Guardian Children's Fiction Prize 2012

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The Unforgotten Coat by Frank Cottrell Boyce


Gorgeous and slightly surreal story about friendship, difference and enrichment. And a more-than-welcome antidote to anti-immigration rhetoric. Full review...

Other Shortlisted Books

Dying to Know You by Aidan Chambers


A wonderful book about friendship, words, and our deepest, most hidden selves. Elegant, precise prose and wonderful dialogue in which space has as much to say as words. This is a book to return to. Discerning readers will love it. Full review...

A Greyhound of a Girl by Roddy Doyle


The story contains a lot of the quick-fire, teasing dialogue typical of loving families, and also many moments to giggle over (well, how does a ghost get an ice cream out of a locked shop?). It deals with serious questions in a way which is both bitter-sweet and direct, and its brevity means it will appeal to a wide range of readers. Light-hearted but not lightweight, sweet but not saccharine, touching but not mawkish – this book is well worth reading. Full review...

Dead End In Norvelt by Jack Gantos


Dead End in Norvelt is a quirky semi-autobiography with some deliciously dark humour that is unfortunately let down by a lack of direction in the plot. Full review...

Soonchild by Russell Hoban


Sixteen-Face John attempts to retrieve the World Songs so his Soonchild can be born. Funny, scary and beautiful piece of magic realism with illustrations that are as much a part of the story as the words are. Full review...

The Abominables by Eva Ibbotson


The unfinished manuscript of this story was found among Eva Ibbotson's papers after her death, and it was completed by her son. But there is no need to worry that this might have in any way compromised the quality of the book. Her trademark humour, her love of nature and her magical imagination are all there, and after an amusing start the plot moves at a cracking pace to its exciting, hair-raising conclusion. Boys and girls alike will love its oddball humour, and while the book does convey a clear message about respecting those who are not the same as us, it is never preachy or heavy-handed. It is, in short, a wonderful book which will be read with great pleasure, and then reread. No author could ask for more. Full review...

Bullet Boys by Ally Kennen


Another fantastic thriller from Ally Kennen. Great characterisation and a challenging vocabulary sits, as ever, alongside tense and twisting plotting. She really does write some of the best intelligent page-turners for teens. Full review...

A Boy and a Bear in a Boat by Dave Shelton


Sweet fable about friendship and trials with some lovely interactions between boy and bear and absolutely gorgeous illustrations. Full review...


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