IBBY Honour List 2022
For the 2022 list, IBBY UK selected the following books for inclusion:
Writing: October, October, written by Katya Balen (Bloomsbury, 2020)
The year October turns 11 everything changes. Up until then she has lived a magical life – just herself and her father. Their world is the wood and the wildlife that are their neighbours. October grows up freely, listening to the sounds of nature, observing the creatures. She can scarcely remember the mother who left unable to live in this way. For October her world is her father. However, she is growing up. When her mother arrives on her eleventh birthday, October tries to run; she climbs to the top of a tree. Her father follows – and falls. Now October must face a new life which she hates. And will her father hate her when he recovers consciousness? October steps off the page to meet the reader. Balen’s prose is direct, immediate and lyrical, capturing not just the emotions of a child facing the pain of change and the challenge of the new, the different, but also the natural world that has fashioned her. Angela Harding’s cover art reflects the mood of the whole to perfection.
Illustration: The Invisible, illustrated and written by Tom Percival (Simon and Schuster, 2021)
Isabel’s family have very little money and their home is cold – ice patterns lace the inside of the windows – but they are happy. Then they have to move to a tower block on the other side of the city as they can no longer pay the rent. What little colour was in Isabel’s life drains out of it. No one sees her, but she sees others, the other invisible people: the homeless, the immigrants, the elderly. By doing small things to help them she creates colour and a new sense of community. A stunning and important picture book with illustrations that vividly and movingly evoke the impact of poverty and deprivation and the power of acts of kindness. The muted greys denoting invisibility are overtaken by vibrancy and brightness.
Translation: The Raven’s Children, translated by Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp from Russian, written by Yulia Yakovleva (Puffin, 2018)
Shura, his sister Tanya and their little brother Bobka are Soviet citizens growing up in Leningrad. They are happy but things are changing. Why did the goods train have eyes looking through the slats of the carriages? Why was Papa burning papers? Where have their parents gone? Who is this Black Raven who has taken them? Determined to find his parents , Shura sets out on a quest to confront the Raven; a quest that takes him to the Grey House and the truth. The Raven is not a bird but the Secret Police. Now Shura must escape and find his way back to his only family, his sister and brother. Yakoleva takes the reader to a very different world; one full of secrets and coloured by fear – Soviet Russia under Stalin. We see it through the eyes of a child where the real and the fantastic exist together. Kemp’s translation brings the narrative to life seamlessly conveying atmosphere through deft description and lively dialogue to invite the young reader to step into this particular reality.