Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Guardian children's fiction prize 2013 longlist

Awarded annually to fiction written for children aged eight and above, The Guardian Children's Fiction Prize is the only children's fiction award selected by fellow writers. The judging panel is chaired by our very own expert reviewer, Julia Eccleshare who is also the Children's Books Editor of the Guardian."The eight books on the 2013 Guardian children's fiction prize longlist deal with war, dystopian futures and terminal illness – but their tales of children overcoming adversity are both entertaining and inspiring."

Award-winning David Almond tells a deliciously funny and refreshingly original story of Stanley, a boy who takes off on a journey of enlightenment and discovery after his uncle, whom he lives with, goes distinctly barmy and turns his home upside down by turning it into a canning factory. Stanley’s travels take him to joining a fairground family and taking on some new and surprising challenges which test his courage and resolve. Fast-paced, sometimes magical and always unexpected, this is a brilliant story with stunning illustrations by Oliver Jeffers.

 Award-winning Rebecca Steed tells a wonderfully touching story with great sensitivity within an exciting and dramatic adventure. Georges (his unusual name is part of his problem) has just moved to a new apartment block and he immediately gets caught up in a game with Safer, a boy who lives on another floor. Safer’s spying game seems fun and his family, sister Candy and brother Pigeon provide an interesting and supportive alternative home for Georges while things in his own family are out of kilter. But then Georges begins to have his doubts… Gradually everything he has been protecting himself from spins out of control and the reader discovers the sad truth he has been hiding himself from. A very special story that is not to be missed.


Paris where she meets Matteo, living off the local pigeons, washing in rainwater and travelling unseen across the great roofscape of Paris. With Matteo’s help Sophie learns the tricks of roof-top living and also how to break into buildings and bamboozle officials – exactly the trick she needs to find her mother. An exciting, tender and original adventure.

Winner of the two most prestigious children's book awards - the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2013 and the Children's Costa Award 2012. And Longlisted for the 2013 Guardian Children’s Fiction PrizeSally Gardner tells a story that is rich in drama and ideas as Standish Treadwell, an unlikely hero, takes on the vicious forces of the repressive motherland in a novel set in a bleak world that is redeemed only by the very human qualities of some of the survivors. Standish and his remarkable grandfather keep going, eking out a living after the disappearance of Standish’s parents. Standish struggles at school and is the victim of relentless bullying. But then he finds a friend in the newly arrived Hector. When Hector is taken, the only hope lies in Standish…Luckily, Standish has just the qualities that are needed.

Moving and thought provoking story which will encourage readers to question divisions in society. Joshua lives safely on one side of the Wall. When he finds a tunnel under the Wall he can’t help wanting to explore. Meeting a family on the other side reveals to him what the Wall hides and makes him question all he has previously been told. Joshua learns the enormity of living under repression as well as what kindness, despite its attendant dangers, really means. He also learns how nature can heal other ills as he sets out on his own journey of discovery.

Packed full of passion – both political and of all other kinds – this is a harrowing, thrilling and romantic account of the Spanish Civil War and the lives of three young volunteers who sign up to fight in it. In a chance encounter in Cable Street at the time of anti-fascist demonstrations, Felix, training to be a nurse and desperate to break away from her conventional background, meets Nat, already a young communist ready to fight for the cause. They re-meet in Spain, both fighting against the fascists. Following Felix, George, her conventional suitor, also travels to Spain where he too converts to the cause. The courageous decisions the three have to make; their bravery and their love make a strong thread through the fast paced action.

Deservedly No 1 on the New York Times best seller list, this heart-catching novel is fuelled by the rawest emotions deftly handled but never falsely diluted. The role a book plays in their lives lies at the heart of the burgeoning relationship between Hazel and Augustus, teenagers who meet at a cancer support group. Hazel’s cancer is incurable: she is ‘managing’ her situation; Augustus has already lost a leg to his but he has an 80% chance of survival. But cancer does not rule them; here are two teens being as normal as they can be while carrying the grisly physical side effects of their treatments and in the complicated face of an uncertain future. The result is a touching, questioning, funny and insight novel that can’t be put down.

PrizeAward winning Gillian Cross takes a brilliant ‘what if’ as the premise for this gripping and thought-provoking adventure. The British economy has collapsed. Civil disobedience sets family against family as raids for the scarce food leads to violent attacks. After Matt’s Dad and grandfather are killed, his Mum is determined to keep the family going by growing food and by storing all she can. Soon they are attacked as ‘scadgers’ for hoarding. The only solution is to flee to France where British refugees are allowed to live in camps. Matt and those around him survive in the alien environment of the camp by adopting new behaviours that bring out their best – and worst – characteristics. Gillian Cross creates believable characters who’s choices matter to her readers.

Read the books and tell everyone what you think! You can email your comments to childrens.books@guardian.co.uk.
Best of all, you can write a review for publication on the site and to be entered into the Young Critics competition.
For further information about the Guardian children's fiction prize 2013 visit the website


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