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The Branford-Boase Prize 2014

Anthem for Jackson DawesSorrowline - The Timesmith Chronicles 1The Child's ElephantFrost Hollow Hall

The Branford-Boase Prize Longlist was announced last week. It’s an interesting prize, as it looks for the best first novels for children aged seven and up and includes the books’ editors as well as the authors. The idea is to highlight new talent and recognise the work editors do in nurturing that talent. This year the Longlist has particularly caught my eye. It has books I’ve read and loved, books I’ve been meaning to read, and books I hadn’t previously heard about.

Winter DamageThe Bone DragonThe Tiger ThiefDarcy Burdock

Despite not being a children’s bookseller at the moment, I still passionately believe in the importance of giving children access to a wide range of stories and stimulating their imaginations with well-told tales. I love the Book Club I have with my nieces and nephews; hearing them talk about what they’ve been reading is a joy. And I don’t deny for a moment that reading children’s books still gives me a huge amount of pleasure.

After EdenFearsome Dreamer - Fearsome DreamerThe DisappearedInfinite Sky

The Branford-Boase Longlist has me excited and I’d like to tap into that by featuring all of the books on my blog over the next 13 weeks in the run up to the Shortlist being announced. I can’t promise that I’ll definitely be able to read them all before then, but I’ll do my best. With any luck I’ll have help from some actual children!

Wild BoyThe Mysterious Misadventures of Clemency WrigglesworthRed InkThe Oathbreaker's Shadow

I’ll talk about the books on Twitter too, using #BranfordBoase. I’d love to hear what other people think about the Longlist books, so please get in touch via comments, email, or on Twitter.

FerrymanAlex, the Dog and the Unopenable DoorThe River SingersThe Poison Boy

Here’s my tentative schedule, barring any difficulties getting hold of the books or other major disasters!

The Hanged Man RisesGabriel's ClockAcidSun Catcher

This week: C.J. Flood, Infinite Sky and Fletcher Moss, The Poison Boy
W/C 3 Feb: Rob Lloyd Jones, Wild Boy and Claire McFall, Ferryman
         10 Feb: Emma Carroll, Frost Hollow Hall and Julie Mayhew, Red Ink
         17 Feb: Laura Dockrill, Darcy Burdock and Dan Smith, My Friend the Enemy
         24 Feb: Ross Montgomery, Alex, the Dog and the Unopenable Door and
Sarah Naughton, The Hanged Man Rises
         3 Mar: Alison Rattle, The Quietness and Holly Smale, Geek Girl
        10 Mar: Laure Eve, Fearsome Dreamer and Piers Torday, The Last Wild
        17 Mar: Julia Lee, The Mysterious Misadventures of Clemency Wrigglesworth
and Amy McCulloch, The Oathbreaker’s Shadow
        24 Mar: Alexia Casale, The Bone Dragon and Celia Bryce, Anthem for Jackson
        31 Mar: Michaela Clarke, Tiger Thief and C.J. Harper, The Disappeared
        7 Apr: Hilton Pashley, Gabriel’s Clock, Rachel Campbell-Johnston, The Child’s
            Elephant and Helen Douglas, After Eden
       14 Apr: Natasha Carthew, Winter Damage, Jackie Morris, East of the Sun,
            West of the Moon and Emma Pass, ACID
       21 Apr: Tom Moorhouse, The River Singers, Neil Bushnell, Sorrowline and
            Sheila Rance, Sun Catcher

The QuietnessGeek GirlMy Friend the EnemyThe Last Wild

Right then, I’ll be off to do a spot of reading and blog writing. I’ll put the first book post up this weekend. There’s more information about the prize on the Branford-Boase website, including a writing competition for young writers.

East of the Sun, West of the Moon


  1. Fabulous! So glad someone is doing this. We'll follow with interest and chip in when and where it overlaps with our reading.

    1. I look forward to finding out which books you're reading and your thoughts about them. It'll be fun!


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