I am Henry Finch by Viviane Schwarz and Alexis Deacon (Walker Books) has won this year’s Little Rebels award for radical children’s fiction.
The award, now in its fourth year, is for children's books that promote social justice or discuss themes such as inclusivity and anti-discrimination. It is given by the Alliance of Radical Booksellers (ARB) and administered by Letterbox Library.
Letterbox Library co-director Kerry Mason said I Am Henry Finch, which is about a bird discovering his individuality away from the flock, is an “absolute gem of a picture book”.
“It deploys the simplest of graphics and text to ponder vast questions about our humanity,” she said. “Schwarz’s blood red thumbprint finches get to the beating heart of our existence and Deacon’s minimalist, beautifully structured, sentences are like a beginner’s course in existentialist thought. This is a book that respects and honours the youngest of readers, believing them capable of and thirsty for philosophical thought.”
The winning book was announced on 7th May at the fourth London Radical Book Fair, organised by the ARB and held at Goldsmiths University.
Schwarz and Deacon’s book beat off competition from five other books: Gorilla Dawn by Gill Lewis (Oxford University Press), The Little Bookshop and the Origami Army by Michael Foreman (Andersen Press), Uncle Gobb and the Dread Shed by Michael Rosen and Neal Layton, The Boy at the Top of the Mountain by John Boyne (Doubleday/Penguin Random House UK) and I’m a Girl by Yasmeen Ismail (Bloomsbury Books).
The judges gave a special mention to Lewis’ title, which they said was a “brilliantly written and important book…that deserves to be very widely read”.