Children’s Book Award Younger Children Blog Tour Round-up

Have you read all the fantastic blogs by our Younger Children Top Ten authors and illustrators?

If you missed them – visit for the links, but here is a flavour of some of the fabulous illustrations and stories displayed. 

The Secret of Black Rock, written and illustrated by Joe Todd Stanton and published by Flying Eye Books.

Joe was kind enough to share some of his sources of inspiration and preparatory work for Black Rock on Fiona Barker’s brilliant blog.

The piece by Joe gives a fascinating insight into his inspirations, his thought processes and how the book developed and evolved.

Joe says: ‘I discovered this picture online whilst looking for inspiration for a university project. It’s a picture of the Old Man of the Lake which is a log that has been floating in Organ’s Crater Lake for around 120 years. In 1938, they tracked its movements and it travelled 60 miles in just three months. This sparked my imagination and made me wonder what could be below the water.’

Other inspirations from Joe include paintings by Winslow Homer. He wanted to show how people can imagine the same thing in different ways.
Here is one original early sketch. Joe explains:
‘The lighthouse eventually had more of a tree house style lighthouse as it would be more fun to illustrate and not be too heavy for the Black Rock to carry around all day.’ 

As Fiona says at the end: ‘The Secret of Black Rock is a story about curiosity and bravery and I loved the way the environmental message is entirely hopeful showing that we can all strive to be the change we want to see’.

Thank you to Fiona for hosting this blog and to Joe, and visit Fiona’s blog to pick up more of Joe’s early sketches.

The second stop on the tour was Mrs. Mole, I’m Home! written and illustrated by Jarvis and published by Walker. This blog was hosted by Library Mice.

Mrs Mole, I’m Home! tells the story of Morris Mole who after a long hard day at work is desperate to see his family, but cannot find his way home because he cannot see, after losing his glasses (the glasses are perched on his head the whole time, which will delight to little readers as there is something so joyous about knowing something the character does not!) Digging his way around, he keeps popping into other people’s homes, from rabbits to penguins, and readers are thus introduced to different habitats, conveyed by the gorgeous colours in the artwork. In the end, Morris realises he does not need his glasses to find his way home. There is plenty to pore over and plenty to giggle at in this lovely tale. Here is a message from Jarvis regarding his shortlisting:

“To have Mrs Mole, I’m Home, included on the FCBG’s Children’s Book Award Top 4 Picture Books is such a great surprise. When you make a picture book and send it out into the world you have no idea how it will be perceived or how much it will even be read! Will it get lost and end up at the  back of a library shelf? But to hear that it has found its way onto a list voted for by children is more than I could have hoped for.” Thanks to Jarvis and to Library Mice for hosting this blog. 

Visit the blog to see more great pictures from this popular book. And remember to vote online here

Edgar and the Sausage Inspector, written and illustrated by Jan Fearnley, and published by Nosy Crow was hosted by Playing by the Book

“It’s hard to say no to a rat in a hat!”

Edgar and Edith are hungry, and it’s up to Edgar to bring home something tasty. But every time Edgar finds some delicious sausages or some scrumptious pastries from the patisserie, they’re confiscated by a dastardly rat calling himself The Inspector. Just who is this important-looking fellow with a big hat? Poor Edgar and Edith are left with nothing but dry crackers and pickles for dinner. That is, until one day, when Edgar decides to do some investigating of his own about the rather portly Inspector and the rat meets his match…

This fantastically funny book by multi-award-winning author-illustrator, Jan Fearnley is set in Paris and features lots of delicious food from a scrumptious string of sausages to a pile of pretty pastries. There’s a gorgeous cat and a wonderfully villainous rat and a surprise ending that will delight both adults and children – no wonder it has proved such a hit with young voters in the Children’s Book Award!

Jan Fearnley said of her shortlisting:

“I’m absolutely thrilled to be on the shortlist for the Children’s Book Awards. What I love about this award is that it is the children who vote. I am incredibly proud of Edgar and The Sausage Inspector, Edgar’s story had been rolling around in my head for a while and I simply adore writing and drawing naughty, dodgy characters such as the Rat in a Hat. I love that he makes himself “important” and credible with all the usual silly paraphernalia – a hat, a badge, a notebook, because that’s what people do nowadays. If Nosy Crow had allowed me a few more spreads, he could well have ended up sporting a high-vis jacket!”

Read more from Jan and see more of the fabulous spreads from the book at, with thanks to Zoe and to Jan.

And our final blog stop for the Younger Children Category was hosted by Toppsta featuring I Dare You, written and illustrated by Reece Wykes and published by Andersen Press

Visit the blog to read what Toppsta reviewers had to say about it, but as Georgina Atwell of Toppsta says:

“What’s amazing is that this is Reece’s first book and it’s an impressive start from a debut author/illustrator. Reece studied illustration and animation at Kingston University. His work has been highly commended by the MacMillan Children’s Book Prize and he was joint winner of the Worldwide Illustration Prize, UK category. He now lives and works in London and judging by the dry wit and punchy illustrations of I Dare You, I have a feeling we have another Jon Klassen (I Want My Hat Back) in our midst”. 

Reece says “It came as such an amazing surprise to see my name alongside these other fantastic illustrators nominated for the FCBG Children’s Book Award. I Dare You is my first picture book and I was slightly apprehensive about it being released into the world. It’s such a great feeling knowing that kids (and maybe some adults) have enjoyed reading it. I want to say a big thank you to Andersen Press for believing in me and my slightly strange book idea.”

As Toppsta adds:

But now we need your help! I Dare You and the other titles on the shortlist need your votes. In addition to the FCBG tester groups, any child up to the age of 18 can vote for their favourite books on the Top 10 Shortlist, you can find out how here and keep up to date with all of the FCBG Children’s Book Award news on Twitter.

Thanks to Georgina and to Reece for this blog.

The next blog stop is on Monday 19th March with Katherine Rundell’s The Explorer published by Bloomsbury and hosted by librarygirlandbookboy

Make sure you follow us on Twitter to read the blogs on the Younger Readers’ Top Ten and subscribe to this blog to catch the round-up on 29th March.     


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