Jo Weaver

2018 Quality Fiction Shortlist

So here it is...

the NSTBA 2018 Quality Fiction shortlist.


A Story Like the Wind      Gill Lewis, illustrated by Jo Weaver

OUP     ISBN: 978-0192758958

You can read the long list review here.


Song of the Dolphin Boy  Elizabeth Laird

Macmillan Children's   ISBN: 978-1509828234

You can read the long list review here.


Mark of the Cyclops: An Ancient Greek Mystery     Saviour Pirotta

Bloomsbury     ISBN: 978-1472934147

You can read the long list review here.



Just Jack    Kate Scott 

Piccadilly    ISBN: 978-1848126244

You can read the long list review here.

Congratulations to all! The winners will be announced at the awards ceremony on the 10th November. 


All 80 titles for the six categories of our long list have now been reviewed! Each and every one a fantastic book, highly recommended by JAB and the NSTAB team.

The short list will be announced on the 8th September. Votes from the panel are already coming in so here's a little reminder of the twelve fabulous books on the Quality Fiction Category Long List.


Just Jack- Kate Scott (Piccadilly)

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 The Hippo at the End of the Hall- Helen Cooper (David Fickling)


To the Edge of the World- Julia Green (OUP)


Sky Chasers- Emma Carroll (Chicken House)


Sky Song - Abi Elphinstone (Simon and Schuster)


 Norse Myths: Tales of Odin, Thor and Loki - Kevin Crossley-Holland & Jeffrey Allan Love (Walker)


Revolt against the Romans - Tony Bradman (A&C Black)

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The House with Chicken Legs- Sophie Anderson (Usborne)


Mark of the Cyclops- Saviour Pirotta (A&C Black)


Song of the Dolphin Boy- Elizabeth Laird (Macmillan) 


A Story Like the Wind- Gill Lewis & Jo Weaver (OUP)


The Jewelled Jaguar- Sharon Tregenza (Firefly)

Which of these twelve amazing titles will be among the final four of the shortlist?

LONG LIST REVIEW: A Story Like the Wind


Adrift on the wide ocean in a flimsy boat meant for pleasure, not rescue, a group of strangers huddle together. Each has their own story. Each is clinging to the hope of freedom.

Cradling all he has left, Rami feels lost. As his fellow travellers share their stories and try to share their meagre possessions with him, Rami refuses, saying he has nothing to offer in return. But he has the case he is cradling to his chest which contains a violin...

'Too fragile. Too intricate. Too beautiful. Suspended silence from some other world.'

And so Rami offers music and story with their power to heal and their gift of hope.

That Gill Lewis is a powerful storyteller is no surprise, but in 'A Story Like the Wind' her lyrical writing coupled with the beauty of the illustrations and the poignance of the subject matter left me breathless.

As Rami shares the 'first story' of his instrument, remembered 'in the grain of wood of its body, in the tautness of its strings and in the scroll of its neck', the personal stories of those in the boat become entwined with it. As he plays, his inspiring tale of standing firm in the face of oppression and injustice offers each of them hope and the determination to keep the song of freedom alive.

This powerful story would make an excellent starting point for work in the classroom, inspiring writing, poetry, music, art, discussion, developing empathy... There is so much to explore and enjoy here.

The illustrations are fabulous. Each one is a real work of art, complementing the beautiful text in the telling of both the stories of the refugees and the traditional Mongolian tale of the origin of the horsehead violin.


A Story Like the Wind      Gill Lewis, illustrated by Jo Weaver

OUP     ISBN: 978-0192758958