Today the longlist for the Guardian Children’s Ficton Award was revealed. I love this prize and discovering new titles through it (especially ones that aren’t published in the U.S.). Here they are with some commentary from me:
- Five Children on the Western Front by Kate Saunders. I first learned of this book when it was shortlisted for the Costa Prize and immediately ordered it from the U.K. I thought it outstanding (my review here) and was thrilled when it won the Costa. Very happy to see it on this list. Would be even happier if it was published in the U. S.
- My Name’s Not Friday by Jon Walter. I’ve heard such great things about this book (especially from its publisher David Fickling) and have moved the ARC way up on my to-read pile. Can’t wait to read it.
- An Island of our Own by Sally Nicholls. I was a big fan of this author’s earlier title, Ways to Live Forever (was a contender for the very first Battle of the Kids’ Books) and so, when I saw this title, immediately downloaded the ebook. Looks great fun.
- The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge. I’m a big fan of this author and some time ago when I saw a review of this I immediately got the ebook (only edition available in the US). It is fabulous, fabulous, fabulous.
- El Deafo, by Cece Bell. Er… there is this and my thoughts here. Darn cool to see it here!
- A Song for Ella Grey by David Almond. This writer is always magical and here he is evidently reworking The Odyssey. I’m in and have moved the ARC up on my to-read pile.
- All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven. This has gotten raves in the US.
- Apple and Rain Sarah Crossan. Another to move up on my to-read pile.
7 responses to “My Thoughts on The Guardian Children’s Fiction Award Long List”
It’s a great longlist this year.
I actually ordered Five Children on the Western Front from the UK because it was so highly praised, but on starting it I was immediately put off because of the inaccuracies in regard to Nesbit’s original stories. I haven’t been able to get any further because of this, doubting that the author had even read the books. Was there a reason for these changes?
Really? What were the inaccuracies? I think she did make her story original, but did a lovely job referencing the original.
Well, it starts out by saying that the Psammead was originally found IN the garden of the house where the children were on holiday…but actually in Five Children and It the house was “between a chalk-quarry and a gravel-pit,” and the gravel-pit was where the Psammead lived (the distance needed to get there was of some importance to the story, and it could only be accessed by a road — it was NOT just a large sandy area at the bottom of the garden). Then, it says that the children met the Psammead again briefly during their adventure with the Phoenix — but they do not meet him in The Phoenix and the Carpet (it’s only the Phoenix who goes to him, to make wishes). Finally, they ask the Psammead to take them into the future — but at the end of the first book, they promise not to ask him for any more wishes, and they don’t; it’s the amulet that takes them to see the learned professor in the future (in The Story of the Amulet). By this point it seemed to me that Saunders was very cavalier about the details of Nesbit’s story, and that her continuation would just annoy me.
I wish I had my copy of the Saunders here as she does have an author’s note where she may have noted the changes she made.
In the afterword in my copy, it says “I’ve taken all sorts of liberties,” but doesn’t enumerate them. I suppose there might be some reason for relocating the gravel-pit to the garden, and making the Psammead the agent of the children’s time-travel, but that changes some quite essential aspects of the original books. And I can’t see any reason for saying that the children meet the Psammead again in the second book; that is just not true. Seems sloppy.
El Deafo sounds like such a fantastic book. I really need to get my hands on it!