IBBY is a fantastic international children's literature organisation. It brings together writers, illustrators, publishers, academics, librarians, teachers, literacy workers, booksellers and parents from over 70 countries around the world – from Afghanistan to Zimbabwe. And every two years, IBBY's Honour List selects outstanding recent books from each of its member countries.
Previous UK Honour List books include Frank Cottrell-Boyce's The Unforgotten Coat, Marcus Sedgwick's Revolver, Linda Newberry's The Sandfather, and Philip Reeve's Here Lies Arthur. It's incredible to see Phoenix in that kind of company, because those books show how dedicated IBBY is to supporting the very best writing for young people.
I love the fact that IBBY's work aims to develop international understanding through children's books. That's a goal that means a lot to me personally, so I am particularly honoured that the IBBY UK Committee said this about Phoenix:
Phoenix skilfully integrates comments about our contemporary world - on war and peace, prejudice, borders and barriers to migration, political and moral questions - into a fast-paced and exciting science fiction narrative.
I'd like to say a massive thank you to everyone at IBBY. Phoenix took me seven long, hard years to write – but at a moment like this, all that work feels totally worthwhile!
And here's a link to a piece I wrote for the Guardian all about IBBY, and how children's books can help to build a better world!