The tale of a Lithuanian teenager sent to a Soviet prison camp and a thriller about scavengers on a rubbish dump are in the running for a top children's literary prize.
Between Shades Of Grey by Ruta Sepetys and Trash by Andy Mulligan are among eight titles which compete for the respected CILIP Carnegie Medal.
Mulligan's book Trash caused a stir last year when it was dropped from the shortlist of the Blue Peter book awards because it was deemed "unsuitable", due to swearing and violence.
Two past winners - David Almond and Patrick Ness - are on the shortlist for the award, which has previously been given to such luminaries as Arthur Ransome, Noel Streatfeild and Philip Pullman.
The Carnegie list, chosen by librarians, features four debut children's novels by Sepetys, Lissa Evans, Ali Lewis and Annabel Pitcher.
And it focuses on much younger readers - 12 and under - than some recent lists which have tended to focus on teens and young adults.
Rachel Levy, chair of the judging panel said: "All the books are ultimately about the beauty and hopefulness of life and all are beautifully written."
The reasons the Carnegie Medal is considered such an honour by children's writers is because it is selected by people who work with young readers on a regular basis and see, firsthand, which titles work and which don't.
At a time when libraries are under threat far worse than at any other point since the Medal was first awarded in 1936, this year's award will hold special resonance.
The shortlist is as follows:
- David Almond - My Name Is Mina
- Lissa Evans - Small Change For Stuart
- Sonya Hartnett - The Midnight Zoo
- Ali Lewis - Everybody Jam
- Andy Mulligan - Trash
- Patrick Ness - A Monster Calls
- Annabel Pitcher - My Sister Lives On The Mantelpiece
- Ruta Sepetys - Between Shades Of Grey
The shortlist for the twin prize for illustration, the Kate Greenaway Medal was also announced today, including a book written by Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, The Gift.
The nominated artists, and the books, are:
- Emily Gravett - Wolf Won't Bite
- Petr Horacek - Puffin Peter
- Jim Kay - A Monster Calls
- Dave McKean - Slog's Dad
- Catherine Rayner - Solomon Crocodile
- Rob Ryan - The Gift
- Viviane Schwarz - There Are No Cats In This Book
- Vicky White - Can We Save The Tiger?
The winners will be announced on June 14.
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