Costa Award: why Frances Hardinge’s children’s novel really is the best book of the year – Telegraph.co.uk
It comes as absolutely no surprise
to me that
Frances Hardinge, winner of the 2015 Costa Childrenâs Book Award,
has gone on to win the overall prize, Costa Book of the Year,
for her superb novel, The Lie Tree.
I say novel, and not childrenâs novel, for a reason. The childrenâs
publisher David Fickling, when asked what a childrenâs book was, said
that there is no such thing; only good books that can be read by all.
And that, by the longest of miles, is true for The Lie Tree.
Nevertheless, those who write for children, or publish books for
children, or anyone interested in this vast and varied literature,
should be rejoicing. This is the first âchildrenâs bookâ to win the
main Costa gong since Philip Pullman in 2001 with The Amber Spyglass.
That had cosmic scope, theological grandiosity, and an intrepid,
innocent child heroine. Pullman, alongside JK Rowling, was at the
forefront of a resurgence in the field of childrenâs literature,
proving that it can be serious and entertaining.
Many other authors have been producing superb work: Marcus
Sedgwickâs dazzling The Ghosts of Heaven, which spans time from early
humans to the distant future; Sally Gardnerâs Maggot Moon, about an
oppressive regime and a gay teenager; Philip Reeveâs Mortal Engines
series, slick and dark; Meg Rosoffâs witty, surprising fictions. The
list is a long one.