Two debuts have made it on to the 2019 Blue Peter Book Awards' Best Story shortlist.
Titles by first-time authors Sophie Anderson and Onjali Rauf have been selected in the Best Story category alongside Catherine Fisher’s gothic Victorian Christmas tale, The Clockwork Crow (Firefly Press). Anderson is shortlisted for The House with Chicken Legs (Usborne), a magical adaptation of a Prussian fairytale about a girl whose grandmother Baba Yaga guides spirits between this world and the next, while Rauf is shortlisted for The Boy at the Back of the Class (Orion Children’s Books), a child's perspective on the refugee crisis that highlights the importance of friendship and kindness.
The books shortlisted for the Best Book with Facts category are: The Element in the Room, a guide to the atomic ingredients that make up everything around us written by Mike Barfield and illustrated by Lauren Humphry (Laurence King Publishing); The Colours of History written Clive Gifford and illustrated by Marc-Etienne Peintre (QED Publishing), an exploration of the stories behind different colours and the roles they have played throughout history; and Professor Astro Cat's third installation, Human Body Odyssey, written by Dominic Walliman and Ben Newman (Flying Eye Books).
Managed by BookTrust, the Blue Peter Book Awards honour the best books for children published in the last 12 months. BookTrust’s c.e.o. Diana Gerald said: “We’re delighted to be involved in the Blue Peter Book Awards again this year, helping to excite and encourage children everywhere to love reading and discover more about science, the human body and the journey to the afterlife.”
The shortlist was judged by: “Blue Peter” editor Ewan Vinnicombe; teacher, writer and researcher Darren Chetty; author and vlogger Louise Pentland; and author-illustrator Alex T Smith. Smith said: “Whittling these brilliant titles down to the shortlist has been incredibly tricky but I know we’ve managed to put together a shortlist which has something for everyone. We can’t wait to share it with the world!”
The winning titles, voted for by over 300 children from 12 schools across the UK, will be revealed live on “Blue Peter” on World Book Day on Thursday 7th March 2019, with the winning authors and illustrators appearing on the special awards episode of the show. Last year’s winners were The Wizards of Once by Cressida Cowell (Hodder Children's Books) and Real-Life Mysteries written by Susan Martineau and illustrated by Vicky Barker (b small publishing).