Annal: 2001 Guardian Children's Fiction Prize

Results of the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize in the year 2001.

Book:The Seeing Stone

The Seeing Stone: Book 1 of Arthur Trilogy

Kevin Crossley-Holland

It is 1199 and young Arthur de Caldicot is waiting impatiently to grow up and become a knight. One day his friend’s father, Merlin, gives him a shining piece of obsidian, and his life becomes entwined with that of his namesake, the Arthur whose story he sees unfold in the stone.

In this many-layered novel, King Arthur is seen as a mysterious presence influencing not just one time and place, but many. The 100 short chapters are almost like snapshots, not only of the mythic tales of King Arthur, but the earthy, uncomfortable reality of the Middle Ages. Written in the direct, open voice of a real boy living in a time of uncertainty about the future, this story touches on the issues of war and peace, social inequity, religion, reason, and superstition.

Book:My Brother's Ghost

My Brother's Ghost

Allan Ahlberg

As Frances Fogarty looks back at her childhood, she reveals the strange circumstances surrounding her older brother Tom's death. Did he really come back to look out for her and her younger brother - or is her memory playing tricks? This touching tale of loss, love, and endurance is not about endings, but about a new beginning in another place. Allan Ahlberg has once again taken an original perspective on a well-loved genre, unsettling common assumptions of what a ghost story should be.

Book:Raspberries on the Yangtze

Raspberries on the Yangtze

Karen Wallace

The Yangtze in this story is not a river in China. It's a name Nancy gives to a special place near the edge of her town in the back-woods of Quebec, Canada. It's here, where the wild raspberries grow, that Nancy and her friends, the strange and wonderful sisters Clare and Amy, explore and let their imaginations soar.

The girls wonder about their neighbor, Sandra the troublemaker, and her older teenage sister, Tracy. Sandra's mother thinks Nancy is a bad influence. But Nancy has seen and heard strange things happening at Sandra's house. She's sure there are more secrets hidden behind their closed doors.

During this summer of change, as Nancy struggles to make sense of the world around her, she learns that things are seldom what they seem. Once something is revealed, Nancy can't go back to the way she was before.

Book:Witch Child

Witch Child

Celia Rees

Enter the world of young Mary Newbury, a world where simply being different can cost a person her life. Hidden until now in the pages of her diary, Mary’s startling story begins in 1659, the year her beloved grandmother is hanged in the public square as a witch. Mary narrowly escapes a similar fate, only to face intolerance and new danger among the Puritans in the New World. How long can she hide her true identity? Will she ever find a place where her healing powers will not be feared?

Book:24 Hours

24 Hours

Margaret Mahy

It is seventeen-year-old Ellis's first night at home after graduating from prep school. By chance he bumps into Jackie Cattle, whom he remembers from grade school. Jackie is a couple of years older than Ellis, a drifter, disreputable, yet with an odd charm and a disarming wit.

For the next twenty-four hours, Ellis enters an extraordinary world on the fringe of society that he never knew existed. Jackie introduces him to life at the Land-of-Smiles, a dilapidated motel where nightly a strange collection of local characters gather to drink and talk. Two attractive sisters, Ursa and Leona, the elder studying to be a lawyer, live there. Leona loves and takes care of a baby whose mother stops in only once in a while. Then the baby disappears, and Ellis is thrust into a wild, sometimes almost violent search for the child.

This is a stunning novel that grips the reader as it sweeps to its conclusion. Rich characterization, breathtaking action, and an ultimately heartwarming solution distinguish this latest triumph of Margaret Mahy.

Book:Girl in Red

Girl in Red

Gaye Hicyilmaz

Frankie is entranced by the girl in the red skirt, the gypsy from Romania who speaks no English. It is a terrible shock to him when his neighbours on the estate react violently against Emilia's people, and what's worse is that it's his mother leading the protest.

Book:Heathrow Nights

Heathrow Nights

Jan Mark

What do you do if you get banned from the school trip for disrupting a performance of Shakespeare's Hamlet, and you don't want to tell your parents? The solution for Russell and his mates is to hide out in London. But when their plans go wrong, Russell is left alone with his thoughts. How can he cope with his father's death? Why did his mother remarry so quickly? Does he have to get on with his step-dad? Sleeping rough, Russell has plenty of time to think about life, death and Hamlet...at Heathrow Airport.

Book:Journey to the River Sea

Journey to the River Sea

Eva Ibbotson, Kevin Hawkes

With the memorable characters and plot twists she brings to her best-selling fantasies, Eva Ibbotson has written a hair-raising novel, set in turn-of-the-last-century Brazil.

Maia, an orphan, is sent from England to live with unfamiliar cousins on a rubber plantation in South America. The brave, curious girl and her fierce but kind governess arrive in their new home, each with secret hopes of adventure. These are immediately quashed by the Carters, who hate their adopted land and its inhabitants. They are obsessed with re-creating England in the forest, right down to the watery puddings. It is only through friendship with a mysterious Indian boy (who just might be the heir to a large fortune) and a runaway child actor (who specializes in Little Lord Fauntleroy) that Maia and Miss Minton, her governess, find the excitement they longed for: an unexpected expedition into the heart of the Amazon, in search of a lost tribe and the legendary giant sloth.

Book:The Other Side Of Truth

The Other Side Of Truth

Beverley Naidoo

Sade is slipping her English book into her
schoolbag when her Mama screams. Two sharp
cracks splinter the air.
“Mama mi?” She whispers

Twelve-year-old Sade’s journalist father is a vocal critic of the corrupt government in Nigeria. When Sade’s mother is murdered, her family sees in bloody detail the violent risks that come with exposing the truth.

Her father arranges for Sade and her younger brother to be smuggled to their uncle in London for safety. On the streets of London, the plans fall apart and they are abandoned, passed from foster home to foster home. They try to contact their uncle…[more]

Book:Troy

Troy

Adèle Geras

The classic struggle between Greece and Troy brought to life by a panoramic chorus of voices both humble and high, human and divine.

The siege of Troy has lasted almost ten years. Inside the walled city, food is becoming scarce and the death toll is rising. From the heights of Mount Olympus, the Gods keep watch.

But Aphrodite, Goddess of Love, is bored with the endless, dreary war, and so she turns her attention to two sisters: Marpessa, who is gifted with God-sight and serves as handmaiden to Helen, the most beautiful woman in the world; and Xanthe, who is kind and loving and tends the wounded soldiers in the Blood Room. When Eros fits an arrow to his silver-lit bow and lets it fly, neither sister will escape its power. …[more]

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