Honor roll: Guardian Children's Fiction Prize

Each of these books has been nominated for a Guardian Children's Fiction Prize. They are ranked by honors received.

Book:Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: Book 3 of Harry Potter

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban: Book 3 of Harry Potter

J.K. Rowling

For twelve long years, the dread fortress of Azkaban held an infamous prisoner named Sirius Black. Convicted of killing thirteen people with a single curse, he was said to be the heir apparent to the Dark Lord, Voldemort.

Now he has escaped, leaving only two clues as to where he might be headed: Harry Potter’s defeat of You-Know-Who was Black’s downfall as well. And the Azkaban guards heard Black muttering in his sleep “He’s at Hogwarts… he’s at Hogwarts.”

Harry Potter isn’t safe, not even within the walls of his magical school, surrounded by his friends. Because on top of it all, there may well be a traitor in their midst.

Book:Nation (Pratchett)

Nation

Terry Pratchett

“The sea has taken everything.”

Mau is the only one left after a giant wave sweeps his island village away. But when much is taken, something is returned, and somewhere in the jungle Daphne—a girl from the other side of the globe—is the sole survivor of a ship destroyed by the same wave.

Together the two confront the aftermath of catastrophe. Drawn by the smoke of Mau and Daphne’s sheltering fire, other refugees slowly arrive: children without parents, mothers without babies, husbands without wives—all of them hungry and all of them frightened. As Mau and Daphne struggle to keep the small band safe and fed, they defy ancestral spirits, challenge death himself, and uncover a long-hidden secret that literally turns the world upside down….

Internationally revered storyteller Terry Pratchett presents a breathtaking adventure of survival and discovery, and of the courage required to forge new beliefs.

Book:The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time: A Novel

Mark Haddon

Christopher John Francis Boone knows all the countries of the world and their capitals and every prime number up to 7,057. He relates well to animals but has no understanding of human emotions. He cannot stand to be touched. Although gifted with a superbly logical brain, Christopher is autistic. Everyday interactions and admonishments have little meaning for him. Routine, order and predictability shelter him from the messy, wider world. Then, at fifteen, Christopher’s carefully constructed world falls apart when he finds his neighbor’s dog, Wellington, impaled on a garden fork, and he is initially blamed for the killing.

Christopher decides that he will track down the real killer and turns to his favorite fictional character, the impeccably logical Sherlock Holmes, for inspiration. But the investigation leads him down some unexpected paths and ultimately brings him face to face with the dissolution of his parents’ marriage. As he tries to deal with the crisis within his own family, we are drawn…[more]

Book:How I Live Now

How I Live Now

Meg Rosoff

“Every war has turning points and every person too.”

Fifteen-year-old Daisy is sent from Manhattan to England to visit her aunt and cousins she’s never met: three boys near her age, and their little sister. Her aunt goes away on business soon after Daisy arrives. The next day bombs go off as London is attacked and occupied by an unnamed enemy.

As power fails, and systems fail, the farm becomes more isolated. Despite the war, it’s a kind of Eden, with no adults in charge and no rules, a place where Daisy’s uncanny bond with her cousins grows into something rare and extraordinary. But the war is everywhere, and Daisy and her cousins must lead each other into a world that is unknown in the scariest, most elemental way.

Book:The Fire-Eaters

The Fire-Eaters

David Almond

Bobby Burns knows he’s a lucky lad. Growing up in sleepy Keely Bay, Bobby is exposed to all manner of wondrous things: stars reflecting off the icy sea, a friend that can heal injured fawns with her dreams, a man who can eat fire. But darkness seems to be approaching Bobby’s life from all sides. Bobby’s new school is a cold, cruel place. His father is suffering from a mysterious illness that threatens to tear his family apart. And the USA and USSR are testing nuclear missiles and creeping closer and closer to a world-engulfing war.

Together with his wonder-working friend, Ailsa Spink, and the fire-eating illusionist McNulty, Bobby will learn to believe in miracles that will save the people and place he loves.

Book:Kit's Wilderness

Kit's Wilderness

David Almond

“It was very deep, Kit. Very dark. And every one of us was scared of it. As a lad I’d wake up trembling, knowing that as a Watson born in Stoneygate I’d soon be following my ancestors into the pit,” so Kit’s grandfather tells him.

The Watson family moves to Stoneygate, an old coal-mining town, to care for Kit’s recently widowed grandfather. When Kit meets John Askew, another boy whose family had both worked and died in the mines, Askew invites Kit to join him to play a game called Death. As Kit’s grandfather provides stories of the mine’s past and the history of the Watson family, the boys search the mines to find the childhood ghosts of their long-gone ancestors.

Written in haunting prose and lyrical language, Kit’s Wilderness explores the bonds of family from one generation to the next, and how from the depths of darkness, meaning and beauty can be revealed.

Book:Dead End in Norvelt

Dead End in Norvelt

Jack Gantos

Melding the entirely true and the wildly fictional, Dead End in Norvelt is a novel about an incredible two months for a kid named Jack Gantos, whose plans for vacation excitement are shot down when he is “grounded for life” by his feuding parents, and whose nose spews bad blood at every little shock he gets. But plenty of excitement (and shocks) are coming Jack’s way once his mom loans him out to help a fiesty old neighbor with a most unusual chore—typewriting obituaries filled with stories about the people who founded his utopian town. As one obituary leads to another, Jack is launced on a strange adventure involving molten wax, Eleanor Roosevelt, twisted promises, a homemade airplane, Girl Scout cookies, a man on a trike, a dancing plague, voices from the past, Hells Angels…and possibly murder. Endlessly surprising, this sly, sharp-edged narrative is the author at his very best, making readers laugh out loud at the most unexpected things in a dead-funny depiction of growing up in a slightly off-kilter place where the past is present, the present is confusing, and the future is completely up in the air. 

Book:The New Policeman

The New Policeman

Kate Thompson

Who knows where the time goes?

There is never enough of it in Kinvara, or anywhere else in Ireland for that matter. When Helen Liddy is asked what she wants for her birthday, she says, “Time. That’s what I want. Time.”

For generations the Liddys have been musicians, and fifteen-year old JJ is continuing the tradition with his wonderful fiddle-playing. But one day in the school yard he discovers that music might not be the only thing that runs in his veins. Can it be true that his great-grandfather was a murderer?

When JJ sets out to buy his mother some time he discovers the answer as well as some truly remarkable things about music, myth and magic. And more.

Who knows where the time goes?

JJ does.

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:Junk

Junk

Melvin Burgess

When Gemma, a rebellious 14-year-old bored with life in her small seaside town, decides to run away to join her boyfriend Tar in London, the pair are offered shelter in a squat. They meet two heroin addicts and are themselves soon hooked, while Gemma is forced into prostitution to pay for the drug.

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