The shortlist for the 2020 Little Rebels Award has been announced. The Little Rebels Award celebrates children’s fiction which challenges stereotypes, promotes social justice and advocates for a more peaceful and fairer world.
Books on this year’s shortlist feature boundless kindness, domestic violence, excess consumerism, sustainability and untold histories, and there’s even a Brexit fable.
Little Rebels favourite Gill Lewis is shortlisted for the fifth time in the award’s eight-year history for The Closest Thing to Flying, and Andrea Beaty and David Roberts make the list for a second time with Sofia Valdez, Future Prez.
The Little Rebels 2020 shortlist in full:
Sofia Valdez, Future Prez by Andrea Beaty, illustrated by David Roberts (Abrams & Chronicle)
Sneaky Beak by Tracey Corderoy, illustrated by Tony Neal (Little Tiger)
The Boy Who Loved Everyone by Jane Porter, illustrated by Maisie Paradise Shearring (Walker)
King Leonard’s Teddy by Phoebe Swan (Child’s Play)
Now or Never – A Dunkirk Story by Bali Rai (Scholastic)
The Closest Thing to Flying by Gill Lewis (OUP)
The Little Island by Smriti Prasadam-Halls, illustrated by Robert Starling (Andersen Press)
This year for the first time the award received funding from the Barry Amiel and Norman Melburn Trust and the winner will receive a cheque for £2000.
Fen Coles, Co-Director of Letterbox Library, said of the shortlist: ‘The current pandemic has sharpened so many social justice issues – poverty, domestic violence, the destruction of our environment – but also shone a light on our capacity for great kindness. The latest Little Rebels Award shortlist similarly exposes the fissures in our society alongside an overall optimism and a belief in change. Never has this roll call of social justice books been more useful in giving children tools to make sense of the world and to know that they can be the agents of change.’
The Little Rebels Children’s Book Award is now in its 8th year. It is run by booksellers Housmans Bookshop and Letterbox Library and is awarded by the Alliance of Radical Booksellers (ARB). This year’s judges are: author Patrice Lawrence; Emily Drabble, Head of Children’s Book Promotions/Prizes at BookTrust; Jim MacSweeney, longstanding manager of LGBT bookshop Gay’s the Word; Darren Chetty, Teacher, Writer, Researcher; and Shaun Dellenty, Trainer in LGBT+ inclusive education.
Catherine Johnson was awarded the 2019 Little Rebels Award for her historical novel exploring Britain’s involvement in the slave trade, Freedom.
The winner of this year’s Little Rebels Award will be announced in September.