Team

Tara is in her second year of teaching at a small, rural primary school in Suffolk. She has taken on the role of reading lead this year and has a passion for reading for pleasure which she loves to share with the children at her school and with fellow teachers on Instagram. On Instagram she hosts book photo challenges, posts reviews of all the children’s books she’s read and enjoys sharing her love for teaching and all things reading! Tara has always been an avid reader and wants to inspire children to enjoy reading as much as she did as a child (and still does now!)

Steven Lenton

VIP illustrator from 2020 – 2022

Steven Lenton was the VIP Reading illustrator for 2 years and in that time produced a number of wonderful illustrations of featured VIP authors, including: Patrice Lawrence, Stewart Foster and Steven Butler. Steven Lenton hails from Cheshire and now works from his studio in Soho, London creating an array of charming characters for his picture books. Best known for illustrating the bestselling Shifty McGifty series written by Tracey Corderoy, Steven has illustrated many lovely book as well as writing and illustrating his own stories.