Annal: 2002 Guardian Children's Fiction Prize

Results of the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize in the year 2002.

Book:Thursday's Child

Thursday's Child

Sonya Hartnett

Harper Flute believes that her younger brother Tin, with his uncanny ability to dig, was born to burrow. While their family struggles to survive in a bleak landscape during the Great Depression, the silent and elusive little Tin - "born on a Thursday and so fated to his wanderings" - begins to escape underground, tunneling beneath their tiny shanty. As time passes, Tin becomes a wild thing, leaving his family further and further behind.

With exquisite prose, richly drawn characters, and a touch of magical realism, Sonya Hartnett tells a breathtakingly original coming-of-age story through the clear eyes of an observant child. It’s an unsentimental portrait of a loving family faced with poverty and heartbreak, entwined with a surreal vision of the enigmatic Tin, disappearing into a mysterious labyrinth that reaches unimaginably far, yet remains hauntingly near.

Book:The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents

The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents

Terry Pratchett

Maurice, a streetwise tomcat, has come up with the perfect scam. Inspired by the Pied Piper tale, cat and kid lead a band of rats from town to town to fake invasions of vermin. The rewards to get the rats out of town are plentiful. It works perfectly - until their little con game is sussed.

Book:The Dark Horse

The Dark Horse

Marcus Sedgwick

A girl snatched from the wolves, a sealed box that can only be opened by one person, a sinister stranger with black-palmed hands, and a boy destined to lead his clan are woven together in this riveting story of betrayal and ancient magic.

Sig is a boy in a coastal tribe, the Storn, long ago in a Northern land. On the day of the wolf hunt, the life of the tribe changes forever, for Sig rescues a small girl, more like the wolves who shelter her than a human. Sig’s family adopts her and names her Mouse, and he becomes a loyal brother to this girl with mysterious powers and a secret past. The shocking discovery of Mouse’s true identity brings to life a terrifying legend and leads to war, betrayal, and Sig’s coming of age as he finds the wit and courage to save his tribe.

Book:Jake's Tower

Jake's Tower

Elizabeth Laird

It's good that I've found this secret place. I can come here and make plans. My main plan for the future is my dream house. It's very tall and thin. A tower really. There'll be a lift to whiz me up to the top. No one can get to me up there. It's totally safe."

In real life, Jake is never safe. He lives in constant fear of his mother's violent boyfriend. But in his imaginary tower he can dream up his own father - the stranger who gave him a cuddle and a fluffy duck the day he was born and went away for ever. Jake doesn't believe dreams ever come true. But sometimes they do - in strange and surprising ways.

Book:The Shell House

The Shell House

Linda Newbery

When Greg stumbles across the beautiful ruins of Graveney Hall, he becomes intrigued by the story behind its destruction. He and his friend Faith are drawn into a quest to discover the fate of Graveney's last heir, Edmund, a young soldier who disappeared in mysterious circumstances during the First World War. But Greg's investigations force him to question his own views on love and faith, and reveal more about himself than he would ever have imagined.

This is a complex and thought-provoking book, written with elegance and subtlety. It will change the way you think.

The Shell House is a beautifully written and sensitive portrayal of love, sexuality and spirituality over two generations.

Book:Warehouse

Warehouse

Keith Gray

'I know a place you can go'. It's a secret place hidden among the run down buildings of the derelict dockyards. A community of young people who have gathered in an old warehouse to get away from a world they don't fit in to. Through separate but interweaving narratives, Warehouse tells the stories of three of the community's members.

There's Robbie who is running away from his violent older brother, Frank, and needs some space to realise that the beatings are not his fault. Amy, who's supposed to be travelling in Europe but has had her rucksack stolen and is too proud to ask her smothering family for help. And then there's Lem, an ex-drug-addict and founder of the Warehouse community, whose perceived role as leader by the other young people is too much for him to cope with.

A gripping story about a community of runaways.

Book:Exodus

Exodus

Julie Bertagna

It is 2099 - and the world is gradually drowning, as mighty Arctic ice floes melt, the seas rise, and land disappears forever beneath storm-tossed waves. For 15-year-old Mara, her family and community, huddted on the fast-disappearing island of Wing, the new century brings flight. Packed into tiny boats, a terrifying journey begins to a bizarre city that rises into the sky, built on the drowned remains of the ancient city of Glasgow. But even here there is no safety and, shut out of the city, Mara realizes they are asylum-seekers in a world torn between high-tech wizardry and the most primitive injustice. To save her people, Mara must not only find a way into the city but also search for a new land and a new home...

Book:Green Boy

Green Boy

Susan Cooper

Trey and his troubled but sensitive brother Lou live in the Bahamas and have grown up in the home of their grandparents, exploring around Long Pond Cay. Their way of life is threatened when ruthless developers see the financial possibilities of the area. Then they accidentally enter a parallel world called Panagaia, a horrifying vision of the future where greed, overpopulation and technology have shut out the stars and choked everything green. Carried between the two worlds in a zigzag adventure of mounting tension and danger, the children risk their lives not only to save the alien world but also to ward off the threat to Long Pond Cay.

Book:Revenge House

Revenge House

Bernard Ashley

When Sophia and her mum move into Revenge House, on the lonely and windswept Romney Marshes, little do they know how the timbers of the ancient building are steeped in the secretive life of the marshes. They are both struggling to cope with the death of Sophia's father, although Sophia is embarking on a tentative romance with a local boy who is sensitive to her feelings. But suddenly they all find themselves sucked in to a criminal underworld that will eventually threaten their lives.

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