A children’s adventure story set in Wales around the close of the Second World War has won a nationwide competition open to small independent publishers.
The Strange Affair of the Ethiopian Treasure Chest written by Pembrokeshire author Brian John and published by Greencroft Books, beat off the competition in the recently announced 2011 Wishing Shelf awards. The organizers entered the book in category 2, for 6-8 year old children -- and the judging was done entirely by children in that age group, from primary schools mostly in the London area. The competition rules allowed both fiction and non-fiction entries.
In their assessment of the winning book, the youthful judges said “It is a wonderful book, a sort of updated Enid Blyton with a touching ending. Lots of the kids who read it found it funny and very well-paced. The illustrations throughout the book were also heavily praised by the children. Your illustrator is very talented!”
Commenting on the award, Brian said: “The award came as quite a surprise, given that the story is very specific to Wales and given that the youthful judges were all from the South-East of England. What I love about this competition is that the judging is done by children and not by adults. They know what they like! The prize is also an accolade for my artist Boz Groden, since his fantastic illustrations were vital for the overall concept and for the "atmosphere" of the story. I hope that the book will now be adopted by schools throughout Wales, and by children who are intrigued by what their grandfathers might have got up to when they were young.........”