Why not check out the 2016 shortlist while you wait?
I Am Henry Finch by Alexis Deacon and Viviane Schwarz (Walker Books) was the 2016 Little Rebels winner.
The finches exist as an undifferentiated flock, going through each day together, doing the same thing, at the same pace. And then…one night, one particular finch, Henry Finch, has a thought. And he hears it. And he knows himself to be Henry Finch. And, therefore, also capable of greatness… A highly original philosophical book for the very young, addressing individualism, bravery, finding your way and, even, existentialism.
Judge Wendy Cooling said: “An exceptional picture book, deceptively simple yet doing a big thing: introducing the power of ideas and thought to the youngest of children. This is philosophy for beginners. Extraordinarily creative artwork”.
The Boy at the Top of the Mountain by John Boyne (Doubleday/PRH UK) is a powerful exploration of the cruelties of war.
Pierrot, orphaned at a young age, ends up in Hitler’s Austrian house in the mountains, the Berghof. Pierrot starts out as a kind, sensitive child who loathes bullying and shares a magical friendship with a Jewish boy, Anshel (who is also deaf). But gradually over the years at Berghof we see Pierrot become Pieter, slowly but surely infected by Nazi ideology, prejudice, and racism- and by the trappings of power.
Ages 11+ Buy your copy from Letterbox Library
The Little Bookshop and the Origami Army! by Michael Foreman (Andersen Press) follows Superhero Origami Girl on a mission to save a local bookshop.
With its themes of capitalism threatening a local community and independent businesses, the complacency of governments in the face of large corporations, and the possibilities of people power and local community action, this is a thought-provoking narrative about the power of stories to change the world.
Age 4-7 Buy your from Letterbox Library
I’m a Girl! by Yasmeen Ismail (Bloomsbury Books) is an energetic picture book which takes on gender stereotypes and smashes them to smithereens. Meet a girl who is competitive, noisy, brainy, speedy, messy… and who is constantly mistaken for a boy. This beautifully illustrated book puts paid to all of those tiresome ‘boys are…’ ‘girls are…’ opening lines.
Gorilla Dawn by 2016 Little Rebels winner Gill Lewis (Oxford University Press) is set in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and explores how the farming of a mineral needed for mobile phones is destroying the gorilla’s natural habitat.
Interweaving separate animal and human stories to expose issues around social justice, judge Catherine Johnson described this as “a brilliantly written and important book”.
Uncle Gobb and the Dredd Shed by Michael Rosen, illustrated by Neal Layton, (Bloomsbury Books) is an anarchic story which exposes and shames, hilariously, many aspects of contemporary culture but, in particular, recent educational policies.
Judge Kim Reynolds said: “Uncle Gobb and the Dread Shed combines former Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen’s brilliant ability to wrap up pithy observations in screwball humour with illustrator Neal Layton’s energetic, comics-inspired drawings. Beneath the jokes and digressions are some pointed remarks about the education system, those who delight in power for its own sake and the importance of thinking originally”.