The winner of the 2018 Little Rebels Children’s Book Award is The Muslims by Zanib Mian (Sweet Apple Publishers and Muslim Children’s Books)
There were eight titles on the 2018 shortlist – see full details below. The winner, chosen by our guest judges, was announced at the London Radical Bookfair on June 2nd 2018.
Omar is a kid with a huge imagination. He knows a thing or two about getting through life as a nine year old Muslim in Britain. When Omar’s life is turned upside down as he moves to a new school and becomes the school bully’s new victim, his imagination goes into overactive mode. He attempts to apply the Islamic teachings his family have equipped him with, to his now very challenging life, with entertaining results!
The Muslims is a warm and witty chapter book exploring racism, bullying and self-esteem. Guest judge Darren Chetty described The Muslims as “a fantastic book, full of humour and eccentricity, which finds a way to explore racism and Islamophobia without allowing the characters to be defined by these things.” Patrice Lawrence said: “This is a very funny and very effective challenge to the widespread misrepresentation of Muslims in the news. More children need to get to read this book.” And Emily Drabble said:“I loved this book – Omar is a wonderful character, and I laughed throughout. If more children read The Muslims, the world could be a better place.”
Tender Earth by Sita Brahmachari (Macmillan Children’s Books)
Laila Levenson has always been the baby of the family, but now with her older siblings, Mira and Krish, leaving home just as she starts secondary school, everything feels like it’s changing… can the reappearance of Nana Josie’s Protest Book and the spirit it releases in Laila, her friends and her local community, help her find her own voice and discover what she truly believes in?
A powerful coming-of-age novel in which young people are inspired towards political activism by the prejudices and injustices they see in the world around them. Judge Emily Drabble described Tender Earth as “a book that could genuinely inspire young people to go out and protest against social injustices”
Mr Bunny’s Chocolate Factory by Elys Dolan (OUP)
Mr Bunny’s Chocolate Factory is where your Easter Eggs are made. But when the hard-working chickens at the factory have had enough of making Mr Bunny rich, they decide to go on strike – and it’s time for Mr Bunny to find out what it’s really like on the factory floor.
A very funny picture book which celebrates the power of collective action in standing up to greed. Judge Catherine Johnson said: “I have not seen a better explanation of exploitation in picture book form.”
Welcome to Nowhere by Elizabeth Laird (Macmillan Children’s Books)
Twelve-year-old Omar and his brothers and sisters were born and raised in the beautiful and bustling city of Bosra, Syria. Omar doesn’t care about politics – all he wants is to grow up to become a successful businessman who will take the world by storm. But when his clever older brother, Musa, gets mixed up with some young political activists, everything changes . .
A moving and timely novel which reveals the human cost of war. Judge Emily Drabble commented that “[Welcome to Nowhere] brought the realities of the Syrian conflict to life in a way few other books have. It’s a story that will inspire empathy and compassion, and has the power to change attitudes towards those fleeing war.”
Sky Dancer by Gill Lewis (OUP)
Joe has always loved the moorlands above his home: the wildness, the freedom, the peace. But since his father died, everything has changed, and the moors are no longer a place of refuge.
Now the whole community is divided over the fate of the hen harriers that nest up there in the heather – and Joe is stuck right in the middle, with a choice to make, and a huge secret to keep.
Joe can’t do what’s right for everyone. But can he find the strength to fight for what he really believes in?
A nuanced exploration of class, community and environmental conflict. Judge Patrice Lawrence said: “I love Sky Dancer’s nuanced exploration around issues of class and bereavement, particularly as they are experienced by boys and men. And the way Gill Lewis writes nature and landscape is fantastic.”
928 Miles from Home by Kim Slater (Macmillan Children’s Books)
Fourteen year old Calum Brooks has big dreams. One day, he’ll escape this boring life and write movies, proper ones, with massive budgets and A-list stars. For now though, he’s stuck coping alone while his dad works away, writing scripts in his head and trying to stay ‘in’ with his gang of mates at school, who don’t like new kids, especially foreign ones. But when his father invites his new Polish girlfriend and her son, Sergei, to move in, Calum’s life is turned upside down. He’s actually sharing a room with ‘the enemy’! How’s he going to explain that to his mates?
A gripping novel which deftly navigates timely issues of class and prejudice. Judge Darren Chetty noted that “This story does a very good job at portraying a boy who begins as a complicit bystander but who begins to develop the courage to think for himself. “
Clive is a Nurse by Jessica Spanyol (Child’s Play)
What will Clive be today? Follow Clive and his friends as they explore the many things a nurse does in a day.
A board book which busts gender stereotypes with warmth and humour. Judge Catherine Johnson said: “Every home should have one.”
Malala’s Magic Pencil by Malala Yousafzai (author) and Kerascoët (illustrators)
As a child in Pakistan, Malala made a wish for a magic pencil. She would use it to make everyone happy, to erase the smell of garbage from her city, to sleep an extra hour in the morning. But as she grew older, Malala saw that there were more important things to wish for. She saw a world that needed fixing. And even if she never found a magic pencil, Malala realized that she could still work hard every day to make her wishes come true.
A powerful picture book from the celebrated human rights activist which traces her political path from childhood to the present day, beautifully illustrated by Kerascoët. Emily Drabble notes that this is “A powerful story with gorgeous illustrations that will inspire children everywhere.”
All eight books are available to order from Letterbox Library here.