The 2013 Little Rebels Shortlist is Announced!

On behalf of the Alliance of Radical Booksellers, Letterbox Library is delighted to announce the four books shortlisted for the inaugural Little Rebels Children’s Book Award. The shortlist has been passed on to our guest judges, Elizabeth Laird and Wendy Cooling, who will be meeting this month. The winner will be announced at the first ever ARB London Radical Bookfair on May 11th 2013. Any of the shortlisted books can be bought from the not-for-profit, indie bookseller Letterbox Library.

And here are the shortlisted titles (ages given are guidelines only):


Azzi In Between by Sarah Garland

(Frances Lincoln, 2012)

A short graphic novel which details one family’s escape from a country at war and their adjustment to life in a new country. Based on the author’s experiences among refugee families. Endorsed by Amnesty International UK. Ages 7-11 Get your copy here

Guest Judges Comments:

“A simple and powerful story, one with which we should all be tragically familiar, with a text and pictures that are rich, appealing and satisfyingly detailed” (Elizabeth Laird)

Set firmly in today’s world, Azzi tells the story of a family torn apart by war and forced to start a new life in a new land. The graphic novel style gives it freshness and immediacy and adds to the book’s child appeal. The text and illustrations work together brilliantly as they invite children to enjoy the story, and to think about the lives of other children” (Wendy Cooling)


Hans and Matilda by Yokococo

(Templar Publishing, 2012)

Described as a “feline Jekyll and Hyde adventure” by the publisher, this simple picture book with bold artwork tells the story of good Matilda and anarchic Hans…But are they so very different? Ages 3-6 Get your copy here

Guest Judges Comments:

A quirky picture book packed with humour and surprises. People, or cats in this case, are not always what they seem. This book will be enjoyed by children just geting into reading and by those who are listening to an adult reading. The illustrations are lively and the cover invites readers in” (Wendy Cooling)

A winner for small children, who delight in the clever surprise at the heart of the story, and enjoy the humour in the pictures” (Elizabeth Laird)


The Terrible Thing That Happened to Barnaby Brocket by John Boyne; ill. by Oliver Jeffers

(Doubleday Books/Random House UK, 2012)

A chapter book for younger readers which introduces the unusual Barnaby Brocket, the terrible thing that happened to him and his fantastic odyssey around the world. A narrative about being different, being extraordinary and being happy with yourself.   Age 8-12 Get your copy here

Guest Judges Comments:

Written with delicacy and humour, John Boyne’s The Terrible Thing That Happened to Barnaby Brocket is based on a witty and original concept worked through to its final dramatic denouement” (Elizabeth Laird)

This novel entertains from beginning to end but does much more as it introduces one of the most original characters ever. Barnaby simply can’t keep his feet on the ground; he floats! His conforming, boring parents find this impossible to cope with and allow him to float off into a world packed with strange meeting and adventures. Barnaby learns things that his parents will never understand and faces the future with a wide open mind. Beautifully written and very enticing” (Wendy Cooling)


Wild Child by Jeanne Willis; ill. by Lorna Freytag

(Walker Books 2012)

This picture book introduces Wild Child, a spirited, curious and free-loving child roaming in a magical prehistorical world. An anti-authoritarian story told through rhyming text and a fusion of photos and illustrations. Age 4-7 Get your copy here

Guest Judges Comments:

This is a beautiful picture book with a rhyming, rhythmic text that is a joy to read aloud; a book that will resonate in children’s heads and be interpreted in many ways. The stunning, painterly illustrations present just one understanding of the text; the reader will see more. The book is exceptionally well designed- everything is worth looking at, not least the endpapers ” (Wendy Cooling)

A truly radical work, celebrating freedom and originality on every page, and enhanced by exquisite artwork” (Elizabeth Laird)

3 responses to “The 2013 Little Rebels Shortlist is Announced!”

  1. Congratulations on finding any remotely radical books from UK publishers! But should you give the award to publishers like Walker who don’t even allow trade unions?

    • Hi there. Thank you for your congratulations. It wasn’t an easy task but we did start out with a longlist of 60 which seems okay for a first award. I think the children’s publishing world may be a bit different frrm the adult one in that it would be very hard to speak of any radical children’s book publishers in the same way that you could for example, cite Pluto or Verso or Virago in the adult sector. So, for us, it feels very much like the children’s award is being presented to an author or a single title, not a publisher.

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