The Little Rebels Children’s Book Award

Radical fiction award given by the Alliance of Radical Booksellers

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:

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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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