Monsters and mayhem creep into the shortlist

Fun and adventure jump off the page in the Scottish Children's Book Awards, finds Julia Belgutay

This year's Scottish Children's Book Awards shortlist is not for the faint-hearted. From stories about children who can see evil, to those who make a voyage into hell to recover the Book of Doom, to the absurd tale of a monster who makes a boy tidy his room, this year's choices take children on a journey into the supernatural and fantastic.

In the older category, Ferryman by Claire McFall sees teenager Dylan killed in a train crash, after which he meets ferryman Tristan, who is tasked with taking him to his afterlife. Then there is The Seeing by Diana Hendry, which transports readers back to 1953, where Lizzie meets Natalie and her brother Philip, who has second sight and sees evil.

Books of fantastical adventures also dominate the younger readers' category, in which Really Weird Removals.Com recounts the adventures of a removals company that specialises in "supernatural dilemmas".

Jasmine Fassl, children's programme manager at the Scottish Book Trust, which runs the awards with Creative Scotland, said the submissions were "a fantastic representation" of the books published by Scottish authors and illustrators for children and young people last year. "Funny, exciting and perfectly suited to their audiences, they are closely linked to Scotland - if not set there," she said.

It is now up to young judges at schools across Scotland to decide which book will take the crown in March 2014. They have seven months to read the three shortlisted books in each category and vote. Last year, nearly 32,000 children took part, and the book trust hopes that when polls open next February for this year's award, even more will participate.

The awards also offer budding writers a chance to win book tokens or an author visit to their school through the Book Review Competition. Children with physical, visual or reading difficulties now have access to the shortlisted books as the trust has made them available in digital format.


Bookbug Readers (3-7 years)

The Paper Dolls by Julia Donaldson and Rebecca Cobb (Macmillan)

What's the Time, Mr Wolf by Debi Gliori (Bloomsbury)

Jumblebum by Chae Strathie and Ben Cort (Scholastic)

Younger Readers (8-11 years)

Black Tide by Caroline Clough (Floris)

The Accidental Time Traveller by Janis McKay (Floris)

Really Weird Removals.Com by Daniela Sacerdoti (Floris)

Older Readers (12-16 years)

Ferryman by Claire McFall (Templar)

The Seeing by Diana Hendry (Bodley Head)

The Book of Doom by Barry Hutchison (HarperCollins).

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