Award Moving On

And the 2019 short list is...

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We are delighted to announce this year’s short list! A million thanks to Mungo and Lady for modelling for us and to Torie for encouraging them! We hope to see everyone at the awards ceremony on Saturday 9th November!

So here, in all their glory, are our fabulous short list photos!

Picture Book Category:


Poetry Category:


Information Category:


Read Aloud Category:


Quality Fiction Category:


Moving On Category:


A wonderful selection! It’s time to start reading…


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The second part of our Moving On Category…


When their art club teacher is found murdered, sisters Nik and Norva are determined to use their detective skills to solve the crime. There are plenty of suspects- including their father- so the girls have to work quickly to uncover the truth, using their knowledge of the Tri- the estate where they live- and the people who live these.

This is an excellent mystery story with plenty of interest and action. The sibling relationship between Nik and Norva is perfectly captured and each of their personalities is fully rounded. Nik is particularly endearing! The book conveys a wonderful sense of community on the Tri- named for its three tower blocks in a triangular formation- and the reader is able to navigate the estate through the eyes of the girls, giving a sense of involvement to the reader as they solve the crime.

Each character’s voice is distinct and the use of plenty of dialogue helps the story move along at a great pace. Nik’s case notes are helpful as the girls unravel this satisfying mystery. An excellent read!

High Rise Mystery Sharna Jackson

Knights Of ISBN: 978-1999642518

You can read another review of this here.

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When starting at her new school, Effie soon realises that changes need to be made. A girl of action, she decides to run for Junior Student President, presenting a surprise challenge to the current one. With the support of her next door neighbour and a wonderful campaign team, Effie launches herself into making the school a better place of everyone with her policies and ideas. But will these be enough to challenge the status quo?

Effie is a wonderful character- full of vim and vigour and a strong sense of justice. Starting a new school and being friendless is really hard and the story follows Efiie as she navigates a new setting and finds those friends. She learns much about herself during the story, about having to compromise sometimes and that first impressions are not always right, Opinionated and sparky, Effie doe not always get things right, but she cares and her determination and resilience have the reader cheering her on every step of the way.

A must read!

Vote for Effie Laura Wood

Scholastic ISBN: 978-1407187723

You can read another review of this here.


Set in 1922, ‘Secrets of a Sun King’ is a fascinating historical story which cleverly uses the world’s fascination with Howard Carter’s discovery of Tutankhamun’s tomb as its backdrop. The Great War is over, leaving the country relieved, but counting the heavy cost of the conflict. Social traditions and gender roles are being challenged and life will never be the same.

Thirteen year old Lilian, like much of the nation, avidly follows Carter’s search for the Boy King’s tomb, inspired by the fact that her Grandfather used to be an archaeologist. When her grandfather falls ill, Lil intercepts a mysterious parcel addressed to him, sent by a famous Egyptologist, Professor Hanawati - who has been found dead. Lil decides she must fulfil the Professor’s plea and return the contents of the parcel to its tomb on her grandfather’s behalf. A chance encounter at the British Museum leads to the opportunity for a trip to Egypt with Tulip and Oz Mendoza, and their journalist mother and Lil is off on the adventure of a lifetime.

Emma Carroll writes excellent historical fiction, carefully researched and richly written. The discovery of the boy king’s tomb had the world gripped, but there was far more going on than the image presented to the press. The sense of entitlement and ownership felt by the archaeologists plundering Egypt’s tombs is cleverly questioned throughout the story whilst personal scars left by the war are still raw as society and everyone’s place in it changes. Tutankhamun’s own story- that of the child behind the Pharaoh- is also explored through a scroll the children find, questioning how the young king died and the life he led.

Characterisation is strong throughout the story. Lil, the scholarship girl who struggles to fit in, bold and daring Tulip who hides secrets, the sun king himself- each is carefully drawn and filled with life. All the threads are skilfully pulled together, creating a satisfying story to be enjoyed.

An excellent book for those children at the moving on stage, ‘Secrets of a Sun King’ could encourage budding Egyptologists to discover more about Tutankhamun’s life- and death- and the world he lived in.

Secrets of a Sun King Emma Carroll

Faber and Faber ISBN: 978-0571328499

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On a stormy night, a hundred year's ago, a baby gorilla was born deep in the African rain forest. The gorilla elders prophesied that this baby would meet with many misfortunes. So begins the story of Sally Jones.

Kidnapped and smuggled to Istanbul, trained as a thief, abandoned, locked in a small and dirty cage, beaten and treated with great cruelty- these are a few of the misfortunes which poor Sally is subjected to in the course of her life before she finds peace and companionship at last.

Written as the prequel to 'The Murderer's Ape', 'The Legend of Sally Jones' is the story of Sally Jones' life before she met her friend, the Chief, and found a home on board the Hudson Queen. It is a sad story of man's callous attitude to animals and how casually they abuse them for their own ends. Rich white Europeans are shown exploiting the land and its animals. Belgian hunters, a Turkish ivory merchant, a rich widow from Hamburg, zoo keepers- each play their part in Sally's sad life. Only Koskela, a Finnish seaman,shows her the kindness and respect she deserves, nursing her back to health and valuing her.

Each page is beautifully illustrated with one panel, often framed in interesting and unusual ways,
reminiscent of old fashioned travel posters. So much emotion and additional detail is conveyed to the reader through these pictures. Sally's deep despair and dejection are plain for all to see through her eyes and her body language.

'The Legend of Sally Jones' is a stunning graphic novel which allows readers of 'The Murderer's Ape' to discover the early history of Sally Jones, a compelling heroine like no other. It is a book which the reader will return to again and again.

The Legend of Sally Jones Jakob Wegelius

Pushkin Children’s ISBN: 978-1782692331


Having ADHD makes it hard for him to concentrate, but Felix does his best to focus. His slipping grades are a worry and everyone keeps telling him to try harder. His parents are under great pressure from work and his Granddad hasn't been the same since Grandma died. When mum suggests they spend more time together, Felix is horrified, particularly as Granddad seems determined to teach him to play chess. However, chess seems to be the key to unlocking their relationship and helping Felix discover strengths and talents he never knew he had.

This is a truly remarkable story. Felix's relationship with his grandfather is beautifully portrayed as it blossoms through the understanding and respect that comes from spending time together. In helping his grandson, Granddad comes to terms with his grief at the loss of his wife and also the impact of his past. As Felix gains in confidence, his concentration improves and his school work benefits.

The first person narrative allows the reader to see the thoughts of someone with ADHD and sympathise with how his actions are easily misunderstood, resulting in his frequently being in trouble. It also creates great tension during the chess matches where Felix's nerves and anxiety are brilliantly expressed.

Full of strong characters, 'Check Mates' is an excellent read.

Check Mates Stewart Foster

Simon and Schuster ISBN: 978-1471172236


Orphan, Matthew Henson, runs away from his violent step-mother to find a new life in New York. Hard working and determined, young Matthew manages to find work in a cafe. Listening to the sea going stories of characters like Baltimore Jack, Matthew embarks on a life at sea as a cabin boy and ends up accompanying Captain Peary on his adventure to ‘discover’ the North Pole. In spite of being the first of the party to reach their goal, Matthew was given no recognition on return to America.

This is a fabulous account of one of the unsung heroes of history. Having battled against the odds, his achievements were unacknowledged during his lifetime and are little known today so this very readable book is an essential addition to libraries and classrooms. The significant contribution made by the Inuit who gave their expertise and support to the exhibition and Matthew’s positive relationship with them are also highlighted in this stunning book.

This book could have taken a place in either our Quality Fiction or our Information categories as it is perfect for use in class; however, this is an extremely satisfying read about a fascinating character with plenty of challenge in terms of content and vocabulary, perfect for moving on those who don’t find reading easy.

Race to the Frozen North Catherine Johnson, illustrated by Katie Hickey

Barrington Stoke ISBN: 978-1-78112-840-4


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Our Moving On Category looks for stunning books for children in Y6/7 who are ready for a more challenging read, but who are not yet ready for older teen or YA reads. Here are the first six we have chosen this year…


Living in Kairos City, Shifa and her brother, Themba survive in a devastated world. ‘Freedom Fields’ is in charge of feeding everyone- as long as you opt into the system. The bees have all gone and children are sent to farms where they have to act as pollinators. Although together, Themba and Shifa are dismayed by the cruelty and intolerance of the farm regime and Shifa knows they need to escape.

A powerful novel with caring for nature - and people- at its heart, ‘Where the River Runs Gold’ is a compelling story. Taught to love nature by her father, Shifa is a wonderful character, showing love and compassion which has been nurtured in her like the flowers in the secret garden. Themba is beautifully drawn; the way he sees the world, the way he responds to things around him, is sensitively portrayed and the sibling relationship is a joy.

The story shows how change can start with the individual and how important each tiny step can be. Perfect for those who love adventure and strong characters, ‘Where the River Runs Gold’ is a thought-provoking, challenging read.

Where the River Runs Gold Sita Brahmachari

Orion ISBN: 978-1510105416


Second youngest of four children, Bridget Mackerrie has a withered arm and a deformed foot, but nothing holds her back. Desperate to leave the island, she longs to fly away- like a little bird. When the just Laird of the island dies and his successor proves to be a harsh, cruel landlord, the time for escape has come.

Perfect for those who love historical fiction, ‘Little Bird Flies’ is full of detail and atmosphere. Obviously well researched, it brings the ways of the crofters and the contrast with the landlord vividly to life, effortlessly engaging the reader with the historical events behind the story. Little Bird is bursting with character- a wonderful protagonist for a wonderful story.

A rich evocative story, ‘Little Bird Flies’ is a joy to read.

Little Bird Flies- Karen McCombie

Nosy Crow ISBN: 978-0857639103

You can read another review of this here.


Whilst scavenging on the beach, Bonnie finds a battered boat- and a boy in need of help. Bonnie and her increasingly weak Granda are already in trouble with the authorities for flouting the rules, but the boy is in need of help. Bonnie does her best to keep him hidden from the border guards, but as the net tightens, the time has come to escape in search of a new beginning.

This is a story full of love and hope in a bleak world. Bonnie is bright and curious, desperate to solve the mystery of her mother who left when she was a baby, but whose devotion and loyalty to her Granda are heartwarming. The story is beautifully written, with vivid descriptions of the outdoors in all its natural glory. Bonnie and Granda are completely in touch with their environment, living in harmony with nature and cherishing its resources.

There is also much food for thought in this book, exploring as it does living with closed borders, being controlled by a stifling regime, denying shelter and compassion to others. The importance of freedom to thrive and the need to escape challenge the reader to consider what is really important.

The House of Light Julia Green

OUP ISBN: 978-0192771568


Found under a newspaper on a bench at the zoo by George Arthur Lucas who picked him up, put him in a Stetson and quietly took him home, Elvis Crampton Lucas was named after the first three albums George picked out. Now twelve, Elvis is now determined to find his natural parents. So, using the language the newspaper was written in as a clue, he sets off on an incredible adventure to Norway with his dad and their friend, Lloyd to solve the mystery…

With its distinctive written style and wonderful characters, ‘The Boy Who Hit Play’ is a wonderfully pacey adventure with much to recommend it. It challenges the reader to think about what makes us who we are and the importance of unconditional love. The characters are wonderfully appealing, each changed by the experiences of their trip. This is a quirky, appealing read with a unique voice- brilliant!

The Boy Who Hit Play Chloe Daykin

Faber and Faber ISBN: 978-0571326785


Maggie Cruise is a middler. Her brother, Jed, is an eldest - special because he is the family’s first born. Her younger brother, Trig, is the little one, everyone’s favourite. Being a middler means she is overlooked and ignored, but Maggie yearns for recognition and success. Fennis Wick, where they live, is protected from the outside world by a thick hedge. Dirty, dangerous, deceitful wanderers roam the land, threatening their lives. But when Maggie meets Una Opal, a hungry wanderer who needs her help, everything Maggie has been led to believe is turned upside down.

Maggie is a wonderful figure, loving and loyal, but flawed, making an engaging main character. Her sense of frustration and injustice at being the invisible middle one is brilliantly developed. The world she lives in has been expertly crafted and filled with believable characters. Sent to fight in the Quiet War, sacrificing their lives at home for the good of their families, Eldests may seem to have the best of everything and live a charmed life, yet Jed and Lindi, another Eldest, are well rounded characters, shown to have worries about their future as well. Trig is lovely- full of life and skilled in his own way.

Gripping from start to finish, this is a one-sitting sort of book which completely captivates you. Although there are dark moments full of menace, the story is ultimately uplifting and full of hope and love. Highly recommended, this is a fabulous read.

The Middler - Kirsty Applebaum

Nosy Crow ISBN:


Growing up in a poor household in Lyme Regis, young Mary wants to follow in her father’s footsteps and gather fossils in spite of the dangers. After her father’s death, Mary continues her work, sure she is gong to find something unique and determined to gain the recognition she deserves for her work.

‘Lightning Mary’ tells the story of Mary Anning, the Victorian paleontologist whose discoveries were so significant. Life for Mary was far from easy- her poverty and the challenges faced by women at this time are made very clear by Anthea Simmons as Mary’s eventual success in the face of adversity is adeptly told. Her courage and tenacity as she sought her treasures, her fascination with these objects from the past and her blunt nature are all brought to life in this novel. The story is rich in history and detail and makes a compelling read- perfect for those looking for a challenge.

Lightning Mary- Anthea Simmons

Andersen Press ISBN: 978-1783448296