2022 Award

“A powerful tool of change.”

PROUD OF ME by Sarah Hagger-Holt, published by Usborne, is the winner of the 2022 Little Rebels Award for Radical Children’s Fiction.

Proud of Me is a coming-of-age narrative in which siblings Josh and Becky, who are parented by two mums, start to explore their family’s and their own identities.

The award organisers said: “Middle grade readers are at that exact age where they are often experiencing first attractions, crushes and desires. So this is the moment where we need to validate and ‘normalise’ their feelings. In the case of young LGBTQ+ people this need is pressing and urgent. Sarah’s novel is such an important and glowing presence in this space and we hope it will help grow even more fabulous LGBTQ+ MG fiction”.

Judge Emily Haworth Booth highlighted the book’s place in the classroom: “It’s a powerful tool of change; it needs to be in school libraries”.


2022 Shortlist

Hey You! An Empowering Celebration of Growing Up Black

by Dapo Adeola, illustrated by Dapo Adeola, Alyissa Johnson, Sharee Miller, Jade Orlando, Diane Ewen, Reggie Brown, Onyinye Iwu, Chanté Timothy, Gladys Jose, Bex Glendining, Joelle Avelino, Dunni Mustapha, Nicole Miles, Charlot Kristensen, Kingsley Nebechi, Camilla Sucre, Derick Brooks, Jobe Anderson, Selom Sunu 

Published by Penguin Random House Children’s.

“Hey you. Welcome to the world.” Feel affirmed, feel bold, feel wonderful as this author and multiple illustrators accompany you on your journey through the world…from babe in arms to questioning teenager to empowered grownup. Feel yourself held and gently guided as you navigate choices, resist, persist and thrive. A tribute to growing up Black.

No Country

Story by Joe Brady, art by Patrice Aggs

Published by David Fickling Books

Bea and her family are struggling to survive. Civil war rages
between an authoritarian state and rebels, a.k.a. ‘Free Kingdom’. The Daily Truth spouts fake news; street posters scream, ‘Never Question Authority’; supermarket shelves are bare; power cuts are frequent; the military patrol the streets; society is breaking down. In this country, you try to pick your time to run; you become a refugee overnight. Will Bea’s family get to safety in time? (Graphic novel).

What Happened to You?

by James Catchpole, illustrated by Karen George

Published by Faber & Faber

Joe is very busy with his game of pirates and sharks. But, he is rudely interrupted by a child shouting, “You’ve only got one leg!” She is soon joined by other children who all pester him with questions about his ‘missing’ limb. Some questions are quite silly: “Did it fall off in the toilet?” Joe doesn’t feel he should have to answer any of them! Will he be allowed to just go back to his sharks?

Sunflower Sisters

by Monika Singh Gangotra, illustrated by Michaela Dias-Hayes

Published by Owlet Press

Amrita’s sister, Jas, is getting married and the whole family are in full-prep mode. There are outdoor fairy lights to string up and special lehengas to be picked out. But why does Aunty keep murmuring about Amrita’s and Jas’ dark complexions… recommending they drink saffron and stay out of the sun? Amrita wants to stand tall and beam bright like a sunflower. Best friend, Kiki, wants to dazzle in vibrant colours as well! Will their radiance overcome their elders’ prejudices?

Proud of Me

by Sarah Hagger-Holt

Published by Usborne

Becky and Josh are almost-twin, just-turned teen, siblings. They have the same anonymous donor and are parented by Mum and Ima. Just lately, Josh has started to wonder about the identity of his donor. Becky, meantime, is starting to question who she is and where she fits in; will the new LGBTQ+ group at school help her figure it out? A coming-of-age adventure in family, friendship and finding yourself- road trip included!

Show Us Who You Are

by Elle McNicoll

Published by Knights Of

On the surface, the Pomegranate Institute promises comfort
to the recently bereaved, extending people’s ‘lives’ through
uncannily true-to-life holograms. But are they simply bringing
back to ‘life’ or are they trading in digital cures and a morally dubious vision of human perfection? When they zoom in on Cora, who is neurodivergent, for their research programme,things take a sinister turn. Can Cora and best friend, Adrien, expose Pomegranate’s ambitions in time? Can they quite literally save humanity?

No Man’s Land

by Joanna Nadin

Published by UCLan Publishing

Albion (formerly England) is a far right country on the brink of war with Europe. There are curfews; supporters brandish their AAA tattoos (Albion-American-Alliance); traitors are imprisoned; girls are chaperoned; people from minority groups leave or are ‘disappeared’. For their own safety, Dad sends 10-year-old Alan and his little brother to No-Man’s Land, a neutral territory run by women. Can they build a sanctuary?

Order the complete set of books from Letterbox Library

Order individual titles from Housmans Bookshop

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