2020 Shortlist

WINNER: THE BOY WHO LOVED EVERYONE by Jane Porter, illustrated by Maisie Paradise Shearring (Walker)

“I love you,” Dimitri tells everyone, from his friends at nursery to the big tree in the playground. But why does no one say it back? Dimitri worries no one loves him – until he finds out there are lots of different ways love can spread through the world… A moving and nuanced picture book exploring love, friendship and emotional expression.

Congratulations to Jane Porter and Maisie Paradise Shearring who are the Little Rebels 2020 winners for their picture book THE BOY WHO LOVED EVERYONE.

The winner was announced at an online ceremony on 22nd October.

Commenting on the winning book, judge Shaun Dellenty said: “This deceptively simple tale affords a very rich stimulus to engage young children in varied conversations about kindness, trust, non-judgement, consent, friendships, self-care, same sex love and the potential for our own compassion to inspire others to live more loving lives. In these challenging and divisive  times, the most radical act of all is surely to love; The Boy Who Loved Everyone brims joyfully with it.”

Judge Emily Drabble described the book as “a deceptively deeply radical book on expressing love, the crushing effect of society’s restrictions and judgements on who we can love even on a tiny and adorable preschooler. The text is divine and the illustrations are really something to rave about, depicting a gloriously inclusive cast of characters which will bring joy to your heart. A very worthy winner of this year’s Little Rebels award and heartening that it’s a book for the very young, giving promise of a better future.

Judge Darren Chetty said: “The Boy Who Loved Everyone captures the excitement, the confusion, and the nose-picking that will be familiar to anyone who has spent any time in the nursery classroom. There is a wealth of emotion lurking in this slice-of-life story, the kind of story that children will love to return to and talk about. I think the story’s sincerity, and its willingness to embrace uncertainty, make it a quietly radical book.”

2020 Shortlist

SOFIA VALDEZ, FUTURE PREZ by Andrea Beaty, illustrated by David Roberts (Abrams and Chronicle)

Every morning, Abuelo walks Sofia to school . . . until one day, when Abuelo hurts his ankle at a local landfill and he can no longer do so. Sofia (aka Sofi) misses her Abuelo and wonders what she can do about the dangerous Mount Trashmore. Then she gets an idea—the town can turn the slimy mess into a park! She brainstorms and plans and finally works up the courage to go to City Hall—only to be told by a clerk that she can’t build a park because she’s just a kid! Sofia is down but not out, and she sets out to prove what one kid can do.


SNEAKY BEAK by Tracey Corderoy, illustrated by Tony Neal (Little Tiger)

Bear and Hamster are perfectly content… until gadget-mad salesman, Sneaky Beak, arrives. But when they finally have it all, will Bear and Hamster really be happier? A hilarious story with an important message about the pitfalls of materialism




When Semira discovers a diary written by Hen, a girl living over 100 years ago, she finds the friend she has been desperately seeking. A friend who brings not just comfort, but inspiration to be brave, to fight for her place in the world, and maybe even to uncover the secrets of her own past…  A moving and inspring novel exploring domestic violence and the refugee experience in the UK.



THE LITTLE ISLAND by Smriti Prasadam-Halls, illustrated by Robert Starling

There was once a farm where all the animals were friends. Together they looked after the farm and each other. It wasn’t perfect and they didn’t always agree. But they liked it.

One day the geese begin to gossip. Before long they hatch a plan to leave the farm. Will life be perfect now? … A funny and timely story about the perils and pitfalls of building borders instead of bridges.


NOW OR NEVER – A DUNKIRK STORY by Bali Rai (Scholastic)

Private Fazal Khan travels from his home in India to the battlefields of the Second World War. And as he and his friends make their way to the beaches of Dunkirk, Fazal must deal with even more than the terrors of a dangerous trek to reach the evacuation zone.

The Company’s captain defends his troops in the face of a terrible betrayal at the point of rescue: not everyone has welcomed the help brought by the Royal Indian Army Service Corps. Now Fazal is forced to question why he is even there and why he is expected to be loyal to a king whose people don’t all see him as their equal… A page-turning historical novel bringing an overlooked part of British history to light.

KING LEONARD’S TEDDY by Phoebe Swan (Child’s Play)

King Leonard is so rich that he can buy whatever he wants. Anything old or broken is thrown onto the growing pile of trash outside his castle. But one day something breaks that can’t be easily replaced. And what’s worse, King Leonard can’t find anyone who knows how to fix it… A warm and witty picture book with a strong message about community and sustainability. 


You can order all of the Little Rebels 2020 shortlisted titles as a book pack from Letterbox Library, or individually from Housmans Bookshop

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