The Little Rebels Children’s Book Award

Radical fiction award given by the Alliance of Radical Booksellers

“This award reminds me to keep on being a little rebel…”

Back on May 12th 2015, Gill Lewis took the prize for the Little Rebels Award for Radical Children’s Fiction with her novel, Scarlet Ibis. Her acceptance speech was both profoundly moving and a positive call to action.  And now we’ve finally connected to YouTube, you can hear the speech for yourself. Get yourself a cuppa, settle down and prepare to be inspired.

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“Go out and have a rebellious day” Gill Lewis Wins the Little Rebels Book Award

Gill Lewis accepts the award from her treehouse!

Gill Lewis accepts the award from her treehouse!

The winner of this year’s Little Rebels Children’s Book Award for Radical Fiction is Gill Lewis for her book, Scarlet Ibis (Oxford University Press).

Little Rebels judge, Kim Reynolds, described Scarlet Ibis as “a story that celebrates the often overlooked courage, loyalty and competence of children.” In a moving acceptance speech, Gill said she was “utterly delighted” to win the award. She continued, “[The award] reminds me to keep on being a little rebel. Because being a rebel isn’t just about challenging the big things…it’s also about challenging everyday things; it’s about not letting prejudice sneak in…[because] it comes in in celebrity jokes or it rides on the back of politicians tapping into our fears”. She ended by bidding everyone to “go out and have a rebellious day”.

Wendy Cooling presents the award to Elaine McQuade from OUP: a framed picture of Ros Asquith’s ‘little rebels’

Wendy Cooling presents the award to Elaine McQuade from OUP: a framed picture of Ros Asquith’s ‘little rebels’

The Little Rebels Award was presented by Wendy Cooling to Elaine McQuade, Oxford University Press on Gill’s behalf at the third London Radical Bookfair Saturday May 9th 2015.

The Little Shortlist Rebels Panel

The Little Shortlist Rebels Panel

Just before the presentation, Liz Laird chaired a lively panel of Little Rebels authors, illustrators and editors including Anne Booth, Chris Haughton, Mel Elliott, Jessica Shepherd, Janetta Otter-Barry (representing Made by Raffi) and Liz Bankes (representing Cable Street). Each described the inspiration for their books and also engaged in a wider discussion about, amongst other things, whether children’s books have a ‘duty’ to ‘promote good values’. Perhaps our favorite words came from Bernard Ashley when he said, “this government wouldn’t know a library if it fell on them”. Big Rebel indeed.

Guest Judges for this year’s Bread and Roses Award , the award for radical non-fiction, included Green Party Leader, Natalie Bennet. Here she is flanked by a host of Little Rebels authors and editors:

From left to right: Liz Bankes (Catnip Books); Liz Laird (Little Rebels Judge/Panel Chair); author Bernard Ashley; author Jessica Shepherd; author Chris Haughton; Wendy Cooling (Little Rebels Judge/Award Presenter); Natalie Bennett (Green Party Leader); author Mel Elliott; Janetta Otter-Barry (Otter Barry Books/Frances Lincoln); author Anne Booth

From left to right: Liz Bankes (Catnip Books); Liz Laird (Little Rebels Judge/Panel Chair); author Bernard Ashley; author Jessica Shepherd; author Chris Haughton; Wendy Cooling (Little Rebels Judge/Award Presenter); Natalie Bennett (Green Party Leader); author Mel Elliott; Janetta Otter-Barry (Otter Barry Books/Frances Lincoln);
author Anne Booth

We were delighted with the press coverage the award received, including a very happy piece in The Guardian  – and some lovely words from the trade press as well; check out The Bookseller and Books for Keeps.

We want to extend a special congratulations to the Bread and Roses Award for adult non-fiction. Many of the people who came to support the children’s award commented on how strong the Bread & Roses shortlist was; many went on to buy copies of the books…and we managed to pick up one of the last copies of the winning title for ourselves: Here We Stand– Women Changing the World, eds. Helena Earnshaw and Angharad Penrhyn Jones (Honno Press).

The London Radical Bookfair continues to be an exciting hub of activism, progressive thinking and hope for change. Thank you to the Alliance of Radical Booksellers and especially Nik Górecki at Housmans Bookshop for creating this event, for running the Bread and Roses Award, for conceiving the Little Rebels Award and for letting us, Letterbox Library, administer it. It’s an absolute privilege. For us personally, running an award which celebrates social justice and the courage of children, is like a sunbeam in what feels like a climate of growing disadvantage and prejudice. So thank you, Nik, thank you Alliance of Radical Booksellers, thank you authors and publishers for your wonderful craft and the part you play in creating change-  and thank you to all of you who continue to support and buoy up this award year after year. You make all the difference. We look forward to seeing you all next year!

The Little Rebels 2015 Shortlist on the Letterbox Library stand

The Little Rebels 2015 Shortlist on the
Letterbox Library stand

Judge Wendy Cooling introduces a pair of little hands to the shortlist!

Judge Wendy Cooling introduces a pair of little hands to the shortlist! A little rebel in the making…?

 

 

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Which rebel has won the little rebels award?…

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ONE MORE SLEEP! The winner of the Little Rebels Award will be announced tomorrow, Saturday May 9th, at the 2015 London Radical Bookfair. And…fanfare…and clashings of cymbals…and tinkling of triangles…we will be joined this year by the following shortlisted Little Rebels authors/illustrators: Bernard Ashley, Chris Haughton, Jessica Shepherd, Anne Booth and Mel Elliott.

Things you need to know:

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Eight Little Rebels Have Been Shortlisted!

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We are more than a little delighted to announce the 8 books on the 2015 shortlist for the Little Rebels Award (for titles published in 2014)! Full details are below. The judges are meeting this month and the winner will be announced at the London Radical Bookfair on May 9th 2015 at our new fair venue, 47/49 Tanner Street, London (nr. Tower Bridge). The event is FREE and open to all. Any of the shortlisted titles can be bought from the not-for-profit indie booksellers Letterbox Library. This award is run voluntarily and unfunded by Letterbox Library on behalf of the Alliance of Radical Booksellers. To keep this award (and the sister, adult, award Bread & Roses) running, we do ask you to buy from Letterbox Library or from other members of the Alliance of Radical Booksellers wherever possible. Thank you.

And now, drum rolllllllllllll (and in alphabetical order):

 GirlWithAWhiteDog

Girl With a White Dog by Anne Booth
(Catnip Books)

Jessie’s Grandma is sounding confused- and she keeps harking on about past events which are clearly troubling her. Meantime, at school, Jessie is learning about the rise of fascism during the 1930s. Jessie starts to realise that these historical events are not so far removed from the present day prejudices she is witnessing in her immediate neighbourhood. A story about social justice which makes direct links between present-day Britain and Nazi Germany. Ages 9-12 Buy your copy here.

 Grandma

Grandma by Jessica Shepherd
(Child’s Play)

Oscar loves spending time with his Grandma but lately she has been getting forgetful and soon she has to go into a care home. A child-friendly exploration of what dementia is. Includes factual information to help children talk about their feelings and find new ways to enjoy the changing relationship. Ages 4-7 Buy your copy here.

MadeByRaffi

Made by Raffi by Craig Pomranz, ill. by Margaret Chamberlain
(Janetta Otter-Barry Books/Frances Lincoln)

Raffi feels different from the other children at school. He doesn’t like noise and rowdy play. When he discovers the delights of knitting and sewing, he stands out even more. But when he uses these new skills to make a costume for the school play, his classmates become rather more appreciative. A celebration of difference and a challenge to gender stereotypes. Ages 4-7 Buy your copy here.

NadineDreamsofHome

Nadine Dreams of Home by Bernard Ashley
(Barrington Stoke)

By specialist publishers in dyslexia-friendly books and books for reluctant readers. Nadine and her family flee the civil conflict and rebel army in Goma to start over in the UK. But school is a strange and frightening place to Nadine until a teacher finds her a special picture which reminds her of home. Reading Age 7+ Interest Age 7-12 Buy your copy here.

PearlPower2

Pearl Power by Mel Elliott
(I Love Mel)

Pearl has had to move house because her mum has been promoted to ‘The Boss’. Pearl’s new big school works out fine until she encounters Sebastian, a little boy who is keen to suggest that Pearl goes about everything ‘like a girl’. A book about a brave little girl who challenges sexist stereotyping head on. Ages 4-7 Buy your copy here.

ScarletIbis

Scarlet Ibis by Gill Lewis
(Oxford University Press)

Scarlet is used to looking after her little brother so when her mum’s depression results in them being split up into different foster homes, Scarlet is determined to get her brother back. Explores mental health and the complexities of the care system (without demonizing any social workers!) Ages 9-12 Buy your copy here.
nb: Gill Lewis was on the Little Rebels shortlist last year with Moon Bear.

Shh!WeHaveAPlan

Shh! We Have a Plan by Chris Haughton
(Walker Books)

A band of forest folk spot a bird. Three of them have a plan: to sneak up on it and capture it with their nets and cage. One of them, the smallest one, wants to chat to  birdy and feed it crumbs, a gesture which has unexpected consequences. A subtle, minimal words picture book about kindness and friendship winning out over force and enmity. Age 2-6 Buy you copy here.

TroubleOnCableStreet

Trouble on Cable Street by Joan Lingard
(Catnip Books)

A second title from Catnip Books. Set in the East End (London), 1936, Isabella’s family and neighbourhood are surviving in a time of huge transitions. Brother William has gone to join the revolution in Spain; her other brother, Arthur, has joined the Fascist movement spearheaded by Mosley’s Blackshirts. Meantime they’re all trying to get by in a time of low wages, sweatshops and insecure employment, the backdrop to a rise in anti-immigrant sentiments… Ages 9-12 Buy your copy here.

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Little Rebels Award Entries Are Now Closed!

Photo 15-01-2015 10 56 04STOP! Entries are now closed for the Little Rebels Children’s Book Award for Radical Fiction. And what a fantastic load of parcels have landed at the Letterbox Library offices! Read the rest of this entry »

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Submissions are now invited for the 2015 Prize!

The Alliance of Radical Booksellers (ARB) is pleased to announce that the Little Rebels Award for Radical Children’s Fiction is back for its 3rd year- and submisisons are now invited! The 2015 prize is for books published in 2014. The closing date for nominations is January 12th 2015. You can find full details about how to make an entry here: submitting a book Or, for a full set of submission notes, do email the administrators of this award, Letterbox Library, at info@letterboxlibrary.com. The shortlist for the award will be announced in April 2015 and the winner will be announced at the next ARB London Radical Bookfair on Saturday May 9th 2015. The fair is an open and free event so do come and join us! If you’d like to be kept up to date with all of the news about this award and the fair, do sign up to receive updates by email at the bottom of this page (you may need to view the full site). You can also hear updates through Letterbox Library’s and the ARB’s twitter feeds @LetterboxLib and @ARB_information , often under the hashtag #littlerebels.

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The 2014 Winning Little Rebel Is…

Gillian Cross’ acceptance speech ©Asya Gefter

 

The winner of this year’s Little Rebels Award is Gillian Cross for her novel, After Tomorrow (OUP). Little Rebels Judge, Wendy Cooling, described the winning book as Read the rest of this entry »

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The winning little rebel is coming out soon…!

The winner of the Little Rebels Award will be announced on May 10th at the 2014 London Radical Bookfair. This year, the Alliance of Radical Booksellers are joining forces with the Alternative Press Fair and taking over all 3 floors of the Bishopsgate Institute, London EC2M 4QH. This is a free event, open to all. Doors open at 10am. There will be a packed programme of talks as well as a fantastic range of bookstalls. If you’re particularly interested in the Little Rebels side of things, these are the bits we think will interest you most: Read the rest of this entry »

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The Little Rebels Have Come Out!

We are delighted to bring you the 2014 shortlist for the Little Rebels Award (for titles published in 2013). The winner will be announced at the London Radical Bookfair on May 10th 2014. Any of the shortlisted books can be bought from the not-for-profit, indie bookseller Letterbox Library. This award is run voluntarily and unfunded by Letterbox Library on behalf of the Alliance of Radical Booksellers. To keep this award (and the adult Bread & Roses Award alive), we do ask you to buy from Letterbox Library or from other members of the Alliance of Radical Booksellers wherever possible.

And now for the shortlist: Read the rest of this entry »

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Stompity Stomp! The Little Rebels Shortlist Will Be Announced Soon!

…We can hear the stompity stomp of little feet. We’re very excited to bring you the news that this year’s shortlist for the Little Rebels Award for Radical Children’s Fiction will be announced this Saturday! Housmans, London’s oldest radical bookshop, will be hosting a special event at 6.30pm, Saturday 29th March. The shortlist will be announced following a discussion on B.J. Epstein’s new book ‘Are the Kids All Right? Representations of LGBTQ Characters in Children’s and YA Literature’. There is a small entrance fee of £3 which is redeemable against any purchase from Housmans’ superb range. You can find out about this special event by clicking here. Please join us to welcome in the best and brightest of radical children’s fiction published in 2013.

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