On 11th June 2017, it was reported by the BBC that British children’s author, Michael Morpurgo OBE, FRSL, FKC, DL made history by being awarded the Children’s Book Award for a record-breaking fourth time.
This award was established in 1980, and was formerly known as the Red House Children’s Book Award. The winner is chosen by and voted for entirely by children, and follows ‘magical storyteller’ Michael Morpurgo’s previous victory in 2011 for ‘Shadow’, which followed the friendship between a young boy and a sniffer dog in Afghanistan. Morpurgo’s other victories came in 2000 and 2004, for his novels, ‘Kensuke’s Kingdom’ and ‘Private Peaceful’ respectively.
2017’s victory has been awarded to his novel, ‘An Eagle in the Snow’, first published in October 2015, which takes inspiration from one of many stories about World War II.
‘An Eagle in the Snow’ is set in 1940, in the confines of a dark train carriage, while passengers hide in a tunnel while an air raid takes place overhead. The protagonist of the story, Barney, and his mother bear witness to the unique tale of decorated soldier Billy Byron, a soldier who apparently had the opportunity to kill Adolf Hitler before the war began, and how he attempted to rectify his mistake.
Speaking to the BBC, Chair of the Federation of Children’s Book Groups, the charity which runs the Children’s Book Awards, Jane Etheridge, commented, “Michael Morpurgo has demonstrated once again that he is a truly magical storyteller.”
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