29/04/2005

Child murder novel shortlisted for prize

A novel inspired by the murder of toddler James Bulger has been shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal for children’s literature.

‘Looking for JJ’, by Anne Cassidy tells the story of a ten-year-old girl who is jailed after murdering another child. The story focuses on her release from prison, when she is given a new identity and begins to try and live a normal life.

Ms Cassidy said that the book was based partly on the murder of James Bulger by Robert Thompson and Jon Venables, as well as the crimes of child-murderer Mary Bell.

Robert Thompson and Jon Venables, both aged 10, abducted two-year-old James Bulger from a shopping centre near Liverpool and beat the toddler to death shortly afterwards. They were released from prison in 2001, after serving eight years.

Eleven-year-old Mary Bell, from Scotswood, Newcastle, was found guilty of the murder of two boys – four-year-old Martin Brown and three-year-old Brian Howe – in 1968. She was released from prison in 1980.

Looking for JJ has already won the Booktrust Teenage Prize and has also been shortlisted for the Whitbread Children’s Prize.

Frank Cottrell Boyce’s ‘Millions’, which tells the story of two brothers who have to spend ‘millions’ before the euro is introduced, has also been shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal. The bestselling novel has recently been turned into a film, directed by ‘Trainspotting’ director Danny Boyle and starring Alex Etel, Lewis McGibbon, James Nesbitt and Daisy Donovan.

Phillip Pullman, who is best known for the ‘His Dark Materials’ novels, is also nominated for his book ‘The Scarecrow and his Servant’.

The other nominees include: Gennifer Choldenko’s ‘Al Capone Does My Shirts’, Sharon Creech’s ‘Heartbeat’ and Eva Ibbotson’s ‘The Star of Kazan’.

The winner of the Carnegie Medal, as well as its sister prize, the Kate Greenaway Medal’, which is awarded for outstanding illustration in a children’s book, will be announced at a ceremony in central London on July 8.

(KMcA/SP)

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