Waterstones Children's Book Prize 2019
In the 15th year of the Waterstones Children's Book Prize, Onjali Q. Raufs' The Boy At The Back Of The Class has been announced as the overall winner. Chosen by professional booksellers, this outstanding book simply shines as an exceptional new voice in Middle Grade fiction. It is the moving tale of refugee Ahmet; separated from his family, alone in a new school and a new country, to the other children in school he is simply the boy who sits at the back of the class. When a small group of his classmates take it upon themselves to make friends with Ahmet and learn his story. This sets them on an unexpected adventure. Told in a genuine voice, this topical story reaches out in a way which children aged 9+ years will find easy to relate and understand. It covers many difficult issues (bullying, diversity, racism) with honesty, directness, empathy, compassion and a wonderful childlike vision and gentle humour. Warm, expressive, funny and thought-provoking, The Boy At The Back Of The Class is, indeed, a worthy winner.
The winners in this years' category awards are as follows:
In the Illustrated Books category; we have The Girls by Lauren Ace and Jenny Lovlie; a wonderful story of a friendship that lasts a lifetime; celebrating difference and individuality.
Taking the crown for Older Fiction is an incredible, riveting fantasy debut by Tomi Adeyemi; Children of Blood and Bone. The first in a new series, this is a tale the combines West African mythology with fantastic world-building to give a story that is rich with texture, identity and courage.
The Waterstones Childrens' Book Prize is selected from a vast array of dynamic debut authors each year.
Congratulations to the winners!