This is a new award for a work of fiction published in 1980 for children under 14 years of age. It is interesting because it is the first award in this country in which children play a major part in the selection process.
The award is given by the Federation of Children’s Book Groups, a parent-based organisation made up of groups of people in cities, towns and villages who work to bring books and children together.
Pat Thomson, the current chairman of the Federation explains.
Groups of adults and children working together all over the country took part in the selection process, supervised by a Federation team who know children as well as books. We naturally insisted on a high literary and physical standard but we used the Federation’s unique opportunities to see how children respond to books under all kinds of circumstances – and we gave them the last word!
We initiated this award because
- We care about standards in children’s books
- We think books are important and we want to remind our communities of that
- We wanted to express our thanks to those people who give our children so much pleasure.
And most of all
- We wanted children to be involved in the selection of a children’s book.
And what did they choose?
Mister Magnolia by Quentin Blake, Cape, 0 224 01612 1, £3.50.
`Mister Magnolia walked straight off the page and into the imagination of the children who read it. They immediately participated, speculating about his friends and family and that single boot. Most of them had it by heart, the younger ones demanding re-readings, and the older ones enjoying the details in the pictures and the friendly inventiveness of the action. A live book for live children which improved on each reading.’
The award, presented to Quentin Blake on 4th April at the Federation annual conference in Cambridge, took the form of a special book filled with the children’s comments, letters and pictures.
Nine other books were nominated as runners-up (see list). A further fifty-three books appear as the Pick of the Year in the Federation’s annual publication About Books for Children. available from Martin Kromer, 22 Beacon Brow, Bradford. West Yorkshire BD6 3DE (75p plus postage).
Quentin Blake has designed a special poster with the ‘top ten’ books on it. Free copies are available from the SBA (enclose sae with 151/2p stamp) while supplies last.
Why not do a Mister Magnolia event’? Available from the Federation are stickers (1 p each) and balloons (4p each), all with Mister Magnolia designs by Quentin Blake. Apply to Jan Ryan, 40 Douglas Towers. RadwelI Drive. Bradford (add 30%, to order for postage and packing).
The Federation also has exhibitions for hire.
- Fifty Modern Picture Books
- Fifty Recommended Poetry Books
- Sex Education Books for Young Children.
For details, contact Cathy Lister, 4 Pinewoods, Church Aston, Newport Shropshire.
If you would like to find out how to join or start a group, contact Martin Kromer (address above).
TILLY’S RESCUE, Faith Jaques, Heinemann, 0 434 94441 6. £3.95
A satisfying story of friends. The little wooden doll sets out to rescue her friend, Edward bear. For the under-sevens.
THE GHOST AND BERTIE BOGGIN, Catherine Sefton, Faber, 0 571 11524 1, £3.25
A proper story book for the under-eights. Funny, just a little big ghosty, and very sympathetic to this age group.
DAGGIE DOGFOOT, Dick King-Smith, Gollancz, 0 575 02767 3, £4.50
An extrovert tale of a pig with ambition. Fun in the action, language and plot. For up to 11 or 12.
A STRONG AND WILLING GIRL, Dorothy Edwards, Methuen, 0 416 88630 2, £4.25
Recent history made accessible and enjoyable through the craft of this storyteller. For over-tens.
THE MAGICIANS OF CAPRONA, Diana Wynne Jones, Macmillan. 0 333 27891 7, £4.95 (out of print at present but under consideration for a reprint)
Stylish story for good readers over nine. Two rival families of magicians clash in the streets of Caprona, unaware that a far darker force threatens them. Funny and alarming at the same time.
A DARK HORN BLOWING, Dahlov Ipcar, Macdonald, 0 354 08101 2, £4.25
A unique book, full of memorable images, based firmly in folklore and fulfilling the need for a sustained folk tale. Haunting tale for over-elevens.
CORA RAVENWING, Gina Wilson, Faber. 0 571 11471 7, £5.25
Most popular girls’ book for elevens and over. A school story with sinister overtones. Exciting but thought-provoking too, and very well written.
THE HORN OF MORTAL DANGER, Lawrence Leonard. Julia MacRae, 0 86203 010 2, £4.95
A very successful combination of fantasy and the most authentic railway and canal detail. Most of the young ‘testers’ demanded their own copy! An exciting and complete story for ten-to-fourteens.
JOHN DIAMOND, Leon Garfield, Kestrel. 0 7226 5619 X, £4.50
Dazzling, fast-moving story. elegantly put together. Gives pleasure through its characters. the plot and the language. For ten-to-fourteens, and probably older.