Adam Murphy’s Corpse Talk, published by David Fickling Books, is one of six titles nominated for the Blue Peter Book Awards 2015, announced yesterday.
It’s the first time a book using comic strips to tell real-life stories has been nominated for the Awards, which are celebrating their 15th year, and are special as they ask children to read the shortlisted books and then vote for the two winners.
“It’s a huge honour,” commented Adam on his web site. “Thank you very much! And big congrats to all the other nominees – it’s great company to be in.”
The enormously popular Blue Peter Book Awards, which are managed by reading charity Booktrust, celebrate the best authors, most creative illustrators and the greatest reads for children. The shortlist, which was whittled down from 40 books by the judges, was announced on Blue Peter yesterday by Michael Morpurgo, author of more than 120 children’s books, including War Horse, and President of the charity. (You can watch the judges decide the shortlist here on the BBC Newsround site).
One of The Phoenix Presents series of softcover graphic compilations, Corpse Talk Season 1 reprints Adam Murphy’s strip from the weekly Phoenix comic.
Each week Adam’s comic strip alter-ego digs up the grave of a famous person from history and interviews their zombiefied remains to find out about their lives. From politicians like Winston Churchill to royalty like Henry VIII, from explorers like Ernest Shackleton to scientists like Marie Curie, Corpse Talk runs the gamut of historical figures as Adam interviews them, punning about their lives and, just sometimes, they even get their own back on him. (You can read Jeremy Briggs review of the book for downthtubes here).
Corpse Talk is competing for the Best Book with Facts with Animalium written by Jenny Broom and illustrated by Katie Scott, and The Silly Book of Side- Splitting Stuff written by Andy Seed and illustrated by Scott Garrett.
Chris Riddell’s Goth Girl and the Fete Worse Than Death is vying for the Best Story Award along with Boy in the Tower by primary school teacher Polly Ho-Yen and The Spy Who Loved School Dinners written by Pamela Butchart and illustrated by Thomas Flintham.
The four judges – Liz Pichon, Michael de Souza, Anna James and Ewan Vinnicombe – highlighted the quality of illustrations used in many of this year’s shortlisted books, as well as the brilliant stories and imaginations of the authors.
Liz Pichon, author of the Tom Gates series, and winner of the Blue Peter Book Awards Best Story 2013, said: “We have a brilliant selection, something for everyone. There’s beautifully illustrated fiction, gripping stories, funny books and the FIRST comic strip style book with facts which is fantastic.
“We keep hearing that kids don’t read anymore, but if you get the right books in front of them they really will – I’ve seen it.
“The Blue Peter Awards are a fantastic way of showcasing even more great books.”
Michael de Souza, co-creator of Rastamouse and one of this years judegs said: “We have a great selection of original stories as well as a book using comic strips, which is very different.
“Books open up a new world for children. If we want to encourage children to read, we need to give them great stories, great illustrations and something they can relate to.”
“In our 15th year of the Blue Peter Book Awards I’m really excited with the judges’ shortlist,” added Blue Peter Editor Ewan Vinnicombe, who was the non-voting Chair of the judging panel. “There is such a good range of titles in the mix and I can’t wait to find out on World Book Day when the winners are revealed – live on Blue Peter.”
Approximately 200 children from 10 schools across the UK will read the shortlisted books and vote for their favourites in each category. The two winning books will be announced on the Blue Peter programme scheduled for World Book Day on 5 March 2015.
The Blue Peter Book Awards 2015 Shortlist
Best Book with Facts
- Animalium written by Jenny Broom and illustrated by Katie Scott (Big Picture Press)
- Corpse Talk: Season 1 by Adam Murphy (David Fickling Books)
- The Silly Book of Side-Splitting Stuff written by Andy Seed and illustrated by Scott Garrett (Bloomsbury)
- Boy in the Tower by Polly Ho-Yen (Doubleday Children’s)
- Goth Girl and the Fete Worse Than Death by Chris Riddell (Macmillan Children’s Books)
- The Spy Who Loved School Dinners written by Pamela Butchart and illustrated by Thomas Flintham (Nosy Crow)
The judges for this year’s Awards are Michael de Souza, o-creator of the Rastamouse book series and co-founder of Little Roots Ltd.; Anna James, Editor of We Love This Book and Media Editor for The Bookseller, and former school librarian; Liz Pichon, author of the Tom Gates series, and winner of the Blue Peter Book Awards Best Story 2013, and Ewan Vinnicombe (non-voting chair) – Editor, Blue Peter and Head of Presentation for CBeebies and CBBC.
The Blue Peter Book Awards have been celebrating children’s literature since 2000. The reading charity Booktrust has managed the Blue Peter Book Awards since 2008. The 2014 winners were Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell for Best Story and, Tony Robinson’s Weird World of Wonders: World War II by Tony Robinson and illustrated by Del Thorpe. There’s more information at www.booktrust.org.uk/bluepeter
Blue Peter is the longest running children’s programme in the world. The weekly factual magazine show is designed to inspire, entertain, excite and enthral its young CBBC viewers. Each programme features a unique variety of films and studio items which cover a huge range of subjects including sport, adrenaline-filled adventures, marvellous makes, or a unique take on history and science. As well as the Book Awards the show is renowned for encouraging children to support charity, foreign trips, pets, its garden and the badges it awards children. More information: www.bbc.co.uk/bluepeter
• Take the 15th Blue Peter Book Awards anniversary quiz, download a reading guide for the shortlisted books, and read a blog by judge Anna James on the Booktrust Blue Peter Book Awards resources page
The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War” and “Dan Dare”.
He’s the writer of “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.