The Little Rebels Children’s Book Award for Radical Fiction is back!

Regular Rhino readers will know that I have a soft spot for Letterbox Library. They have a special place in my heart because they stand for everything I believe in and they work their socks off to promote brilliant books for children. And they love chocolate truffles (nearly) as much as I do. A very important quality!

Earlier this year I wrote about the wonderful Little Rebels Children’s Book Award for Radical Fiction. The exciting news is that it’s back for its 2nd year to celebrate more radical children’s books, and Letterbox Library have been asked again to administer the award on behalf of the Alliance of Radical Booksellers. Hurrah!

The Little Rebels Children’s Book Award for Radical Fiction celebrates children’s fiction for readers aged 0-12 which promotes social justice.

This year’s Little Rebels Winner was Sarah Garland for her Amnesty-endorsed graphic novel, Azzi In Between (Frances Lincoln). Other shortlisted titles were Hans and Matilda by Yokococo (Templar/Bonnier), Wild Child by Jeanne Willis (author) and Lorna Freytag (ill.) (Walker) and The Terrible Thing That Happened to Barnaby Brocket by John Boyne (Random House UK: 2012).

I loved covering the Little Rebels Award last year and discovered some really special books that I might otherwise have missed. In fact, I just looked up as I wrote that and saw my book nook on the landing. Look what two special books are on there this week!!

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Wild Child and Hans and Matilda have become firm favourites in this house, and I can’t wait to see the new short list and join in the Little Rebels journey next year. What radical gems will they uncover this time? We’ll all have to wait a little bit longer as submissions have just opened and the closing date for publisher nominations is Jan 13th 2014. The shortlist will be announced in April 2014 and the winner will be announced at the ARB’s 2nd London Radical Bookfair on Saturday May 10th 2014 at the Bishopsgate Institute, London. This year’s London Radical Bookfair was a huge success, so mark the date in your diary now (or if you’re like me, scribble it in the margins of the December page of your calendar and spend Boxing Day updating it on your nice new one).

Another exciting piece of news is that Kim Reynolds* will be joining the Little Rebels guest judges. Speaking about the award, Kim Reynolds said, “Little Rebels is the most recent manifestation of an honourable but for the most part over-looked tradition in children’s publishing that uses stories to celebrate human rights, equality, diversity, and efforts to transform society in ways that are inclusive and sustainable…Often transforming society requires bold thinking and bold action, and so this prize focuses on books that help readers become the kind of ‘little rebels’ who one day will catalyse social change rather than carrying on in the same old ways regardless of the costs and consequences”.

I love that quote- ‘this prize focuses on books that help readers become the kind of ‘little rebels’ who one day will catalyse social change’. Yes! *That* is why I write this blog and *that* is why The Little Rebels Award is so important. So let’s all get behind it this year, and spread the word to publishers, authors and illustrators of books that can help our children change the world.

(Publishers are being invited to submit children’s fiction for readers aged 0-12 which promote social justice and which were first published in 2013. Full submission guidelines can be found at www.littlerebelsaward.wordpress.com)

*Kim Reynolds is the author of the award-winning Radical Children’s Literature (Palgrave MacMillan: 2010). She is a Professor of Children’s Literature at Newcastle University and is the former President of the International Research Society for Children’s Literature as well as former chair of Booktrust. She will be joined by the 2012 Little Rebels guest judges: award-winning children’s author, Elizabeth Laird and Bookstart co-founder, editor and Eleanor Farjeon Award recipient (2006), Wendy Cooling.

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