Guardian Children's Fiction Prize 2010

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Following hot on the footsteps of last year's winner, Exposure by Mal Peet, comes another wonderful selection of children's books in the 2010 Guardian Children's Fiction Prize.

Winner

Ghost Hunter by Michelle Paver

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About six thousand years ago, Canis lupus familiaris, the dog to you and me, was simply Canis lupus - the wolf. Torak and his friend Wolf are taking the first tentative steps towards domestication and together they make a wonderful team, suffused with love and loyalty and able to take on almost any danger. And they need to, because the forest and its creatures and its clans are under attack from the Soul Eaters and all their lives are threatened. A stunning conclusion to this wonderful and slightly supernatural series. There's no zeitgeist about them, and these books will have a place on the library shelves for years to come. Full review...


The Shortlist

Prisoner of the Inquisition by Theresa Breslin

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Don't read this book if you are of a delicate disposition and prone to nightmares. Within the first few pages a woman is burned at the stake, a man is unjustly accused and hanged, his young son only just escapes the same fate and a woman dies in childbirth. But this is no horror story, and none of the violence is gratuitous: this is quite simply the world of fifteenth century Spain. King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella are fighting the Moors in Granada, Christopher Columbus is seeking royal funding for a voyage to prove the world is round, and the Inquisition is spreading terror and anguish throughout the land. And against this background of momentous events, we have the thrilling and beautiful account of the lives of two young people, bound together by hatred and love. Full review...

Now by Morris Gleitzman

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We first met Felix in Once. He thought he was the luckiest child in the orphanage, since he was the only one whose parents weren't dead. Sadly, he was wrong about that. We followed his story in Then, in which he and his dear friend Zelda are on the run from the Nazis at the height of the Holocaust and its terrifying Final Solution. In Now, we catch up with Felix many years later. He's built a good life as a surgeon in Australia, and is now frustratingly retired, unable to operate because of his shaky hands. He's looking after his granddaughter, Zelda's namesake, whose parents are doctors volunteering in Darfur. Full review...

Unhooking the Moon by Gregory Hughes

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The Rat and Bob are prairie children. Winnipeg is a land so flat you can watch your dog run away for three days. When their father dies and they're orphaned, they are determined to avoid a children's home at all costs and embark upon a road trip to New York City, in search of their long-lost uncle. Bob is pretty much the hanger-on - he knows that the Rat is a special kid who would never make it in an institution and so he puts his fears aside to follow his singular sister. Full review...

The Ogre Of Oglefort by Eva Ibbotson

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When a Hag, an orphan boy and a troll called Ulf get sent to rescue a princess from an ogre, they expect it to be a fairly standard magical mission. But the ogre is depressed, the princess doesn’t want to be rescued – and the ogre’s dead wife is turning in her grave. The Norns who rule their fates decide to take things in hand – will the Ogre meet a bloody end, or will he get a happy ending? Full review...

Sparks by Ally Kennen

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When Carla's beloved Grandpa dies, she is inconsolable. Then she finds a secret letter, and decides to give him the end he always wanted. A Viking funeral, in a burning boat heading out to sea. Carla and her siblings set out on a crazy and dangerous race against time to achieve the impossible. Full review...

Lob by Linda Newbery

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Lob is a Green Man – an ancient nature spirit and garden helper. Can you spot him hiding on the front cover of the book? Lucy believes in Lob, though her Mum and Dad tell her it's just Grandpa's story. When Lucy finally manages to catch a fleeting glimpse of Lob, she is entranced and delighted to share Grandpa's secret. But when Grandpa dies and his home is sold Lucy is heartbroken. She wonders if she will ever see Lob again. What follows is a journey through the seasons tracing Lucy's life after Grandpa's death and Lob's search to find a new garden home. Full review...

White Crow by Marcus Sedgwick

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Rebecca is not happy to be leaving London. She's not happy with her dad, she's not happy with her boyfriend, and she just generally an unhappy person. Having to move to a dead-end place like Winterfold doesn't help at all. Her only friend there is a strange girl named Ferelith who one hot summer's day shows her an abandoned mansion where two hundred years ago a priest performed horrible experiments on human corpses. He wanted to learn something from the dead. But what was it? And what does Ferelith really want from Rebecca? Full review...

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