There were 131 entries for the 2018 Costa Children’s Book Award and here are the four books that made the shortlist judged by Rick O’Shea, RTE Broadcaster, Fleur Sinclair, Owner, Sevenoaks Bookshop and Imogen Russell Williams, Children’s Book Critic.
(Hodder Children’s Books)
One hot summer morning, Davie steps boldly out of his front door. The world he enters is very familiar - the little Tyneside town that has always been his home - but as the day passes, it becomes ever more dramatic and strange. A boy has been killed, and Davie thinks he might know who is responsible. He turns away from the gossip and excitement and sets off roaming towards the sunlit hills above the town. As the day goes on, the real and the imaginary start to merge, and Davie knows that neither he nor his world will ever be the same again.
Bone Talk by Candy Gourlay
(David Fickling Books)
More than a hundred years ago, a boy named Samkad thinks he knows everything about the world. He knows the mountains he lives in. He knows his people. He knows his blood enemy, the Mangili. And he wants to become a man, to be given his own shield, spear and axe to fight with. His best friend, Luki, wants all the same things – except she is a girl, and no girl has ever become a warrior. But everything changes when a new boy arrives in the village. He calls himself Samkad’s brother, yet he knows nothing of the ways of the mountain. And he brings news of a people called ‘Americans’, who are bringing war and destruction right to his home...
Orphan Monster Spy by Matt Killeen
Sarah has played many roles: dutiful daughter, talented gymnast, persecuted Jew, lost orphan. But now she faces her most challenging role of all; now she must become the very thing she hates. Aided by her British Handler, Sarah must infiltrate the Bund Deutscher Mädel and win a place at Rothenstadt, a prestigious finishing school for the daughters of the Aryan master race in Nazi Germany. There she must befriend the daughter of a top nuclear scientist by becoming a monster like them. A monster who can destroy them all. The Nazis think she is just a little girl. But she is the weapon they never saw coming.
The Skylarks’ War by Hilary McKay
(MacMillan Children’s Books)
Clarry and her older brother Peter live for their summers in Cornwall, staying with their grandparents and running free with their charismatic cousin, Rupert. But normal life resumes each September – boarding school for Peter and Rupert, and a boring life for Clarry at home with her absent father, as the shadow of a terrible war looms ever closer.
When Rupert goes off to fight at the front, Clarry feels their skylark summers are finally slipping away from them. Can their family survive this fearful war?