The Centre for Children’s Literature

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Historical Fiction Awards 2024


2024 Book Links Award for Children’s Historical Fiction Shortlist

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 at 7pm 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.




2024 Book Links Award for Children’s Historical Fiction Longlist

Book Links The Centre for Children’s Literature proudly announces the longlist for the 2024 Award for Children’s Historical Fiction.
The aim of the award is to increase the understanding and appreciation of history by children. These seven titles are outstanding works of historical fiction for children, demonstrating literary merit, historical accuracy, and appeal to young readers.
Topics range widely but the two World Wars are popular settings with children coming to terms with conflict, dislocaton and loss – situations unfortunately still current today. These are all wonderful stories of courage and hope that children will enjoy reading.
Congratulations to all these fabulous authors whose inspiring stories bring history to life.
Titles in alphabetical order:
Bidhi Galing (Big Rain) by Anita Heiss & Samantha Campbell, Simon & Schuster Australia
Inkflower by Suzy Zail,  Walker Books Australia
Running with Ivan by Suzanne Leal, Harper Collins AU
Secret Sparrow by Jackie French, Harper Collins AU
Spies in the Sky Inspired by the true story of the pigeons who went to war by Beverley McWilliams,  Pantera Press
The Fortune Maker by Catherine Norton, Harper Collins AU.
Two Sparrowhawks in a Lonely Sky by Rebecca Lim,  Allen & Unwin Children’s Books



Timeline 2024

1 May – Longlist is announced
1 June – Shortlist is announced
17 July – Winner is announced
More information about the award.
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