The Alliance of Radical Booksellers (ARB) is delighted to announce that the winner of this year’s Little Rebels Children’s Book Award for Radical Fiction is Catherine Johnson for her book, Freedom (Scholastic 2018).
The winner of the Little Rebels Children’s Book Award 2019 was announced at an event held in the CLPE (Centre for Literacy in Primary Education) Literacy Library on Wednesday July 10th. Catherine Johnson has fought off competition from Sarah MacIntyre and recently accoladed debut artist Emily Haworth-Booth, to win The 2019 Little Rebels Award for Radical Fiction.
A short historical novel, Freedom tells the story of Nat, a young boy enslaved on a Jamaican plantation, brought over to England in the late eighteenth century. Hopeful that, once on UK soil, he will finally be free from bondage, Nat instead witnesses the pivotal role Britain played in building the slavery industry.
Emily Drabble, head of children’s books promotion and prizes at BookTrust and one of this year’s judges commented “Catherine Johnson brings the horrific history of slavery to life in this important piece of historical fiction for a middle grade audience. A brilliant adventure story that shines a much-needed spotlight on the UK’s role [and which also introduces us to] real life people who should be more famous than they are, including former slave turned author and abolitionist Olaudah Equiano and Shadrack Furman, the first black army Pensioner. A well deserved win from one of the UK’s most fabulous storytellers.”
Other shortlisted authors for 2019 were Bridget Blankley for The Ghosts & Jamal (HopeRoad Publishing); Anne Booth for Across the Divide (Catnip Publishing); Emily Haworth-Booth for The King Who Banned the Dark (Pavilion Books); Nadine Kaadan for Tomorrow (Lantana Publishing); Sarah McIntyre for The New Neighbours (David Fickling Books).
The Little Rebels Children’s Book Award is now in its 7th year. The Award recognises fiction for ages 0-12 which promotes or celebrates social justice and equality. It is run by booksellers Housmans Bookshop and Letterbox Library and is awarded by the Alliance of Radical Booksellers (ARB). This year’s judges were: author Patrice Lawrence; Emily Drabble, Head of Children’s Book Promotions/Prizes at BookTrust; B.J. Epstein, Senior Lecturer at the University of East Anglia; Darren Chetty, Teacher, Writer, Researcher; Shaun Dellenty, Trainer in LGBT+ inclusive education.
The views expressed do not necessarily represent those of the FCBG.