The Little Rebels Children’s Book Award

Radical fiction award given by the Alliance of Radical Booksellers

Join Us on May 7th for a Radical Children’s Book Fest!

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We’re pleased to announce the Big Rebels who will be joining us on May 7th!

The London Radical Bookfair is taking place on Saturday, May 7th at Goldsmiths University between 12 and 6pm. This is a free event which is open to all; there is no need to book. All the fair details are HERE.

For fans of the Little Rebels Award for Radical Fiction, there will be a special panel of some of the shortlisted authors and illustrators at 3pm. So come along and see them speak about their rabble-rousing books before hearing the winner announcement (approx. 5.15pm). Letterbox Library will have a stand all day and we’ll be selling all the shortlisted books (alongside a broader range of rad. children’s books) at a discount. Do pop by and say hello; one of the things we love most about the fair is catching up with old faces and seeing new ones.

The panel of Little Rebels Shortlistees will be chaired by Little Rebels judge, Wendy Cooling.

This year, our Little Rebels Shortlistee Panel will include:

Gill Lewis, author of Gorilla Dawn

We’re delighted that the winner of last year’s Little Rebels Award, Gill Lewis, is attending the panel this year. And this is a hat trick for her: Moon Bear was shortlisted in 2014 and Scarlet Ibis won last year. Gill is famous for novels which interweave animal and human narratives. Shortlisted for a number of awards, Gill’s winners include Moon Bear for the German Environmental Prize for Children’s Literature and White Dolphin for the US Green Earth Book Award. Skyhawk not only won the US Green Earth Book Award again but was also named the UK Library Association (UKLA) Children’s Book of the Year.

Alexis Deacon and Viviane Schwarz, author/ill. of I Am Henry Finch

Viviane is an internationally published children’s author and illustrator. Her work ranges from picture books for toddlers through to comics for older readers. She also invents games! She won the 2011 Booktrust Best New Illustrators’ Award, was twice shortlisted for the CILIP Greenaway Medal and was shortlisted for the 2011 Roald Dahl Funny Award.

Alexis is a children’s book author and illustrator. His first ever book, Slow Loris, published in 2002, was named in Time Magazine’s prestigious list of the one hundred best ever children’s books. Alexis has twice received The New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Books Award and, in 2008, he was chosen by Booktrust as one of the ten best new illustrators of the preceding decade. Alexis and Viviane have worked together before on picture books Cheese Belongs To You! and A Place to Call Home.

Michael Foreman, author of The Little Bookshop and the Origami Army

Michael Foreman is a highly prolific children’s author and illustrator who needs little introduction. As well as illustrating countless books for other authors over the years, Michael also writes and illustrates his own books. He enjoys writing about earlier periods of history, including conflict and war, in books such as After The War Was Over (1995), shortlisted for a Kate Greenaway Medal and winner of the 1993 Nestlé Smarties Book Prize. His latest books include Newspaper Boy and the Origami Girl (2012) (Origami Girl’s first outing!), The Tortoise and the Soldier (2015) and The Seeds of Friendship (2016). He has twice been nominated for the biennial, international Hans Christian Andersen Award for his contribution as a children’s illustrator, first in 1988 and again in 2010.

Neal Layton, illustrator of Uncle Gobb and the Dread Shed

Neal and Michael have collaborated before, on picture books Rover, Monster and Howler. Neal is a multi-media artist and is very popular on the Smarties list! He has twice won the Bronze Smarties Award and was then awarded the Gold for That Rabbit Belongs to Emily Brown.  He and Michael will be bringing you a sequel, Uncle Gobb and the Green Heads, early next year.

Unfortunately Michael Rosen will be unable to attend the bookfair. He has the best excuse: on the 7th May he will be celebrating his 70th birthday. What a legend. And what a great contributor to the landscape of radical children’s literature over so many years- in his books, his public speaking, his thinking and his blogging including the wonderful letter series in The Guardian: Dear Mr Gove… and Dear Nicky Morgan… We wish you the happiest of birthdays, Michael!

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Join Us on May 7th for a Radical Children’s Book Fest!

Photo 19-04-2016, 09 41 22

We’re pleased to announce the Big Rebels who will be joining us on May 7th!

The London Radical Bookfair is taking place on Saturday, May 7th at Goldsmiths University between 12 and 6pm. This is a free event which is open to all; there is no need to book. All the fair details are HERE.

For fans of the Little Rebels Award for Radical Fiction, there will be a special panel of some of the shortlisted authors and illustrators at 3pm. So come along and see them speak about their rabble-rousing books before hearing the winner announcement (approx. 5.15pm). Letterbox Library will have a stand all day and we’ll be selling all the shortlisted books (alongside a broader range of rad. children’s books) at a discount. Do pop by and say hello; one of the things we love most about the fair is catching up with old faces and seeing new ones.

The panel of Little Rebels Shortlistees will be chaired by Little Rebels judge, Wendy Cooling.

This year, our Little Rebels Shortlistee Panel will include:

Gill Lewis, author of Gorilla Dawn

We’re delighted that the winner of last year’s Little Rebels Award, Gill Lewis, is attending the panel this year. And this is a hat trick for her: Moon Bear was shortlisted in 2014 and Scarlet Ibis won last year. Gill is famous for novels which interweave animal and human narratives. Shortlisted for a number of awards, Gill’s winners include Moon Bear for the German Environmental Prize for Children’s Literature and White Dolphin for the US Green Earth Book Award. Skyhawk not only won the US Green Earth Book Award again but was also named the UK Library Association (UKLA) Children’s Book of the Year.

Alexis Deacon and Viviane Schwarz, author/ill. of I Am Henry Finch

Viviane is an internationally published children’s author and illustrator. Her work ranges from picture books for toddlers through to comics for older readers. She also invents games! She won the 2011 Booktrust Best New Illustrators’ Award, was twice shortlisted for the CILIP Greenaway Medal and was shortlisted for the 2011 Roald Dahl Funny Award.

Alexis is a children’s book author and illustrator. His first ever book, Slow Loris, published in 2002, was named in Time Magazine’s prestigious list of the one hundred best ever children’s books. Alexis has twice received The New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Books Award and, in 2008, he was chosen by Booktrust as one of the ten best new illustrators of the preceding decade. Alexis and Viviane have worked together before on picture books Cheese Belongs To You! and A Place to Call Home.

Michael Foreman, author of The Little Bookshop and the Origami Army

Michael Foreman is a highly prolific children’s author and illustrator who needs little introduction. As well as illustrating countless books for other authors over the years, Michael also writes and illustrates his own books. He enjoys writing about earlier periods of history, including conflict and war, in books such as After The War Was Over (1995), shortlisted for a Kate Greenaway Medal and winner of the 1993 Nestlé Smarties Book Prize. His latest books include Newspaper Boy and the Origami Girl (2012) (Origami Girl’s first outing!), The Tortoise and the Soldier (2015) and The Seeds of Friendship (2016). He has twice been nominated for the biennial, international Hans Christian Andersen Award for his contribution as a children’s illustrator, first in 1988 and again in 2010.

Neal Layton, illustrator of Uncle Gobb and the Dread Shed

Neal and Michael have collaborated before, on picture books Rover, Monster and Howler. Neal is a multi-media artist and is very popular on the Smarties list! He has twice won the Bronze Smarties Award and was then awarded the Gold for That Rabbit Belongs to Emily Brown.  He and Michael will be bringing you a sequel, Uncle Gobb and the Green Heads, early next year.

Unfortunately Michael Rosen will be unable to attend the bookfair. He has the best excuse: on the 7th May he will be celebrating his 70th birthday. What a legend. And what a great contributor to the landscape of radical children’s literature over so many years- in his books, his public speaking, his thinking and his blogging including the wonderful letter series in The Guardian: Dear Mr Gove… and Dear Nicky Morgan… We wish you the happiest of birthdays, Michael!

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The 2016 Shortlist: all the little rebels have come out to play!!

RosAsquithPicture

illustration by Ros Asquith

We are proud to announce the Little Rebels Shortlist for 2016! We have 6 books on the shortlist this year. All stood out as literary rebels on the children’s literature scene for books published in 2015.

Full details of the books are published below. As always all can be bought from the award administrators, Letterbox Library, a specialist children’s booksellers who are also a not-for-profit and a workers cooperative. (And, during #littlerebels season -April to June- the shortlisted books are also listed at a special price).

The Little Rebels judges are meeting this month and the winner will be announced at the London Radical Bookfair on May 7th 2016 at the Alliance of Radical Booksellers’ new fair venue, Goldsmiths University. You can keep on top of the fair at @ARBRadBookfair The event is FREE and open to all. Please join us!

This award is run voluntarily and unfunded by Letterbox Library on behalf of the Alliance of Radical Booksellers (ARB). To keep this award (and the sister, adult, award Bread & Roses) running, we do ask you to buy from Letterbox Library or from other ARB members  wherever possible. Thank you.

And now, with much, much fanfare (and in alphabetical order), we present you with the shortlist:

theboyatthetopofthemountain

 The Boy at the Top of the Mountain by John Boyne

(Doubleday/Penguin Random House UK)

It’s a hat trick for John Boyne- this is his 3rd time on the Little Rebels shortlist, following on from the shortlistings of The Terrible Thing That Happened to Barnaby Brocket in 2013 and Stay Where You Are and Then Leave in 2014. In his latest exploration of the cruelties of war, Boyne introduces a boy called Pierrot, orphaned at a young age, who ends up in Hitler’s Austrian house in the mountains, the Berghof. Pierrot starts out as a kind, sensitive child who loathes bullying and shares a magical friendship with a Jewish boy, Anshel (who is also deaf). But then gradually, over the years at Berghof we see Pierrot become Pieter, slowly but surely infected by Nazi ideology, prejudice, and racism- and by the trappings of power. A study of corruption and atonement. Ages 11+ Buy your copy here.

GorillaDawn

Gorilla Dawn by Gill Lewis

(Oxford University Press)

Gill Lewis was named winner of the Little Rebels Award in 2015 for Scarlet Ibis and this is now the 3rd time Gill Lewis has been shortlisted (see also Moon Bear)! This is classic Lewis- the interweaving of separate animal and human stories to expose issues around social justice. Set in the Democratic Republic of Congo, this story explores how the farming of a mineral needed for mobile phones is destroying the gorilla’s natural habitat. Linked to this is the story of two children, Imara and Bob, who are held by a group of rebel soldiers. Fundamentally a story about exploitation (by both rebel soldiers and Western companies)- of children, of animals- for profit. Ages 11+ Buy your copy here.

imagirl

I’m A Girl! by Yasmeen Ismail

(Bloomsbury Books)

An energetic picture book which takes on gender stereotypes and smashes them to smithereens. Meet a girl who is competitive, noisy, brainy, speedy, messy and, who is consequently… repeatedly mistaken for a boy. Puts paid to all of those tiresome ‘boys are…’ ‘girls are…’ opening lines. Age 4-7 Buy your copy here.

iamhenryfinch

I Am Henry Finch by Alexis Deacon; illustrated by Viviane Schwarz

(Walker Books)

The finches exist as an undifferentiated flock, going through each day together, doing the same thing, at the same pace. And then…one night, one particular finch, Henry Finch, has a thought. And he hears it. And he knows himself to be Henry Finch. And, therefore, also capable of greatness… A highly original philosophical book for the very young, addressing individualism, bravery, finding your way and, even, existentialism. Age 6-11 Buy your copy here.

thelittlebookshopandtheorigamiarmy

The Little Bookshop and the Origami Army! by Michael Foreman

(Andersen Press)

Superhero Origami Girl is back and this time she is on a mission to save a local bookshop. Foreman delivers us all of the defining ingredients of a ‘radical’ children’s book; this could have been written for the Little Rebels Award with its themes of: capitalism threatening a local community and independent businesses, the complacency of governments in the face of large corporations, the possibilities of people power and local community action. Age 4-7 Buy your copy here.

unclegobbandthedreadedshed

Uncle Gobb and the Dread Shed by Michael Rosen; illustrated by Neal Layton

(Bloomsbury Books)

As the back cover reads, “A completely bonkers book that is not linked to Gobb Education at all”. Malcolm is a sensible 10-year-old full of sensible questions. Which leads to one or two clashes with Uncle Gobb, Uncle Gobb’s world views and his dreaded shed.  Two artists known for their comic touch combine forces to deliver an anarchic story which exposes and shames, hilariously, many aspects of contemporary culture but, in particular, recent educational policies. All done so in a way which nods knowingly to both adults and children. Age 7-10 Buy your copy here.

 

 

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Entries for feistiest children’s book award now closed!

Submissions are now closed for the UK’s one and only award for radical children’s fiction, the Alliance of Radical Booksellers’ Little Rebels Children’s Book Award. Perhaps award administrators always says this but…truly, the submissions pile seems bigger than ever. We have at least 4 boxes full of titles submitted by a wonderful mix of UK publishers from the tiniest independents to the biggest children’s book ‘players’. Fingers crossed, this award will continue to thrive and, in doing so, we hope it will begin to trace and showcase a canon of radical children’s book publishing in the UK. Now for the hard work of shortlisting…fig rolls, tea mugs and quite a bit of head scratching. Watch out for a shortlist announcement at the end March/early April 2016. And get this date in your diary for the winner announcement: Saturday May 7th 2016, London Radical Bookfair!

 

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To all publishers of thought-provoking children’s books…

…Nominations are now invited for the Little Rebels Award for Radical Children’s Fiction 2016. Now in its 4th year, the 2016 prize is for books published in 2015. The closing date for nominations is January 11th 2016. You can find full details about how to make an entry here. 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 2016 and the winner will be announced at the next ARB London Radical Bookfair on Saturday May 7th 2016. 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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Welcome to our latest little rebel, author Catherine Johnson!

CatherineJohnsonPubPhotoNov2015We are delighted to announce that we have a new member on our Little Rebels Award judging panel. Welcome Catherine Johnson! Author, scriptwriter, screenwriter and all-round person extraordinaire, we’re delighted that Catherine will be joining us. Some of you may have seen her speak at the London Radical Bookfair back in May 2014 on a panel which looked at the state of radical children’s fiction in the UK. And many, many of you will know her as the author of middle grade and YA novels, including her latest, The Curious Case of the Lady Caraboo, currently nominated for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2016. To read more about Catherine’s work, click here and to find out more about our little rebels award judges, click here.

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“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:

Read the rest of this entry »

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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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