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Book Links Award for Children’s Historical Fiction – Longlist 2021

Book Links is proud to announce the 2021 Longlist for the inaugural Book Links Award for Children’s Historical Fiction. Eighteen stories from Australia have been chosen from an initial field of sixty entries. Here are eighteen brilliant books that excel at developing an understanding and appreciation of history in children. Congratulations to everyone who made it to the longlist!

‘This is an impressive list from a wide variety of talented creators, each title remarkable in its own special way. Read, enjoy, share.’

—Margaret McKay-Lowndes, judge


Book Links Award for Children’s Historical Fiction 2021 — Longlist

52 Mondays
By Anna Ciddor, Allen & Unwin 2019
A sensitive account, told through a nostalgic lens, of a girl’s warm family childhood in 1960s Australia.

A Great Escape
By Felice Arena, Puffin Books 2019
The tension between East and West during the Cold War provides a background for thrilling scenes of an adventurous escape.

Anzac Girl: The War Diaries of Alice Ross-King
By Kate Simpson & Jess Racklyeft, Allen & Unwin 2020
Beautifully presented and richly detailed diary of a young girl who becomes a nurse in WWI, using letters in clever, restrained and compassionate storytelling.

Azaria: A True History
By Maree Coote, Melbournestyle Books 2020
A remarkably crafted retelling of the loss of baby Azaria Chamberlain and what can happen when fiction becomes more important than fact.

Catch a Falling Star
By Meg McKinlay, Walker Books 2019
An original and fascinating historical context in which to place a deftly handled coming of age story.


By Claire Saxby, Omnibus Books 2020
A moving story of two boys, Tom and Max, trying to deal with the challenges, trauma and havoc WWII and internment camps bring to their lives.

Miss Franklin
By Libby Hathorn & Phil Leslie, Lothian Children’s Books 2019
An inventive approach to biography, creating a fictional protagonist who inspires the subject.

By Mark Greenwood & Terry Denton, Puffin Books 2019
A fun look at family life as three children follow the 1969 launch of Apollo 11 and the moon landing.

One Careless Night
By Christina Booth, Walker Books 2019
A poetic vision of the last night on Earth of the last thylacine.

By Alexandra Alt, Omnibus Books 2019
Two German teenagers’ lives are altered forever as they are caught up in the chaos created by Hitler’s attempts to make Germany rule the world.

The Anzac Billy
By Claire Saxby, Mark Jackson & Heather Potter, Black Dog Books 2019
A small but poignant story about the things a young child chooses to put into a billy can, in the hope that it will reach his soldier father in time for Christmas.

The Grandest Bookshop in the World
By Amelia Mellor, Affirm Press Kids 2020
In the fantastical Cole’s Book Arcade, the Cole children find themselves caught in a deadly game as they try to save their father, the memory of their little sister and the Arcade they love.

The Mummy Smugglers of Crumblin Castle
By Pamela Rushby & Nellé May Pierce, Walker Books 2020
Hattie is caught up in the exciting and unusual adventures of her eccentric relatives as they hunt for mummies in Egypt during Victoria’s reign.

The Schoolmaster’s Daughter
By Jackie French, Angus & Robertson 2020
A skilful focus on education as a vehicle to convey the injustice meted out to South Sea Islanders and women in days gone by.

The Year the Maps Changed
By Danielle Binks, Lothian Children Books 2019
Powerful use of map metaphors in a compelling coming of age tale.

We Are Wolves
By Katrina Nannestad, HarperCollins 2020
Three children find themselves in an epic struggle for survival, alone in East Prussia in the dying days of WWII.

When the Ground is Hard
By Malla Nunn, Allen & Unwin 2019
A fascinating and moving account of how Adele comes of age in Swaziland in 1965.

Yahoo Creek
By Tohby Riddle, Allen & Unwin 2019
A creative curation of real-life newspaper articles to convey the persistence of the Yahoo myth in Australian culture.

The shortlist will be announced on Wednesday 19 May at the Book Links Narelle Oliver Lecture in Children’s Literature.

For more information about the Book Links Award for Children’s Historical Fiction, please click here.

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