Five Children on the Western Front by Kate Saunders

Shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2016

In 1936 the Carnegie award was established in memory of the great Scottish philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie, who founded over 2800 libraries in the English speaking world.  It celebrates, each year, a writer who has produced an “outstanding book written in English for children and young people”.  Eighty years on it is in as rude health as one could hope for in this age of electronic and digital temptations.

To celebrate the announcement on June 20th of the 2016 winner, I have chosen my “winner” from amongst the shortlist: Kate Saunders’ Five Children on the Western Front.  It is far more than just a sequel to E Nesbit’s Five Children and It and packs an anti-war punch most effectively because one cares about the fate of the characters as they are caught up in the conflict.  Its author’s deep knowledge of the First World War melds perfectly with the story of the sand fairy’s return and reminds the older reader, whilst informing the younger, of the terrible sacrifice made by that doomed generation of ordinary men and women.  (Suitable for ages 10+)


Kate Saunders Five Children on the Western Front
Hardback  £10.99/Paperback  £6.99 (336pp)

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The Wild Swans by Jackie Morris

Inspired by Hans Christian Anderson’s fairy tale, this is a retelling of the classic story of a princess who knits shirts out of stinging nettles to undo a wicked curse that has turned her brothers into swans.  The radiant colour illustrations make it perfect for seven to nine year old readers but it can equally be read as a bedtime story for slightly younger children.  It is not a picture book but a small elegant hardback. It adds to the original story by emphasising how the “curse” of silence might enhance one’s understanding of the world by making one more alive to the richness of nature.  

Jackie Morris     The Wild Swans
Hardback  £10.99  (176pp)

To order this book, please email