Authors and illustrators including Catherine Johnson, Sarah McIntyre and Nadine Kaadan have been shortlisted for this year’s Little Rebels Award, which is for children’s fiction that promotes or celebrates social justice.
Johnson is on the shortlist with her historical fiction novel, Freedom (Scholastic), an account of the UK’s role in the slave trade, and McIntyre is in the running with The New Neighbours (David Fickling Books), a picture book about a group of animals who learn to accept their new neighbours. Kaadan’s Tomorrow (Lantana Publishing), portrays civil war through the eyes of a family who are forced to stay inside.
Also on the shortlist are: Across the Divide by Anne Booth (Catnip Publishing), which explores the pacifist movement; The Ghost and Jamal by Bridget Blankley (Hope Road Publishing), a critique of Western charitable intervention in conflict zones; The King Who Banned the Dark by Emily Haworth-Booth (Pavilion Children’s Books), about a king who instills obedience in his citizens through imagined fears; and Running on Empty by SE Durrant (Nosy Crow), about a family struggling with financial hardship.
Fen Coles, Co-Director of Letterbox Library, which administers the award, saidt: “From a king who bans the dark to a tower block community fearful of the newcomers, the Little Rebels Award shortlist demonstrates again that weighty topical themes can be brought to the youngest minds in ways which are playful, provocative, thoughtful and fun.”
The winner, chosen by a team of judges including author Patrice Lawrence and teacher and writer Darren Chetty, will be revealed on 10th July.
Last year’s winner, Zanib Mian, has now signed a three-book deal with Hachette Children’s Group.