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Find your new favourite fiction or non-fiction book with the 2020 Blue Peter Book Awards longlist

Written by · Published Oct 25, 2019

When the Stars Come Out, Bloom, Where the River Runs Gold

The longlist for the 2020 Blue Peter Book Awards has been announced. The two category winners - voted for by hundreds of children in participating UK schools - will be revealed in February 2020.

Best Story

Bloom, by Nicola Skinner & Flavia Sorrentino

“Sorrel Fallowfield is so good at being good that teachers come to her when they need help remembering the school rules – and there are LOTS.

“Luckily, Sorrel doesn’t have any trouble following them, until the day she discovers a faded packet of Surprising Seeds buried under a tree in her backyard.

“Now she’s hearing voices, seeing things, experiencing an almost unstoppable urge to plant the Seeds in some very unusual places… and completely failing to win her school’s competition to find The Most Obedient Child of the School.

“And all that’s before flowers start growing out of her head…”

Can You See Me?, by Libby Scott & Rebecca Westcott

“People think that because Tally’s autistic, she doesn’t realise what they’re thinking, but Tally sees and hears - and notices - all of it. Endearing, insightful and warmly uplifting, this is a story of autism, empathy and kindness that will touch readers of all ages.”

Charlie Changes into a Chicken, by Sam Copeland & Sarah Horne

“Charlie McGuffin tries to be an optimist, but in reality he’s a bit of a worrier. Some of the things Charlie is worried about: his brother (who is in hospital); their very panicked parents; unwanted attention from the school bully; the fact that he’s started turning into animals!

“Even though every kid wants a superhero power, Charlie isn’t keen on turning into a pigeon in the middle of the school play. But what happens if he does?”

Lori and Max, by Catherine O’Flynn

“Max is the new girl at school and Lori is asked to look after her. Max is odd. She doesn’t fit in - but then Lori doesn’t really fit in either. When some charity money goes missing and Max disappears, Lori seems to be the only one who doesn’t think Max has stolen it and run away.”

Malamander, by Thomas Taylor

“Nobody visits Eerie-on-Sea in the winter. Especially not when darkness falls and the wind howls around Maw Rocks and the wreck of the battleship Leviathan, where even now some swear they have seen the unctuous Malamander creep.

“Herbert Lemon, Lost-and-Founder at the Grand Nautilus Hotel, knows that returning lost things to their rightful owners is not easy - especially when the lost thing is not a thing at all, but a girl. No one knows what happened to Violet Parma’s parents 12 years ago, and when she engages Herbie to help her find them, the pair discover that their disappearance might have something to do with the legendary sea-monster, the Malamander.

“Eerie-on-Sea has always been a mysteriously chilling place, where strange stories seem to wash up. And it just got stranger!”

Owen and the Soldier, by Lisa Thompson & Mike Lowery

“A crumbling stone soldier sits on a bench in the park. Only Owen understands how important he is.

“At home, Owen and his mum are struggling and there’s nobody he can talk to. Hidden away in the park, Owen feels free to be himself. When the war-weary soldier is listening, his worries slip away. But nobody else cares about the soldier, and the town council want to tear him down. Owen’s the only one who can save him but can he find the courage to speak up before it’s too late?”

Runaway Robot, by Frank Cottrell-Boyce & Steven Lenton

“Alfie is off school after an accident in which he lost both his hand and his confidence. He’s lonely all day on his own. So when he comes across Eric, a one-legged robot in need of a friend, he brings him home with him. But a ban on humanoid robots has just been passed, which means Alfie is breaking the law by sheltering Eric. Can he keep his new friend safe - and himself - out of trouble?”

Vote for Effie, by Laura Wood

“Join Effie Kostas as she fights to become Student Council President in her new school. With a campaign team of loveable misfits, she tackles the truly important subjects: gender imbalance, outdated school conventions - and good-looking boys stealing the last slice of chocolate cake at lunchtime.”

Where the River Runs Gold, by Sita Brahmachari

“Shifa and her brother, Themba, live in Kairos City with their father, Nabil. The few live in luxury, whilst the millions like them crowd together in compounds, surviving on meagre rations and governed by Freedom Fields - the organisation that looks after you, as long as you opt in.

“The bees have long disappeared; instead children must labour on farms, pollinating crops so that the nation can eat. The farm Shifa and Themba are sent to is hard and cruel. Themba won’t survive there and Shifa comes up with a plan to break them out. But they have no idea where they are - their only guide is a map drawn from the ramblings of a stranger.

“The journey ahead is fraught with danger, but Shifa is strong and knows to listen to her instincts - to let love guide them home. The freedom of a nation depends on it…”

Wildspark, by Vashti Hardy

“In Medlock, a secretive guild of inventors have brought spirits of the dead back into the world, harnessing them in animal-like machines. Young Prue has joined as an apprentice, but she’s on a mission of her own: to bring her brother back to life. To find him, she needs to get the ghost machines to remember the people they used to be.”

Best Book with Facts

Everest: the remarkable story of Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay, by Alexandra Stewart & Joe Todd-Stanton

“In the late morning of May 29th 1953, the sun was shining brightly on the roof of the world, a gentle breeze was blowing and two men were there to witness it for the first time ever. Their names were Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay and the roof of the world was Everest.

“This is the story of how two very different yet equally determined men battled frost-biting temperatures, tumbling ice rocks, powerful winds and death-defying ridges to reach the top of the world’s highest mountain. Join these two unlikely heroes on the most amazing of adventures and discover the impact of hundreds of men and women that helped Hillary and Tenzing achieve their goal. But triumphs can be marred with tragedy, as not everyone who climbs Everest survives.”

Fanatical About Frogs, by Owen Davey

“Leap into this fascinating illustrated guide to the most diverse amphibians in the world, from the lumbering common toad to the beautiful but deadly poison dart frog.”

Heroes, by Jonny Marx & Gerhard van Dyk

“Not all heroes wear capes. But some do have impressive costumes, amazing masks and astonishing super-human abilities. This book showcases more than 100 real-life superheroes, bona fide boffins, awe-inspiring athletes and sublime scientists and celebrates their astounding accomplishments. From the fearless firefighters who tackle blistering blazes to deft doctors that save lives on a daily basis, the world is crammed full of incredible people and the staggering things they’ve achieved can inspire us all.”

How to be an Astronaut and other space jobs, by Dr Sheila Kanani & Sol Linero

“Do you have what it takes to become an astronaut, a spaceship engineer or to work at Mission Control? Find out all about space and all the incredible space jobs you could do, from training to be a space chef or designing spacesuits to searching for new planets we could live on, or even blasting into space and living in the International Space Station.”

Humanimal: incredible ways animals are just like us!, by Christopher Lloyd & Mark Ruffle

“So you think you’re special? You think that just because people have built giant cities, invented pop-up toasters and put a person on the Moon that they are somehow different from other living things? Well it’s time to think again!

Humanimal shows the inextricable interconnections of the human and animal worlds in ways you never before imagined. Inside you will discover how slime moulds can solve how to navigate through a maze; how rats tickle and laugh out loud; how elephants have funerals for their lost loved ones; how bees vote in elections to decide where to locate their nests; how crows use cars to crack nuts and a whole lot more!

“This illustrated, mesmerising exploration shows that humans and other animals don’t just live on the same planet, they also share many of the same patterns of behaviour, making us all fellow players in the drama that is life on Earth.”

Plastic Sucks! You can make a difference, by Dougie Poynter

“Plastic is everywhere and it sucks. It fills up our oceans, endangers our wildlife and never goes away. So it’s time to take action, find ways to cut down our plastic use and help protect our environment. Together we can make a difference!”

Rise Up: ordinary kids with extraordinary stories, by Amanda Li & Amy Blackwell

Rise Up tells the stories of girls and boys from around the world and the challenges they have faced and overcome. It features over 30 amazing children who have achieved the unimaginable - whether their story is of sailing single-handedly around the world at the age of 14, or surviving a plane crash in the jungle or a shark attack while surfing. There are tales of triumphing over illness and injury, and of fighting against the plastic in our oceans. Entries include Ellie Simmons, Boyan Slat and Phiona Mutesi, to name a few.”

The Ladybird Big Book of Dead Things, by Ned Hartley & Binny Talib

“Welcome to the Museum of Dead Things. Your expert guides are here to introduce you to the exhibits, from fierce dinosaurs to exploding dead stars.

“This is a funny, stylishly-illustrated non-fiction guide to all things dead and gone. The stylish illustrations and engaging animal characters bring a broad range of topics alive, from dinosaurs and prehistoric animals to astronomy and ancient history. Meet Ancient Egyptian mummies and learn their secrets; romp through prehistoric worlds with dinosaurs, and learn all about the death of stars.”

The Lost Book of Adventure, by Teddy Keen

“On a recent expedition to the Amazon, outdoor enthusiast Teddy Keen stumbled across a sealed metal container in a remote hut on the banks of the Jari River. Inside the box were tattered sketchbooks and survival notebooks by an unknown adventurer, full of details of their extraordinary adventures and escapes, expedition advice and survival methods.

“The sketchbooks are attributed to an “Unknown Adventurer” who appears to have created a guide to adventuring for two young relatives, hoping to inspire them to explore hidden places around the globe. Restored and pieced together, the mysterious Unknown Adventurer’s notebooks are now available for everyone to share.

“Featuring tales of peril and danger weaved with practical tips, children can discover how to camp in the wild, create their own rafts, make different types of shelters with what the environment provides, first aid and essential supplies in an explorer’s kit.

“It’s an extremely detailed and in-depth book that you can lose hours in, with magnificent illustrations highlighting the exotic Amazon and the beauty and importance of the natural world.”

When the Stars Come Out, by Nicola Edwards & Lucy Cartwright

“As we delve into the magical realm that is our universe at night we discover what makes it so extraordinary, from moonbows to shooting stars and from the polar night to the northern lights. Experience how different habitats from the city to the ocean, come alive when the sun sets. Meet animals that make their own elaborate beds and others that sleep while swimming or flying. Explore the history of human sleep across the globe and dive into a world of dreams.”

Alice Violett

Alice Violett

I write and edit content for the Suffolk Libraries website. Visit my website.