Bologna Prize for Best Children's Publisher 2017.

The Bologna Best Children’s Publisher of the Year Prize – BOP – acknowledges the most significant publishers in each of the six areas of the world: Africa, Central and South America, North America, Asia, Europe and Oceania.

Instituted by Bologna Children’s Book Fair in partnership with AIE - Italian Publishers Association - the prize is awarded to those publishers who have most distinguished themselves for their creative and publishing excellence over the year, showing originality as well as professional and intellectual skills.

Last year’s winners were:

Africa: Bumble Books di Publishing Print Matters;

Asia: Kalimat dagli Emirati Uniti;

Europe: Anderson Press;

North America: Groundwood Books;

South America: Ediciones Ekare

Oceania: Book Island

This year, Lantana Publishing has been nominated. There are 5 nominees for the Europe category, and they are the only UK publisher on the list. 

Priding themselves on the cultural diversity of their catalogue, Lantana's books have been popular in the schools in our group. 'Dragon Dancer' was long listed for our 2016 awards (review here) and we have reviewed a number of their other titles (Looking for Lord Ganesh The Ammuchi Puchi .The Tigon and the Liger )

We wish them good luck!

Evie's Ghost

Reminiscent of 'Tom's Midnight Garden', Evie's Ghost is a lovely time-slip novel where a young girl travels back in history to spare another the fate of a loveless marriage.

Evie is not happy with her mother. Not only has she decided to remarry, but she is sending Evie to stay with a godmother Evie has never met in an ancient house in the middle of nowhere. No mobile signal, no internet- not even a television- how is she going to cope?

Words scratched into the window of the room she is staying in lead Evie into an adventure in the past where she finds herself as a housemaid in the 1800's. Forced into a very different life and role than she's used to, Evie has to learn quickly if she is to help those in the past and change the future. 

Rich in historical detail, Evie's Ghost is about friendship, loyalty and family. Evie learns a great deal about herself during her time in the past and comes to re-evaluate her relationships and opinions. As a feisty, modern girl, she is shocked by the attitudes, not only to girls, but to those of 'lower' classes held by people in the early 1800's. The hard life of a maid servant is vividly brought to life with its relentless duties and unreasonable expectations. 

Evie is determined to change the past and the story moves at a pleasing pace towards a satisfying conclusion.

I really enjoyed this story and know there are children in my class who will love it! I'll see if I can gather some of their opinions soon!

Evie's Ghost     by Helen Peters

Nosy Crow    ISBN: 978-0857638427


British Books Challenge 5: B is for Nina Bawden

An excellent, exciting story teller, Nina Bawden is probably best known for 'Carrie's War', which drew on her own evacuation during the Second World War. 

Re-reading this for the British Books Challenge, I wondered whether I would enjoy it as much as I did as a child. I was not disappointed!

'Carrie's War' is a great read in many ways. Firstly, it is the story of evacuees during the Second World War. Carrie and her younger brother, Nick, are sent to a Welsh town where they stay with Mr Evans and his sister, over their grocer's shop. Mr Evans is a harsh, bullying man, but his sister is kind and loving and the children call her Auntie Lou.

Initially unhappy in their new life, the children do settle and start to explore their new surroundings. At Druid's Bottom, they visit Mr Evan's other sister and meet her housekeeper, Hepzibah Green, Mister Johnny and another evacuee, Albert Sandwich. 

The different locations are vividly described- the stifling atmosphere of the shop and the rigidity of life with Mr Evans contrasting with the freedom of Druid's Bottom. 

The story is also full of strong characters. Nick is an open book, wearing his heart on his sleeve; Carrie more reserved, taking her time to make judgements. Mister Johnny with his strange speech and ways shows us that differences need not be frightening. Hepzibah's wise ways and common sense allow the children to consider, reflect and develop. It is a story about growing up, learning to trust others, making choices- and learning from mistakes. 

'Carrie's War' is a poignant and beautiful read- and I'm so glad I decided to re-read it for the British Books Challenge!


Amongst the other books Nina Bawden wrote for children are 'The Peppermint Pig' and another of my favourites, 'Off the Road'. I will now have to re-read that too!

Carrie's War   by Nina Bawden

Puffin    ISBN: 978-0141354903