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Books about refugees and Second World War longlisted for top children’s prize

Books exploring the lives of refugees and the Second World War are among those longlisted for a top children’s book prize.

The Yoto Carnegies celebrate both writing and illustration and are the UK’s longest running book awards for children and young people.

This year’s longlist of 36 books, voted for by librarians, have been selected from 20 different publishers and explore themes including environmentalism and sexuality.

To The Other Side
The winners will each receive a specially commissioned golden medal and a £5,000 cash prize (Yoto Carnegie Awards/PA)

Among the titles, 19 have been longlisted for the Yoto Carnegie Medal for writing, while 18 have been selected for the Yoto Carnegie Medal for illustrators.

Novel Choose Love by Nicola Davies, illustrated by Petr Horacek, has been longlisted for writing and uses poetry to provide an insight into the lives of refugees forced to leave their homes.

Elsewhere, Cathy Faulkner is one of five debut authors who have made it onto the list with her offering Digging For Victory, a novel set during the Second World War about 12-year-old Bonnie Roberts who desperately wants to help with the war effort.

Former Carnegie Medal for writing winner Anthony McGowan is also nominated for Dogs Of The Deadlands, a tale of survival inspired by the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, one of the worst accidents in the history of nuclear power generation.

Meanwhile, author Simon James Green explores themes of self-discovery and identity in Boy Like Me, a book about teen romance in the midst of Section 28 where gay relationships were not to be mentioned in schools.

Other longlisted books, in the writing category, include story of friendship The Song Walker by Zillah Bethell, ghost tale Ravencave by the late Marcus Sedgwick and World War Two novel Safiyyah’s War by Hiba Noor Khan.

Elsewhere, in the illustration category, are books including adventure story The Wilderness by Steve McCarthy, which explores the great outdoors, and graphic novel Global by comic artist Giovanni Rigano, which illustrates the effects of global warming.

Maura Farrelly, chair of judges for The Yoto Carnegies 2024, said: “Huge congratulations to all of our longlisted authors and illustrators in what has been a fantastic year for books for children and young people.

Digging For Victory
The shortlists for the 2024 Yoto Carnegies will be announced at the London Book Fair on March 13 (Yoto Carnegie Awards/PA)

“It has been a joy and a privilege to chair an enthusiastic and dedicated panel of judges as we read, debated and considered the nominated titles before arriving at two exciting longlists.

“These are books that play with language and show how powerful words and illustrations can inspire imaginations and encourage empathy as well as helping young readers make sense of an increasingly confusing world and give them hope for a brighter future.”

The winners will each receive a specially commissioned golden medal and a £5,000 cash prize.

The shortlists for the 2024 Yoto Carnegies will be announced at the London Book Fair on March 13 and the winners’ ceremony will be hosted live and streamed on June 20.