Guardian Children's Fiction Prize 2011

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Following hot on the footsteps of last year's winner, Ghost Hunter by Michelle Paver, comes another wonderful selection of children's books in the 2011 Guardian Children's Fiction Prize.

The Longlist

Small Change for Stuart by Lissa Evans

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Poor Stuart Horten is rather small for his age. Unfortunately for him, if you put his initial with his surname it becomes 'shorten', which is just asking for trouble. Still, he's happy and has lots of friends. Or, at least, he does until his parents move house and he finds himself living in a strange town (his father's hometown) in the school holidays, looking at the prospect of a long, boring and lonely summer ahead of him. He soon discovers, however, that there is a mystery surrounding his family's history in the town, and it looks as though Stuart might just be the one to uncover what really happened... Full review...

Twilight Robbery by Frances Hardinge

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Mosca and her companions will be familiar to readers of Fly By Night, but it is in no way necessary to have read the first volume of her adventures to thoroughly enjoy this book. She is a twelve-year-old orphan, who travels the roads with her homicidal goose, and a rather shifty poet called, charmingly, Eponymous Clent. We meet them just after a particularly energetic display of destruction by the said goose: Eponymous has been thrown into jail until he can pay for the damage, and Mosca is trying to raise some cash by reading aloud an old newspaper to illiterate townsfolk. Full review...

Momentum by Saci Lloyd

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London, 2030. Energy wars are consuming the globe now peak oil is past. Britain creaks on with ever-declining influence and is now partly dependent on aid from China. The gap between rich and poor is now so great that the poor (the Outsiders) live in dreadful slums while the rich (the Citizens) spend most of their time plugged into the net, experiencing life as a fantasy. Civil unrest is springing up, only to be ruthlessly put down by the Kossacks, the new security force. Full review...

Moon Pie by Simon Mason

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When I'm older, she thought, I'll remember this midnight picnic as a good thing. I'll forget that I was scared of the dark and that Dad was strange. I'll remember the candles in the grass, like flowers made out of flame, and Tug dreaming of pie, and Dad telling me he loves me.

Poor Martha. She's only eleven and she's so used to being the person who copes that it's become second nature to her. To keep herself focused, she writes lists. Full review...

Return to Ribblestrop by Andy Mulligan

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Before they even get back to Ribblestrop, Millie and her friends singularly or together hitchhike, pay their bus drivers the fare in fags, survive a car crash, set fire to a hotel, survive being eaten by a lion and other big cats, and encourage a Brazilian with a criminal record to take his unemployed circus animals to Ribblestrop. And what is Ribblestrop, you may ask? Full review...

My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece by Annabel Pitcher

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Ten-year-old Jamie Matthews has moved to the Lake District because his dad says they need a Fresh Start. With him are his sister Jas, who doesn't eat much, is painfully thin, and who has multiple piercings and hair dyed bright pink, his father, who should be starting a new job on a building site, but who is too hungover to make it to breakfast, let alone into his car and out to work, and his cat, Roger, who relishes the new hunting opportunities and who is the only one of the foursome to be completely happy in his new surroundings. Full review...

Mr Gum and the Secret Hideout by Andy Stanton

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Mr Gum is out for revenge. So often has he tried to get the best of Lamonic Bibber, the town our heroes live in, and so often he has failed. This time, however, he is well prepared. He has a secret hideout (the clue was in the title), he has Billy William the Third with him - his accomplice who's stupid and evil enough to laugh at a person getting their eyebrows burnt off, before realising said person is himself, and he has a ready-made supply of stinky, rotting meat and animal parts to help in his vengeance. Just what all this adds up to is well worth the wait in the eighth entry in this expanding series of books. Full review...

My Name Is Mina by David Almond

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We first Mina in Skellig. A homeschooled, William Blake-loving, slightly precious child, she arrived in Michael's life with not a little whiff of the culture shock about her. Now, we can find out what really makes Mina tick as we read through her journal. Mina is full of contradictions. She likes to be different, individual, but she doesn't like being a misfit. She wants friends but she doesn't know how to make them or to keep them. She is both reflective and impulsive. Her diary entries reflect her capricious nature. Sometimes they are upbeat. Sometimes they are sad. They come in big letters and little letters, in lots of words and in few words, in poems and in prose. Sometimes they're completely blank. Full review...

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