And the 2013 winner is…

Soldier Dog by Sam Angus.

Almost 300 excited students, librarians and teachers gathered at the Centre for Life on Friday to hear Soldier Dog announced as the winner of this year’s NE Book Award.  We were thrilled that Sam could join us for the award party – and equally delighted that Barry and Helen made the journey to Newcastle to meet their enthusiastic  fans and sign books (and balloons!)

Big thanks to our student judges for some awesome author introductions and to Seven Stories for brilliant bookselling.

Do let us know what you thought of the evening by posting your comments.



All Fall Down by Sally Nicholls

These are the things I know about the pestilence:
It swarms around those who catch it, like a cloud of flies. If you find yourself caught in the cloud – or look in the eyes of somebody who is sick – or offend God – or are loved by someone who offends God – or walk in a particular place when the wind blows in the wrong direction – you die too.
You can travel far from the city where your family died, thinking yourself safe, only to reach a place of sanctuary and fall down dead, bringing the sickness down around you.
There’s no cure.
Once you have it, you die.
1349. The biggest catastrophe in historical memory – the Black Death – is about to hit fourteen-year-old Isabel’s village. The world will never be the same again.

Other books by the author
Ways to Live Forever
Season of Secrets
A Lily, A Rose
Close Your Pretty Eyes (Coming August 2013)
Sally talking about the book:

Author website link

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Fallen Grace by Mary Hooper
The Raging Quiet by Sherryl Jordan
Witch Child by Celia Rees
I, Coriander by Sally Gardner
Troubadour by Mary Hoffman
Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

The 13th Horseman by Barry Hutchison

Drake is surprised to find three horsemen of the apocalypse playing snakes and ladders in his garden shed. He’s even more surprised when they insist that he is one of them. They’re missing a Horseman, having gone through several Deaths and they think that Drake is the boy for the job. At first he’s reluctant to usher in Armageddon but does being in charge of Armageddon have to spell the end of the world?

An apocalyptic blend of riotous comedy, heart-stopping action and a richly imagined fantasy adventure.

Other books by the author
The Invisible Fiends series
The Book of Doom

Book trailer links


Author website link

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Goblins by Philip Reeve
The Bromeliad / The Discworld series by Terry Pratchett
Ash Mistry and the Savage Fortress by Sarwat Chadda
The Demon’s Watch by Conrad Mason
The Bartimaeus sequence by Jonathan Stroud
The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

The Secret Hen House Theatre by Helen Peters

Since the death of her mother, Hannah’s family life has been chaotic.

Ignored by their dad, who’s absorbed as much by his grief as by the challenges of running their hopelessly dilapidated farm, Hannah and her brothers and sisters are left to fend for themselves. While the younger kids run riot round the farm, Hannah decides she wants to do something special, something that connects her to her theatre-loving mum. She’s going
to write and put on a play in the overgrown hen house she’s found in a remote corner of the farm. Then the farm is threatened with demolition, and Hannah – with her best friend – have to find a way to save it. Perhaps one of the props they’re using in the play is valuable after all…

First chapter:

Author website link

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I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith
Butterfly Summer by Anne-Marie Conway
The Family from One End Street by Eve Garnett
One Dog and his Boy by Eva Ibbotson
Eight Keys by Suzanne LaFleur
Beswitched by Kate Saunders
Sky Hawk by Gill Lewis

Constable & Toop by Gareth P. Jones

A darkly comic Dickensian ghost story from Blue Peter Award winner Gareth P. Jones.
Sam Toop lives in a funeral parlour, blessed (or cursed) with an unusual gift. While his father buries the dead, Sam is haunted by their constant demands for attention. Trouble is afoot on the ‘other side’ – there is a horrible disease that is mysteriously imprisoning ghosts into empty houses in the world of the living. And Sam is caught in the middle – will he be able to bring himself to help?

Other books by the author
Ninja Meerkat series
The Considine Curse
The Thornwaite Inheritance
Space Crime Conspiracy
The Dragon Detective Agency series
Perry’s 5

Book trailer link

Author website link

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The Demon Collector by Jon Mayhew
Fire Spell by Laura Amy Schlitz
The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place by Maryrose Wood
Montmorency by Eleanor Updale
The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M Valente
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Soldier Dog by Sam Angus


Stanley’s dad hasn’t been the same since his wife died and his eldest son went off to fight in the war. Now Stanley is either invisible to his dad or the object of one of his rages, and his only friend is his dad’s prizewinning greyhound, Rocket. But one day Rocket escapes, and the result is a litter of non-thoroughbred puppies that Da says will all have to be drowned, even Stanley’s favourite puppy, Solider. Stanley is so angry with his father that he runs away and enlists in the army to train as a messenger dog handler, and despite being far too young he’s soon heading to France with a Great Dane called Bones by his side. As the fighting escalates and Stanley experiences the horrors of war, he comes to realise that the loyalty of his dog is the one thing he can rely on. But his father hasn’t given up on him, and extraordinary circumstances will bring them together once more…

First chapter:

Author website link

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Run Rabbit Run by Barbara Mitchelhill
A Dog Called Homeless by Sarah Lean
Shadow by Michael Morpurgo
The Great Escape by Megan Rix
Hero on a Bicycle by Shirley Hughes
Blitzcat by Robert Westall