The shortlist for the 2021 Costa Children’s Book Award has been announced.
The Costa is the only major UK book prize open solely to authors resident in the UK and Ireland and this is their 50th year. This year’s judges for the Costa Children’s Book Award are Gill Edwards, owner of The Little Ripon Bookshop; author Smriti Halls; and Lucas Maxwell: School Librarian, Writer and Podcaster.
They have chosen four books to shortlist, including two debuts and a verse novel. The books are:
Maggie Blue and the Dark World by Anna Goodall (Guppy Books)
Anna Goodall was born in London into a family of musicians. After working in publishing, running a small literary magazine, bookselling and very occasional journalism, Anna took a Masters in Scriptwriting at Goldsmiths. Maggie Blue and the Dark World is her first novel.
The judges described her book as, ‘A thrilling, fantastical adventure – original, engaging and with the best talking cat since Alice in Wonderland.’
The Crossing by Manjeet Mann (Penguin)
Manjeet Mann is an actor, playwright, screenwriter and director. She is the founder of Run the World, an organization that works with women and girls from marginalized backgrounds and helps to empower them through sport and storytelling. She has been shortlisted for the Branford Boase Award and the Carnegie Medal.
The judges described The Crossing as, ‘Powerful, intelligent and emotive – it demonstrates in its very fabric just how little truly separates us.’
The Midnight Guardians by Ross Montgomery (Walker Books)
The judges say this is ‘A hugely entertaining, fast-paced adventure with a cast of fabulous characters.’
The Boy Who Made Everyone Laugh by Helen Rutter (Scholastic UK)
The judges describe it as, ‘Heart-warming, humorous and full of hope and joy.’
The winner, who will receive £5,000, will be announced on Tuesday 4 January 2022 along with winners in the other four categories. The overall winner of the 2021 Costa Book of the Year will receive £30,000 and be announced at a ceremony on Tuesday 1 February 2022. It has twice gone to the children’s book (Philip Pullman’s The Amber Spyglass and The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge).