The Bath Children’s Novel Award is an annual international prize for emerging novelists writing for children and young adults.
The winner of The Bath Children’s Novel Award 2018, as judged by Hilary Delamere of The Agency, will be announced at a reception at Bath’s Museum of Architecture on February 28th 2019. The winning novelist will receive £2,500 and one longlisted writer will also win a place worth £1,800 on Edit your Novel the Professional Way from Cornerstones Literary Consultancy.
We are delighted to announce this year’s shortlist, chosen by Junior Judges aged 6 -17 years from a longlist of 33. In an exceptionally strong year for novels with themes of escape, this is a list full of characters determined to fix what is broken – whether individuals, communities or worlds – through kindness, courage and hope.
As all our judges read “blind” we’ll be keeping the shortlistees’ identities under wraps until the winner is announced, but in the meantime, many congratulations to the writers of these six standout titles, listed alphabetically within reader age groups:
RESISTANCE / 10-12 year olds / historical with magic realism
Junior Judges’s comments: Resistance is a powerful and moving story with lots of exciting twists and turns. It’s about a girl called Relka who is in love with poetry. She’s living in Poland in late WW2 and her family has been taken away by the Russian army. She escapes and whilst on the run meets the Hussar guardian angel of Poland who gives her wings and strength to help Poland in its fight for peace and an end to poverty.
THE UNADOPTABLES / 10 to 12 year olds / historical mystery
Junior Judges’ comments: The Unadoptables is a surprising and intriguing mystery about finding your true family. In 1886 Milou lives at Amsterdam’s Little Tulip Orphanage with her five best friends and treasured cat puppet. The cruel matron in charge threatens to let a creepy man adopt the children when they turn thirteen. The children escape and make a new home in the cat puppet maker’s abandoned windmill where they must outwit the grownups to stay free.
A BODY / young adult / speculative
Junior Judges’ comments: A Body is an intriguing and sinister story about breaking free from mind control. Fifteen-year-old Dill has been raised since birth in a secret complex called The Facility. As part of a research program she must follow a strict health and fitness regime and is not allowed to have feelings and thoughts or ask questions. When a new trainer encourages Dill to start breaking the rules she starts to resist and discovers what it means to become a fully formed person, not just a body.
HAI / young adult / fantasy
Junior Judges’ comments: Hai is an enchanting and cute Japanese retelling of Cinderella set in 1900. Orphan Hai wears special owlish goggles, has a mean step-family and works all hours fixing trains. One day he loses his glasses and is rescued by the empress’s ocean-explorer son who is under pressure to choose a bride despite being gay. Can there be a happy-ever-after for either Hai or his prince?
LOOPS / young adult / psychological thriller
Junior Judges’ comments: Loops is chilling, vivid and full of hooks which keep you guessing to the last page. Lenora escapes from The Home where girls are given pills to block their memories. The further away she gets the more her memories return and she pieces together fragments about her boyfriend, family and rebellious friendships to get to the truth about why she was in The Home.
THE WEIGHT OF OUR UNIVERSE / young adult novel-in-verse / contemporary
Junior Judges’ comments: The Weight of Our Universe is an empowering book about love, friendship and overcoming shame. Thanks to her schoolmates the whole world knows Frankie’s most intimate secret about her new relationship. When the internet blows up with hateful messages she is humiliated and can’t possibly tell her parents. Frankie must work out who to trust and find a way to push back at and call out the shamers.