Diverse Book Awards Shortlist 2021

The Author School has announced the shortlist for The Diverse Book Awards 2021. The books highlight the best diverse books published in the UK during 2020. The awards are open only to UK-based authors. Here are the shortlists for the Children’s and Young Adults categories:


Baller Boys

Baller Boys by Venessa Taylor, illustrated by Kenneth Ghann

Cover for Rocket Says Clean Up! (Rocket Says...)

Clean Up! by Nathan Bryon, illustrated by Dapo Adeola

Cover for Do You Know Me?

Do You Know Me? by Rebecca Westcott, Libby Scott

Little Badman and the Time-travelling Teacher of Doom

Little Badman and the Time-Travelling Teacher of Doom by Humza Arshad and Henry White, illustrated by Aleksei Bitskoff

Cover for Too Small Tola

Too Small Tola by Atinuke, illustrated by Onyinye Iwu

Windrush Child

Windrush Child by Benjamin Zephaniah

Zombierella: Fairy Tales Gone Bad

Zombierella: Fairy Tales Gone Bad by Joseph Coelho, illustrated by Freya Hartas


And The Stars Were Burning Brightly

And The Stars Were Burning Brightly by Danielle Jawando

Cover for Boy, Everywhere

Boy, Everywhere by A. M. Dassu

Cover for Cane Warriors

Cane Warriors by Alex Wheatle

Eight Pieces of Silva

Eight Pieces of Silva by Patrice Lawrence

Hideous Beauty

Hideous Beauty by William Hussey

Run, Rebel

Run, Rebel by Manjeet Mann


Wonderland by Juno Dawson

Egg Marks the Spot by Amy Timberlake

Cover image for Egg Marks the Spot.

Egg Marks the Spot by Amy Timberlake, illustrated by Jon Klassen (9781643750064)

This second Skunk and Badger story returns us to the cozy world of rocks and chickens that the two unlikely friends have created together. Badger is enjoying exploring his rocks again, but the loss of his Spider Eye Agate as a youngster still saddens him. It was stolen by his cousin, Fisher, long ago. Meanwhile, Skunk is trying to stop fretting about the New Yak Times Book Review being stolen by Mr. G. Hedgehog, who seems to have discovered where Skunk is living now. Skunk and Badger set off on a camping trip to find a replacement agate. Complete with overfilled packs, lovely meals, firelight, dark adventures, and arch nemeses, this book is all one could ask for those who love these characters, and chickens!

Timberlake is creating a series with a strong vintage vibe that feels like classic children’s literature. She uses a lot of humor, varying from near slapstick to subtle commentary. Along with the humor, she offers two characters with lots of heart, who care deeply for one another while still having their own passions and interests. There are so many lovely moments of connection, realization and great lunches. Add in a weaselly Fisher who has even bigger thievery plans, and this is a warm and rollicking look at a growing friendship.

Klassen’s illustrations break up the text nicely for young readers, offering occasional full-page images in black and white. He captures seminal moments in the story, such as Skunk and Badger on their porch watching the rain fall down and the dark and brightness of a newly discovered cave.

A winning second book in a great series for children that is perfect to share at bedtime. Appropriate for ages 6-9.

Reviewed from e-galley provided by Algonquin Young Readers.