The Klaus Flugge Prize Shortlist 2018

It was a huge excitement to be among those attending the ceremony at Foyles Bookshop last night for the announcement of the Klaus Flugge Prize Shortlist.

The Klaus Flugge Prize honours publisher Klaus Flugge, a remarkable influence in picture books, and founder of Andersen Press. The Prize awards a published picture book by a debut illustrator with past winners including Nicholas John Frith and Francesca Sanna.

The award is run by some of the most prominent figures in children’s books including Julia Eccleshare, children’s books editor of The Guardian, children’s director of the Hay Festival and Anne Marley MBE co-director of Authors Aloud UK. From an impressive longlist of fifteen picture books by debut illustrators, a panel of judges comprising Children’s Laureate and acclaimed illustrator Lauren Child; Francesca Sanna, 2017 Klaus Flugge Prize winner; leading art director Goldy Broad; and Charlotte Colwill, head of children’s books at Foyles, selected a shortlist of five.  Judging by the amazing books on the longlist it must have been a tough decision!

The evening began with a conversation between Julia Eccleshare and Children’s Laureate, Lauren Child, who spoke about how she creates her brilliant books, her path to publication and generally inspired the audience about the art of illustration! “Illustration is like poetry….it’s an art form in it’s own right” she said.  It was really quite wonderful and every time I hear someone who creates children’s stories speak like this, I immediately want to put them in front of a crowd of children so they can inspire the next generation of story makers!  After the chat, Lauren went on to announce the shortlist spending a few moments to share why each book had been chosen and what had stood out for the judging panel:

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The Night Box, Ashling Lindsay (Egmont)
Written by Louise Greig, editor Melissa Fairley, art editor Tiffany Leeson. Ashling Lindsay is an illustrator with huge potential. This is very accomplished technically, beautifully evocative and the judges were struck by the skilful composition.

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My Name is Not Refugee, Kate Milner, (Barrington Stoke) Editor Emma Hargrave, art editor Julie-Ann Murray.  Mood and emotion are beautifully portrayed; Milner chooses to use a limited palette but avoids making it too dark; she draws really well and the book’s construction always leaves space for the reader.

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Curiosity: The Story of a Mars Rover, Markus Motum, (Walker Studio) Editor Denise Johnstone-Burt, art editor Louise Jackson.  Motum is definitely an illustrator to watch. Though this is an information book, you feel there is a story being told, with pace and animation. His work reminded the judges of iconic Czech illustrator M Sasek.

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The Real Boat, Victoria Semykina, (Templar)
Written by Marina Aromshtam, editors Katie Howarth & Lisa Edwards, art editor Genevieve Webster and Maya Schleifer.  There are absolutely beautiful illustrations within the book, some of them exquisitely good, and the judges are excited to see what Semyinka will do next. They particularly admire the skilful change of scale that occurs throughout the little boat’s journey.

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Big Box, Little Box, Edward Underwood (Bloomsbury) Editor Emma Blackburn. Colour and detail in Underwood’s book are both very pleasing indeed; graphically it is a stand-out picture book with superb use of colour and composition. There’s a slight sense of Lynley Dodd in the way the layout carries you through the story.

Chair of the judges Julia Eccleshare said: “Our expert judges were presented with a very varied set of picture books and have selected a shortlist that feels exciting and full of potential. Each artist, in their different way, successfully guides readers into and through the stories they are telling via their illustration. We were delighted once again to announce the list live at a special event; picture book illustration, as championed by Klaus Flugge throughout his career, deserves proper recognition as an important and vital art form.”

The winner will be revealed at an award ceremony in London on Wednesday 12th September 2018 and will receive a cheque for £5,000.  For more information about the award visit https://www.klausfluggeprize.co.uk/shortlist-2018/.

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Branford Boase Book Award 2018 – shortlist announced!

BBA_LogoThe Branford Boase Book Award is an absolutely wonderful celebration of writing and is given annually to the author of an outstanding debut novel for children. However, not only does it honour brilliant authors but also the super-talented editors who work with them.  It really is a special award and having been a supporter of it over the last few years I’m delighted to share the shortlist on the blog. Social media is buzzing with congratulations for the nominees and I’m looking forward to reading and reviewing the books over the coming weeks!

The Branford Boase Award was set up in memory of the outstanding and prize-winning author Henrietta Branford and Wendy Boase, editorial director and one of the founders of Walker Books. They worked together on a number of Henrietta’s novels, a partnership they greatly enjoyed. Both Henrietta and Wendy died of cancer in 1999.  The Award is the joint idea of Julia Eccleshare and Anne Marley. Julia is chair of PLR and director of the Hay Festival children’s programme as well as a regular contributor to Radio 4’s Front Row and Open Book programmes. Anne is now co-director of Authors Aloud UK and was Head of Children’s, Youth & Schools Services for Hampshire Library & Information Service for many years.

Seven different publishers are represented on the shortlist including independents Usborne and David Fickling Books and brand new list Zephyr. Now in its nineteenth year the Branford Boase Award is recognised as one of the most important awards in children’s books with a hugely impressive record in identifying authors with special talent at the start of their careers. Previous winners and shortlisted authors include Siobhan DowdMeg RosoffMal PeetPhilip ReeveFrank Cottrell Boyce and Patrick NessCosta Book Award winner Frances Hardinge won with her debut novel Fly By Night in 2006.

The shortlist for the 2018 award is as follows:

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A Jigsaw of Fire and Stars by Yaba Badoe, edited by Fiona Kennedy (Head of Zeus: Zephyr)

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The Starman and Me by Sharon Cohen, edited by Sarah Lambert (Quercus Children’s Books)

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Fish Boy by Chloe Daykin, edited by Leah Thaxton (Faber)

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Knighthood for Beginners by Elys Dolan, edited by Clare Whitston and Elv Moody (Oxford)

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Kick by Mitch Johnson, edited by Rebecca Hill and Becky Walker (Usborne)

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Potter’s Boy by Tony Mitton, edited by Anthony Hinton (David Fickling Books)

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The City of Secret Rivers by Jacob Sager Weinstein, edited by Gill Evans (Walker Books)

It’s a fantastic shortlist and judging will not be easy! This year the judges are Urmi Merchant of children’s bookshop Pickled Pepper BooksHelen Swinyard, librarian at Heartlands High School and founder of theHaringey Children’s Book Award; author and reviewer Philip Womack; and M.G. (Maya) Leonard, author of Beetle Boy, winner of the 2017 Branford Boase Award. The panel is chaired by Julia Eccleshare, children’s director of the Hay Festival.

Julia Eccleshare says: “Each year the Branford Boase Award discovers authors with outstanding talent and promise: this year is no exception. The BBA also celebrates the lively state of children’s publishing in the UK and we were excited that no less than 26 different publishers entered books with seven making the shortlist. By concentrating on the most exciting new voices, the Branford Boase consistently highlights trends in contemporary children’s fiction: our 2018 judges were struck by the huge predominance on the longlist of domestic dramas. Children’s adventure it seems has become internal, the setting no longer the outside world but frequently the family, with narrative tension and action arising from issues such as mental health and individual trauma. Nonetheless, our seven shortlisted books have new stories to tell and vibrant new voices to tell them.”

The winner of the 2018 Branford Boase Award will be announced on Wednesday 4th July 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.

Good luck to all those nominated and watch this space for reviews coming soon!

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For more information about the award, including a full list of past winners, and the Henrietta Branford Writing Competition visit www.branfordboaseaward.org.uk .

Bookchat: Kate Poels, the Children’s Book Award Co-ordinator

banner newThe Children’s Book Award, run by the Federation of Children’s Book Groups, is the only national award voted for solely by children from start to finish.  It has always been a source of great excitement for the children I’ve worked with because they know their votes actually count!  So I’m really pleased to host a guest post today by Kate Poels, co-ordinator of the award, to tell us how it works and how she came to be involved. Thanks for joining us Kate!

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“I was delighted to be asked by the brilliant Book Activist to write a guest piece for the blog.  I am a huge admirer of the work done in schools and for parents and carers by the Book Activist and feel that anything that brings books to children is a huge bonus!

My background has always been with children.  I started out training as a nurse at Great Ormond Street and then decided to take a degree in Primary Education to work as a teacher instead.  I now have two sprouting girls of my own and so I have seen the world of children from many different angles.  The thing that always strikes me is how important a love of books can be.  The power a good story has to bring comfort, humour, reality, solace, escapism, inspiration, other worlds, different viewpoints and so much more into the life of a child.  Whether it be a very sick child in hospital, a child with problems at home, somebody struggling with bullying or a little one with a huge imagination who wants to hear new things and tread new paths.  I have seen first-hand how these children need books in their lives.

My passion for children’s literature led me to the Federation of Children’s Book Groups a few years ago.  It is a fantastic organisation, fuelled solely by volunteers, that works on a national level to bring children and books together.  I now work on a local level with them and have also attended several of their fabulous industry-filled conferences.

As a member of the FCBG my children have had the opportunity to take part in the voting process for the Children’s Book Award.  This award is unique as it is the only one in the country voted for entirely by children.  If you are over 18 then your vote doesn’t count for anything…but if you are still young enough then every vote cast goes into a big boiling pot along with roughly 150,000 other votes and together they create the top 50 books of the year.  These are then whittled down to the top 10 comprising of 4 picture books for Younger Children, 3 stories for Younger Readers and 3 stories for Older Readers.

Then the results are once again handed back to the children who decide which of these shortlisted titles deserve their votes.  They alone choose who the winners of each category are and which book will be the overall winner. And they do a fantastic job every year.  Sometimes favourite, well-known authors take the crown (this year Michaels Morpurgo and Foreman won with their book ‘An Eagle In The Snow,’) but other times they discover new gems that go on to be firm favourites.  Previous winners have included JK Rowling, Kes Gray and Jacqueline Wilson to name a few.

Earlier this year I was asked if I would consider co-coordinating the award and I was thrilled to be able to get involved.  We are in the process of taking the award forward with a fresh new website (childrensbookaward.org.uk) as well as stronger online presence.

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Our member children, families and schools are all busy voting for this year’s favourites and in February we will be finding out who they have chosen as their picks of the year.  Then the voting opens for anyone in the UK to take part, as long as you are under 18 of course! The shortlist will be announced and children can use our website to vote for their favourites.  You can pre-register now to be the first to hear the shortlist!

It is such a brilliant thing to be part of and so many of our winning authors have told us that for them it is the most important award of the year.   And that is all down to the people who vote…..their intended readers… the children!

If you would like to find out more then please follow @CBAcoordinator on Twitter or The Federation of Children’s Book Groups on Facebook. Also drop by our resource-filled website and see how you could get involved.”

Find out more about this wonderful celebration of children’s books at www.childrensbookaward.org.uk

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