Explore three of the best children’s books based or published in the East of England
Our weekly spotlight on an East Anglian Book Awards 2022 shortlist

Looking for books to gift for Christmas? Through November and December, we’re casting a weekly spotlight on some of the best books based or published in the East of England, courtesy of the East Anglian Book Awards 2022.

Now in their fifteenth year, the awards celebrate writing talent within the East of England. The East Anglian Book Awards are a partnership between Jarrold, the Eastern Daily Press, and the National Centre for Writing, supported by UEA Faculty of Arts & Humanities. The overall prize is sponsored by The PACCAR Foundation.

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The Mal Peet Children’s Award

Judged by Tom Smith, author, editor and professor of American Literature, University of East Anglia

For fans of history and legends…


Arthur the Always King by Kevin Crossley-Holland, illustrated by Chris Riddell (Walker Books Ltd)

The definitive retelling of the legends of King Arthur, from Carnegie Medal-winner Kevin Crossley-Holland and former Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell.

Be enthralled by the world of Arthurian legend in this lavishly illustrated, masterful retelling. From King Arthur’s childhood to his final battle, the timeless tales of the sword in the stone, the quests of the Knights of the Round Table and the wizardry of Merlin are woven together into a breathtaking feat of storytelling. An extraordinary collaboration between the world-renowned Kevin Crossley-Holland and the three-time Kate Greenaway Medal-winner Chris Riddell, this is a beautiful edition to be treasured by all ages.

For readers aged 8+.

Our judges said:

‘The legends of King Arthur are – remarkably – refreshed and revived in this compelling collaboration. Kevin Crossley-Holland’s words draw out the uncanny, timeless qualities of these apparently familiar tales and make Camelot seem both distant and close at hand.’

For fans of apocalypse and dystopia…


Spark by Mitch Johnson (Hachette Children’s Group)

In a world struggling to exist, only the strongest will survive…

Ash has always lived in Last Village, lonely since the day his father left and never came back. The world is unbearably hot, water is drying up, and life is hard. After a vicious thunderstorm, Ash wakes to find that the village’s water has completely run out, and all the other villagers have mysteriously disappeared. Accompanied by the outcast Bronwyn, Ash sets off in search of water, for answers about what happened to the villagers, with hope they might find ‘The Kingdom’ – a rumoured land to the north where life still flourishes.

Sometimes all it takes is just one spark.

For readers aged 9+.

For fans of time travel and the Saxons…


The Other Side of the Whale Road by K. A. Hayton (Eye Books)

When his mum burns down their house on the Whitehorse estate, sixteen-year-old Joss is sent to live in a sleepy Suffolk village.

The place is steeped in history, as Joss learns when a bike accident pitches him back more than 1,000 years to an Anglo-Saxon village. That history also tells him his new friends are in mortal peril from bloodthirsty invaders. Can he warn their ruler, King Edmund, in time?

And will he ever get home?

For readers aged 11+.


Our judges said:

‘A visceral, muscular, bloody immersion into the region’s turbulent past, K. A. Hayton takes the reader on an extraordinary journey through time and space.’

These books are available to buy from Jarrold, third floor, London St, Norwich NR2 1JF. You can also browse online here.

The category winners for the East Anglian Book Awards 2022 will be announced in the Eastern Daily Press in January 2022, followed by the Overall Book of the Year Award and Exceptional Contribution Award on Friday 17 February.

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