Six brilliant titles shortlisted for 2016 Little Rebels Children’s Book Award

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Well done to all the authors shortlisted for the 2016 Little Rebels Award. The nominees for the award, now in its fourth year, include three children’s books and three picture books, featuring themes ranging from the education system to gender stereotypes.

Run by specialist children’s booksellers Letterbox Library, the Little Rebels Children’s Book Award recognises fiction that celebrates social justice and equality for children aged 0-12.

The first of this year’s nominees is John Boyne for The Boy at the Top of the Mountain – the story of one child’s moral corruption when he goes to stay in Hitler’s holiday house, the Berghof, in 1935. This is a hat-trick for Boyne, author of the hugely successful The Boy In The Striped Pyjamas, who was previously shortlisted for The Terrible Thing That Happened to Barnaby Brocket in 2013 and Stay Where You Are and Then Leave in 2014

Also scoring her third nomination is Gill Lewis for Gorilla Dawn. A novel about exploitation set in the Democratic Republic of Congo, it explores how the farming of a mineral needed for mobile phones is destroying the gorilla’s natural habitat. Lewis was the winner of the 2015 Little Rebels Award with Scarlet Ibis, and she was shortlisted in 2014 with Moon Bear.

Michael Rosen has also made the shortlist for Uncle Gobb and the Dread Shed. Rosen joined forces with illustrator Neal Layton to deliver this anarchic story which exposes and shames many aspects of contemporary culture but, in particular, recent educational policies. 

Also vying for the award are: Yasmeen Ismail for her energetic picture book I’m a Girl which takes on gender stereotypes by portraying a girl character whose behaviour leads to her repeatedly mistaken for a boy; Alexis Deacon and illustrator Viviane Schwarz for  I Am Henry Finch, a highly original, philosophical book for the very young, that addresses individualism, bravery, finding your way and, even, existentialism; and Michael Foreman for the return of Superhero Origami Girl as she battles to save a local bookshop in The Little Bookshop and the Origami Army!

Ginger Books is a big fan of Letterbox Library which was set up by two like-minded single mums concerned about the children’s books available to their daughters. Very few reflected their family lives and just as few showed girls in exciting, active roles. Three decades on and the non-for-profit social enterprise has about 300 titles listed on its catalogue.

This Little Rebels Children’s Book Award is run voluntarily and unfunded by Letterbox Library on behalf of the Alliance of Radical Booksellers (ARB). The winner will be announced at the London Radical Bookfair on May 7, 2016, at the Alliance of Radical Booksellers’ new fair venue, Goldsmiths University.