The Children’s Book Award
Chosen by children and members of the Federation of Children’s Book Groups, the winner of this award will be announced at the Federation’s annual conference in April. Full details in the May Books for Keeps but meanwhile here is the shortlist of six books which were exhaustively tested in the final stage.
Badger on the Barge, Janni Howker, Julia MacRae, 0 86203 163 X, £6.95
Collection of short stories about adults and children face to face. Good writing results in real tension. Older children found it a gripping read.
Brother in the Land, Robert Swindells, OUP, 019 271491 0, £5.95
Very moving response to this book which never pretends. Children became eloquent about its effect on them.
But Martin!, June Counsel, Faber, 0 571 13349 5, £4.95
Beautifully structured picture book, enjoyed both for listening and own reading. Its deeper significance was not lost on the children.
The Changeover, Margaret Mahy, Dent, 0 460 06153 4, £6.95
Interesting, unusual and powerful book. Absorbing fantasy for the older end of our age range.
Letty, Avril Rowlands, Puffin Original, 0 14 03.1616 7,£1.25
Lively paperback. Readers warmed to the handicapped main character who is presented in a very positive fashion.
Lucy and Tom’s a.b.c., Shirley Hughes, Gollancz, 0 575 03398 3, £3.95
Imaginatively different approach to the ABC, with friendly text and detailed pictures. Children talked about it endlessly.
Whitbread Literary Award
Winner of the children’s novel section of this year’s Whitbread Awards was Barbara Willard for The Queen of the Pharisees’ Children, Julia MacRae, 0 86203 148 6, £6.25. A story set in and around the Ashdown Forest about a family of tinkers separated from one another by a cruel law.
Runners-up were Gillian Cross for On the Edge, OUP, 0 19 271486 4, £6.95, and Gene Kemp for Charlie Lewis Plays for Time, Faber, 0 571 13248 0, £5.50.
A new ‘biggest ever’ award:
The Smartie Prize for Children’s Books
Later this year we shall be looking out for the announcement of the first winners of the new Smarties Prize. Worth more – in financial terms – than any other children’s book award (£10,000 in total) it is sponsored by Rowntree Mackintosh and was inaugurated ‘to encourage high standards in books for children of primary school age’.
The awards has three categories:
* books for the under 7s
* books for the over 7s
* books with an innovatory presentation.
The winning book in each category receives £1,000 and a further £7,000 goes to the winner of the overall Grand Prix chosen from those three.
The prize will administered from the NBL and Martyn Goff, the NBL’s Director who has been working for some time to find a sponsor for ‘a huge children’s book prize – the children’s equivalent of Booker’, hopes that this will provide the opportunity to draw the attention of a much wider public to children’s books and reading.
Publishers can submit up to four books in each category for the prize with a list of up to six further titles. The judges may call in additional titles which have not been submitted. Books eligible for this year’s award must be first published in the UK between 1 January and 31 October 1985. They must be written in English by a citizen of the UK or an author resident in the UK.
Each year five judges will select the winning books. So far four judges have been named for the 1985 panel. They are: writer and head teacher Bernard Ashley, Sarah Greene, presenter of Saturday Superstore, Peggy Heeks, Senior Assistant County Librarian for Berkshire, and actress and writer, Nanette Newman.