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Branford Boase Award 2019 - short list

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The Branford Boase Award for
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The Branford Boase Award, given annually to the author and editor of an outstanding debut novel for children, announces its shortlist for the 2019 award. The books on the shortlist are:

    TheHouseWithChickenLegs1

 

 

 

 

 

  

The House with Chicken Legs

The Train to Impossible Places

Rosie Loves Jack

The Goose Road

I Am Thunder

Orphan Monster Spy

The Boy at the Back of the Class

It is twenty years since the Branford Boase Award was founded to commemorate author Henrietta Branford and influential Walker Books editor Wendy Boase and it is now recognised as one of the most important awards in children’s books with an impressive record in identifying outstanding authors at the start of their careers. Over its 20 year existence, winners and shortlisted authors include Siobhan Dowd, Meg Rosoff, Mal Peet, Philip Reeve, Frank Cottrell Boyce, Frances Hardinge, Patrick Ness and Marcus Sedgwick. The shortlist for the 2019 award features the Blue Peter Book Award winner; a book that made the Costa shortlist; and a book in the running for the 2019 CILIP Carnegie Medal. 

This year the judges are Sanchita Basu De Sarkar of the Children’s Bookshop, Muswell Hill; Ellen Krajewski, librarian at Hemel Hempstead School, Hertfordshire; Louise Johns-Shepherd, chief executive of CLPE ; and Mitch Johnson, author of Kick, winner of the 2018 Branford Boase Award. The panel is chaired by Julia Eccleshare, children’s director of the Hay Festival. 

Julia Eccleshare says: “In its twenty-year history, the Branford Boase Award has given a crucial early career boost to the most exciting and important young authors, and prompted publishers to seek out new talent. What’s more, it continues to reflect the shape and preoccupations of contemporary children’s literature: this year’s shortlist demonstrates the strength and depth of writing for children and young people. There are powerful stories for young adults tackling complex issues alongside delightfully original fiction for readers aged 8 – 11, and recurring themes include resilience, identity and a sense of self. We are proud of every one of the award’s twenty shortlists and happy that so many years after their deaths, Wendy Boase and Henrietta Branford are celebrated in such a positive way.”

The winner of the 2019 Branford Boase Award will be announced on Thursday, 27th June at a ceremony in London. The winning author receives a cheque for 1,000 and both author and editor receive a unique, hand-crafted silver-inlaid box.

 

 

The House with Chicken Legs
by Sophie Anderson, edited by Rebecca Hill and Becky Walker
Usborne (9+)
shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal
 

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The House with Chicken Legs

Author
Sophie Anderson

Editors
Rebecca Hill and Becky Walker
 

Publisher
Usborne

A beautifully told, original take on the tale of Baba Yaga this timeless story of death and grief and the zest for life stars a sentient house with chicken legs.

‘I read it in a single sitting’; ‘the pace is gentle, unlike some myth stories, but it holds your attention all the way through’; ‘full of the beautiful details that pull a story together’; ‘there’s a warm bath feel to it!’.


The Train to Impossible Places
by P.G. Bell, edited by Rebecca Hill and Becky Walker
Usborne (8+)
 

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The Train to Impossible Places

Author
P.G. Bell

Editors
Rebecca Hill and Becky Walker

Publisher
Usborne

When a magical train drives through her hallway it’s the start of an extraordinary adventure for science-loving Suzy, one that will take her to some very strange places.

‘bursting with ideas’; ‘I love the energy and the characters are strong enough to keep you engaged; ‘the author has a strong grasp of how to tell a story’; ‘a great book to read aloud’.


Rosie Loves Jack
by Mel Darbon, edited by Sarah Stewart
Usborne (YA)
 

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Rosie Loves Jack

Author
Mel Darbon

Editor
Sarah Stewart

Publisher
Usborne

A contemporary love story starring Rosie, who is 16 and has Down’s syndrome; and Jack, who attends the same college in a specialist unit. When Jack is sent away, Rosie is determined to see him again, whatever it takes.

‘I was expecting it to be sentimental, but it isn’t at all’; ‘Rosie’s voice is unique and disarming’; ‘every teenager should read this’; ‘feels totally authentic’.
 


The Goose Road
by Rowena House, edited by Mara Bergman
Walker Books (9+)

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The Goose Road

Author
Rowena House

Editor
Mara Bergman

Publisher
Walker Books

Set in France during the First World War, this novel tells of Angelique and her belief that her brother Pascal will return from the trenches to take over the family farm. She is determined to keep the farm and the herd of geese he loves so much safe for him.

‘the set-up is excellent and there’s real depth to the story’; ‘shows huge intelligence in the understanding of her characters; ‘the relationships are tender and real’; ‘I really want to read it again’.
 


I Am Thunder
by Muhammad Khan, edited by Lucy Pearse
Macmillan (YA)
shortlisted for the YA Book Prize
 

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I Am Thunder

Author
Muhammad Khan

Editor
Lucy Pearse

Publisher
Macmillan

Bright but shy Muzna is the sixteen-year-old only child of Pakistani parents now settled in Britain. Her father wants her to become a doctor whereas she can only think about her writing. The story changes course when Muzna gets dangerously over-involved in a manipulative terrorist cell.

‘a difficult subject handled really sensitively; ‘it’s an “issues” book but I really wanted to get to the end, really believed in Muzna’; ‘the dialogue is very authentic’ ‘a really hopeful story’.
 


Orphan Monster Spy
by Matt Killeen, edited by Sarah Stewart and Kendra Levin
Usbourne (YA)
shortlisted for the Costa Children’s Book Award
 

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Orphan Monster Spy

Author
Matt Killeen

Editors
Sarah Stewart and Kendra Levin

Publisher
Usborne

When Sarah’s mother is shot dead, there’s no time to grieve. A Jew in Nazi Germany, she uses her talent as an actress to become a school-girl spy, though she’s keenly aware that her life counts very little to her spy-master.

‘a chillingly good spy story, very well told’; ‘it explores an area well-covered in fiction but feels very fresh’; ‘original and contemporary in feel despite the war setting’; ‘a good read’.
 


The Boy at the Back of the Class
by Onjali Q Raf, edited by Lena McCauley
Orion Children’s Books (7+)
winner of the Blue Peter Book Award
 

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The Boy at the Back of the Class 

Author
Onjali Q Raf

Editor
Lena McCauley

Publisher
Hachette Orion

The arrival of a new boy in class, who doesn’t speak, or smile, and disappears at break times, intrigues the narrator of this book and when she finds out that his family are lost somewhere in Europe, she and her friends decide to help.

‘very charming’; ‘a beautifully structured children’s book’; ‘the story pushes you forward’; ‘full of hope’.


Picture Credits:

Mel Darbon - Harry Crowder
Rebecca Hill - Dan Gulliver
Muhammad Khan- Sarah Blackie
Onjali Q Rauf - rooful.com
Lena McCauley - Jay Rowden Photography
Sophie Anderson - Nick Anderson

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2019 Shortlist    •    Fire Bed and Bone reissued    •    CLPE Teachers' Notes