This time last week, we’d just returned from seeing the legendary Jacqueline Wilson talk to hundreds of animated school children for a World Book Day event here in Norwich (read our recap here). Today, our afternoon is somewhat more serene though we have spent a few moments discussing with excitement the longlists for both the UKLA and the Klaus Flugge Prize, announced this week. We’re really heading into book award season…!
The UKLA longlist (located here) features three categories, separating titles into distinct age ranges: 3-6, 7-11 and 12-16. As well as finding an overall winner, the prize itself gives educational practitioners the opportunity to engage with children’s books and further their own knowledge of children’s fiction. The award’s judging panel includes teachers who will actively be involved in selecting the books for the shortlists- and we think that’s brilliant!
Now in its second year, the Klaus Flugge prize- named after the man behind children’s publishing house, Anderson Press- celebrates those newcomers to children’s book illustration. Fifteen debut picture books have made this year’s longlist and the judging panel this year includes illustrator Axel Scheffler and winner of last year’s prize, Nicholas John Frith. The shortlists will be announced on 17th May, with the overall winner announced in September; the 15 books initially on the longlist are brilliant, and we’re intrigued to see what makes the final cut.
Our Friday Reads for this week are below:
Harriet: The Secret of Nightingale Wood by Lucy Strange
One of the loveliest, saddest books I’ve read for a while, this is for mature top junior or KS3 readers. It is set somewhere rural on the Norfolk coast, in the aftermath of the First World War. A family, already damaged by the trauma of war, have lost their beloved only son in their London house fire, and to begin again have moved out to the countryside. However, for daughter Henrietta, their troubles are only just beginning, and she has to find incredible inner strength and courage to keep the family together, both her distraught parents and her baby sister.
Child readers will admire and feel for her efforts, while less robust adult readers like me will find it hard not to keep welling up!
(Chicken House, £6.99 paperback, ISBN 9781910655030)
Zoë: Precious and the Mystery of the Missing Lion by Alexander McCall Smith
We are treated to yet another delightful puzzle for Precious Ramotswe to unravel. Unlike many of her Western counterparts in fiction, the puzzles Precious has to solve are feasible yet enjoyable.
This time she goes to visit one of her aunts – Aunty Bee – who works at a safari camp. Whilst there, Precious makes friends with a boy, Khumo and together they help out with the production of a film being made at the camp. One day Teddy, the lion, goes missing. Both children decide to help find him. Are they successful?
Once again the author spoils us with his captivating descriptions of Africa as well as his philosophical insights through Precious.
(Polygon, £6.99 paperback, ISBN 9781846973185)
You can find our archive of Friday Read recommendations here.