Jhalak Children’s & YA Prize 2023 – Shortlist Announced!

24 April, 2023

The shortlist for the Jhalak Children’s & YA Prize 2023 was announced last week. Now in its third year, the Jhalak Children’s & YA Prize celebrates books for children, teens, and young adults written by British and British-resident BAME writers.

The Jhalak Children’s & YA Prize covers all genres, making the shortlist an eclectic mix of titles for young readers of all ages. This year’s shortlist was chosen by a panel of judges made up of authors Yaba Badoe, Maisie Chan (winner of the Jhalak Children’s & YA Prize 2022) and Irfan Master.

Congratulations to all the shortlisted authors and illustrators!

Cover shots of the six titles shortlisted for the Jhalak Children's & YA Prize 2023

The Jhalak Children’s & YA Prize 2023 shortlist:

In Our Hands by Lucy Farfort (Tate Publishing). Judge’s comment: ‘A clarion call for change which confirms that if we work together, share ideas and pool our dreams, we’re never too small to make a difference.’ Yaba Badoe

When Our Worlds Collided by Danielle Jawando (Simon & Schuster Children’s UK). Judge’s comment: ‘… a powerful and devastating story that deals with structural racism in a balanced and nuanced way. Really exceptional characters that define and shape the story with little tendrils of anger, frustration, hope and joy.’ Irfan Master

Mia and the Lightcasters by Janelle McCurdy, illustrated by Ana Latese (Faber & Faber). Judge’s comment: ‘… a fast-paced fantasy children’s book with mythical beasts, martial arts and humour. Janelle McCurdy is an exciting debut author who taps into the interests of young readers, especially gamers and those who want to be transported to a totally different world. I am looking forward to seeing what else springs up from such an imaginative mind.’ Maisie Chan

Ellie Pillai is Brown by Christine Pillainayagam (Faber & Faber). Judge’s comment: ‘… an expertly-crafted YA rom-com with multi-layered themes and its own unique soundtrack. I loved the voice of the main character and was rooting for her the whole way through the book. I wish this book existed when I was a teen! It’s fantastic!’ Maisie Chan

Rebel Skies by Ann Sei Lin (Walker Books). Judge’s comment: ‘… an outstanding debut with vivid characters and excellent world-building. Once immersed, the power of Ann Sei Lin’s writing and vision propelled to a conclusion that left me gasping for more.’ Yaba Badoe.

Dadaji’s Paintbrush by Rashmi Sirdeshpande, illustrated by Ruchi Mhasane (Andersen Press). Judge’s comment: ‘… a beautifully touching book, full of love, expression and overcoming grief. Simply done yet hits all the emotions – there wasn’t a single page I didn’t linger over.’ Irfan Master

The overall winner of the Jhalak Children’s & YA Prize 2023 will be announced on May 25th at a ceremony at the British Library. Watch out for our winner announcement.

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