No catches, no fine print just unconditional book loving for your children with their favourites saved to their own digital bookshelf.
New members get entered into our monthly draw to win £100 to spend in your local bookshop plus lots lots more...Find out more
Shortlisted for the Costa Children's Book Award 2018 | January 2019 Debut of the Month | | Stinging with drama, action and, above all, a relentless sense of urgency, this ruthlessly remarkable debut sees an indomitable Jewess go undercover. When Sarah’s mother is shot dead, there’s no time for sentimentality, no time to grieve. Sarah must press on, “keep moving”, for her survival depends on it. She joins forces with the Captain, a man she discovers is part of the resistance against the Nazis, and Sarah will spy for him. To this end, she adopts a new identity. She becomes Ursula Haller, the “good little dumb National Socialist Monster”. The Captain secures her a place at a school attended by the daughters of top Nazis, and here she must befriend Elsa, whose father is a leading scientist. The conditions at the school are repugnantly cruel, but Sarah is sharp and strong beyond her fifteen years. Though her childhood was curtailed by her actress mother, and then by the Nazis, she’s defiantly resilient, and infiltrates the grand home and secret lab of a top SS scientist. Compelling and quick-paced, the writing - like Sarah’s character - is indelibly raw, and this is a fiercely gripping read. The Costa Judges said : ‘A compelling, darkly thrilling debut - tense, cinematic and brilliant.’
UKLA Longlist Book Awards - 2019 | Shortlisted for the Costa Children's Book Award 2018 | “The day is long, the world is wide, you’re young and free,” Davie’s mam announces at the start of a sweltering day. But Davie doesn’t feel that way. He recently lost his dad and “he hates this dead-end place, where nothing seems to happen, nothing seems to change. Sometimes he just wants to walk out of it and keep on walking and leave it all behind”. Then this morning, as Davie walks through his hometown, David discovers that something has happened - a local lad has been killed, and Davie thinks he knows who’s responsible. Amidst the speculation of his Tyneside neighbours, Davie embarks on a pilgrimage of sorts, encountering a cast of wisdom-imparting folk along the way. There’s wooden-legged Wilf who shares advice and fruit gums; the openhearted priest who makes a confession; the girls creating a “world of wonders” garden. While walking, Davie feels the flutter and ache of grief as “bleak, black memories” surface but, as a friend of his father says, “sometimes a memory or a dream is a fine place to be”. “What is lost might be discovered again, but in a different form”, counsels another character. And as he continues on his way, watching out for the murder suspect, Davie seems to find his father in another form. Wise and soulfully unexpected, this is truly a book for all ages, by an author who exudes the uncanny elegance of a master conjurer.
Shortlisted for the Costa Children's Book Award 2018 | Shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2018 | This immersive coming-of-age epic is set in the late nineteenth century, when an age-old Filipino culture first encounters the brutal warmongering of white men. Samkad cannot wait to become a man through undergoing the ‘Cut’ rites of passage observed by his Bontok tribe (later ignorantly mispronounced by American occupiers as “Bone Talk”), though he fears losing his best friend Luki as a result, for Luki is a girl and their relationship will be forbidden, even though they share the same ambitions - to become a warrior, to fight the Mangili. Samkad’s absorbing journey to manhood is intensified when a white stranger arrives in his village claiming to be his brother, a stranger who tells tales of a people called Americans. Then, when the Americans arrive, bringing war and destruction to the Bontok’s remote mountains, nothing will be the same again. Not for Samkad, nor for his family and culture. By turns universal and unique, historically enlightening and emotionally powerful, this relatable, resonant coming-of-age adventure boasts an abundance of heart, atmosphere and action.
Shortlisted for the Costa Children's Book Award 2018 | This immersive coming-of-age epic is set in the late nineteenth century, when an age-old Filipino culture first encounters the brutal warmongering of white men. Samkad cannot wait to become a man through undergoing the ‘Cut’ rites of passage observed by his Bontok tribe (later ignorantly mispronounced by American occupiers as “Bone Talk”), though he fears losing his best friend Luki as a result, for Luki is a girl and their relationship will be forbidden, even though they share the same ambitions - to become a warrior, to fight the Mangili. Samkad’s absorbing journey to manhood is intensified when a white stranger arrives in his village claiming to be his brother, a stranger who tells tales of a people called Americans. Then, when the Americans arrive, bringing war and destruction to the Bontok’s remote mountains, nothing will be the same again. Not for Samkad, nor for his family and culture. By turns universal and unique, historically enlightening and emotionally powerful, this relatable, resonant coming-of-age adventure boasts an abundance of heart, atmosphere and action.
Winner of The Costa Children's Book Award 2017 | After crashing hundreds of miles from civilisation in the Amazon rainforest, Fred, Con, Lila and Max are utterly alone and in grave danger. They have no food, no water and no chance of being rescued. But they are alive and they have hope. As they negotiatethe wild jungle they begin to find signs that something - someone - has been there before them. Could there possibly be a way out after all?
Winner of the Costa Children's Book Award 2018 | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month October 2018 |One of our 2018 Books of the Year | Award winning Hilary McKay tells a captivating and deeply moving story of three young people growing up in the years before and during World War One. How their lives were totally changed by the War, how what really happened to the soldiers could never be talked about and how a girl like Clarry suddenly had opportunities because of the war are all touched on in a story that is also about universal adolescent relationships and the timeless concerns of being a teenager. Following their mother’s death at her birth, Clarry and her older brother Peter live a joyless life with their gloomy father. The pair live for their summer holidays in Cornwall with their grandparents which they share with their older cousin Rupert. Here, the trio are free to be themselves and to begin to break away from the constraints of family expectations. When war is declared Rupert enlists: his family is horrified and Clarry and Peter are left trying to work out where he might be, how they themselves should react to the war and, above all, whether Rupert is safe. Hilary McKay has a rare gift for novels about families and their interplay. Here, she weaves her story round one of the most powerful backdrops in history. And she does so with the lightest of touch which makes her history come alive. The Costa Judges said: ‘Chime, resonance and sparkle – a truly great read.’
May 2017 Book of the Month | Winner of the Costa Book Awards, Children's Book category, 2016 Charlie’s life should be pretty miserable: he lives in Little Town, where everyone spies on everyone else, and the population is caught between their oppressive rulers and violent criminals who run the black market. A bombing campaign and invasion by their neighbours in the Old Country makes things even worse. Somehow though Charlie remains positive. He makes friends with Pav, a refugee from the Old Country, and together they turn an old shed into a homely refuge until circumstances leave Charlie owing favours to the terrifying Big Man, and facing an awful choice. Decent, determined and brighter than he makes out, Charlie finds a solution. Charlie’s voice and outlook keep the tone light despite the darkness of setting and subject matter. Hugely entertaining and highly original. Sally Gardner’s Maggot Moon and Meg Rosoff’s How I Live Now are more examples of brilliant, thought-provoking dystopian fiction, while After Tomorrow by Gillian Cross offers similar insight into the refugee experience. ~ Andrea Reece The Costa Judges said “Reflecting the disorder that conflict brings, Bombs shines a light in the darkest corners, finding humour in the most extraordinary circumstances.”
Winner of the Costa Children's Book Award 2006. Set at the end of the 19th century, Linda Newbery has cleverly carved out an incredible mystery that’s full of clever twists and entwined with drama, all manner of emotions and mind-blowingly powerful multi-dimensional characters, that you’ll find impossible to put down and one that is likely to haunt you long after you’ve read it. There aren’t many books that you can safely say that you’ll enjoy even more by reading it a second time but this is certainly one of them. A tour de force. The Judges said..."A novel of intrigue and deception. Newbery's landscape is a joy to walk into.
Winner of the UKLA 2016 Book Award in the 12 - 16 year old category. WINNER of the 2015 COSTA BOOK OF THE YEAR and Winner of the Costa Children's Book Award Award-winning Frances Hardinge is spellbinding is this hugely entertaining and dramatic Victorian thriller. When Faith’s father dies suddenly she knows she must try to find out exactly what he was hiding in the local caves she had recently visited with him. Discovering the extraordinary Lie Tree which thrives off hearing lies and, in turn, reveals secrets long kept hidden Faith begins to uncover a web of secrets and mysteries that will change her view of the world forever. Faith is a feisty heroine whose courage combined with a determination that girls can be brave and resolute leads to the exposure of much dishonesty and many deceptions. ~ Julia Eccleshare. Shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2016. The Lie Tree is only the second children’s book to take the overall Costa Book of the Year prize, and the first since Philip Pullman won with The Amber Spyglass in 2001. James Heneage, chair of the final judges, said: “Part horror, part detective, part historical, this is a fantastic story with great central characters and narrative tension. It’s not only a fabulous children’s book but a book that readers of all ages will love."
Shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2010 | Winner of the prestigious Costa Children's Book Award 2009 | Prize-winning author Patrick Ness follows up The Knife of Never Letting Go with equally hard hitting The Ask and the Answer. Trying to escape, Todd and Viola fall into the hands of Mayor Prentiss. Separated from Viola and imprisoned, Todd can tell there are some deep and dark secrets outside the town. Who are the mysterious Answer? As gripping as The Knife of Never Letting Go, this is a tough but compelling story which takes readers into shocking and moving territory. CILIP CARNEGIE Medal SHORTLIST 2010: Judges’ comments A visceral and compelling story of incredible power which combines some fantastic writing with intelligent consideration of some important issues: the nature of war, terrorism and the treatment of women. A challenging novel which really lives inside your head. Winner of the prestigious Costa Children's Book Award 2009 - the judges acclaimed it as “a major achievement in the making” Shortlisted for the Teenage Book of the Year Award 2009.
Whitbread Book of the Year Award 2001 The third in Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy. His ‘Dark Materials’, is the story of Lyra, a young girl with an exceptional destiny. Brought up in Jordan College, Oxford Lyra uncovers a secret about her mysterious guardian which leads to some dangerous questioning. It also marks the beginning of Lyra’s search for her friend Roger, a search that takes her to the ice kingdoms of the North where armoured bears rule. Lyra’s courage and stubborn determination lead her on this mission of incredible danger in this brilliant and imaginative story. It’s completely original and totally spellbinding; a true classic that will stand the test of time much in the way Tolkien’s famous work has done.
Longlisted for the UKLA 2018 Book Award | Winner of the YA Book Prize 2017 | Winner of Waterstones Children’s Book Prize 2017, Older Fiction category | Shortlisted for Best Crime Novel for Young Adults, CrimeFest Gala Awards 2017 | Shortlisted for the Costa Book Awards, Children's Book category, 2016 | A young man has an impossible choice to make, in this powerful coming of age urban thriller. The action is uncompromising and powerful, yet punctuated by moments of extraordinary tenderness and it will challenge preconceptions and melt the hardest heart.
Shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2016. Shortlisted for the 2015 Guardian Children's Book prize. Winner of the Costa Children's Book Award 2014. Witty, tender and full of insights into life love and politics, this is a brilliant book in its own right as well as a worthy tribute to E. Nesbit’s classic Five Children and It. The year is 1914. Anthea, Robert, Jane and Cyril, who has just enlisted, are now grown up, the Lamb is a schoolboy and even Edie, an addition to the family since the original, is old enough to meet the extraordinary and magical Psammead when he re-enters their life. All the children are longing for some new adventures but has the Psammead still got his magical powers? As befits the serious times, the Psammead plays an invaluable role in helping the family understand the First World War while also sorting out problems from his own past. Action-packed, funny and thoughtful this is a book to fall in love with. ~ Julia Eccleshare Although Kate Saunders' novel takes its inspiration from E Nesbit's Five Children and It, Five Children on the Western Front is an entirely stand alone novel and there is no need to have read the original classic. One of our Books of the Year 2014 - October 2014 Book of the Month
One of our Books of the Year 2013. Winner of the two most prestigious children's book awards - the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2013 and the Children's Costa Award 2012. And Longlisted for the 2013 Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize | Sally Gardner tells a story that is rich in drama and ideas as Standish Treadwell, an unlikely hero, takes on the vicious forces of the repressive motherland in a novel set in a bleak world that is redeemed only by the very human qualities of some of the survivors. Standish and his remarkable grandfather keep going, eking out a living after the disappearance of Standish’s parents. Standish struggles at school and is the victim of relentless bullying. But then he finds a friend in the newly arrived Hector. When Hector is taken, the only hope lies in Standish…Luckily, Standish has just the qualities that are needed.
The four shortlisted titles in the Children's Book Category 2017 are -
Moonrise by Sarah Crossan
Judges: ‘An exceptional, compelling book for our time – its analysis is devastating but its message is hope.’
Wed Wabbit by Lissa Evans
Judges: ‘A deeply original riot of a novel that will delight children and adults alike, and keep you laughing all the way through.’
The Explorer by Katherine Rundell
Judges: ‘A masterful, delicious read from start to finish.’
The Island at the End of Everything by Kiran Millwood-Hargrave
Judges: ‘Entirely original with not a word out of place – as vivid and beautiful as the butterflies themselves.’
In 2015 a Children's Book Award winner won the overall Costa Book of the Year. The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge is a Victorian murder mystery the judges said ‘will grip readers of all ages'.
It was only the second children’s book EVER to take the overall prize, and the first since Philip Pullman won with The Amber Spyglass in 2001!
James Heneage, chair of the final judges, said: “Part horror, part detective, part historical... It’s not only a fabulous children’s book but a book that readers of all ages will love.”
The Costa Books Awards is the only prize which places children’s books alongside adult books in this way. You can find the four shortlisted children's books in this special section - and click here to see the shortlists and winners for the other categories.
The Costa Book Awards is one of the UK's most prestigious and popular literary prizes and recognises some of the most enjoyable books of the year, written by authors based in the UK and Ireland. Since their launch in 1971, the awards have rewarded a wide range of excellent books and authors across all genres.
On the judging panel for the 2017 Costa Children's Book Awards are:
Sanchita Basu De Sarkar Owner, Children’s Bookshop, Muswell Hill
Fiona Noble Children’s and YA Previews Editor, The Bookseller
Piers Torday Author
These judges will select their favourite in the Children's Book category in early January and this book will then be shortlisted for the 2017 Costa Book of the Year, along with the other category winners. The overall winner will be announced at an awards ceremony in central London on Tuesday 30th January 2018.
The winner receives a £30,000 prize.
Check out the latest activities in our KidsZone.