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  /  Book Links Award for Children's Historical Fiction   /  Shortlist of the 2024 Book Links Award for Children’s Historical Fiction

Shortlist of the 2024 Book Links Award for Children’s Historical Fiction

It is with great pleasure that we announce the shortlisted titles for this year’s Book Links Award for Children’s Historical Fiction. These three titles are outstanding for their perceptive writing, immediate appeal, and the sensitive way they present complex issues for younger readers. They succeed above and beyond in increasing the understanding and appreciation of history by children.

Congratulations to the three finalists. The winner will be announced at a special free online event on 17 July via ZOOM. BOOK HERE

Two Sparrowhawks in a Lonely Sky by Rebecca Lim, A & U Children, 2023. StoryLinks Review

Judges’ comments:
Set in the fifties, this compelling historical novel reveals the hardship and struggle undergone by two Chinese children trying to join their father in Melbourne after their village becomes a government collective.
The exciting and immediately engaging story is rich in memorable characters, full of tension, moments of tenderness and high emotion, with a deep, challenging core questioning our beliefs and prejudices.

The Fortune Maker by Catherine Norton, Harper Collins, 2023. StoryLinks Review

Judges’ comments:
This taut historical novel is about Maud, a 12 yr old girl living in grinding poverty in the London slums in 1913, who tries to make a new life for herself when her father dies. In this alternate reality there are Seers, people who can tell fortunes, see the future and are feted and paid enormous sums of money for their work.
Serious themes of grief and loss, gender roles, power and resilience underpin this adventure but never overburden this exhilarating roller coaster read. The writing is assured, rich in historical detail, and enlivened by delightful insights into character.

Inkflower by Suzy Zail, Walker Books, 2023. StoryLinks review

Judges’ comments:
At the age of sixteen, Lisa learns two truths at once – the revelation about her father’s unspeakable experience during the war and the horrific fact that Emil is now dying from motor neurone disease.
Cleverly structured, the setting weaves between Australia in the eighties and World War Two Europe. As Emil reveals the missing pieces of his life from forty years ago, Lisa’s own sadness about her father’s illness is ever present as the family reconnects and find meaning in the life Emil created. With strong themes of identity and guilt, truth and lies, love and loss, this book is an example of brave and thoughtful storytelling.

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