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A children's book about a magical story that takes place in Kew Gardens wins the Waterstones prize for literature.

A children’s book about a magical story that takes place in Kew Gardens wins the Waterstones prize for literature.

The book that won this year’s £5,000 Waterstones children’s book prize includes a secret enchanted door at Kew Gardens.

Greenwild, by Pari Thomson book cover

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Greenwild: The World Behind the Door by Pari Thomson was voted the winner by Waterstones booksellers. The book “is a spellbinding triumph that will make children fall in love with the world they are reading about, and with reading itself,” said Bea Carvalho, head of books at Waterstones.

Daisy sets out on a journey to find her mother, but stumbles upon a secret realm hidden within Kew Gardens. As she explores this magical world full of plants, she realizes it is in danger and must team up with a plant expert, an animal communicator, and a cat to protect it.

Thomson resides close to Kew Gardens, which she describes as a location filled with shimmering greenhouses, plants that eat meat, and water lilies big enough to lounge on. She has always believed that nature possesses an element of enchantment, and it was at Kew that she began questioning whether this could be true. This led to the creation of Greenwild, a response to the notion that the natural world is teeming with magic.

Thomson is the 20th winner of the prize. Her debut “enchanted our booksellers with its sweeping escapism and standard-setting lyrical worldbuilding,” added Carvalho. “At once a fast-paced adventure story and a heartfelt entreaty to care for the natural world, Greenwild is a timeless fantasy tale.”

The Search for the Giant, by Chloe Savage book cover.View image in fullscreen

Thomson was the recipient of the main prize and the younger readers’ award, while Chloe Savage took first place in the illustration category for her work, The Search for the Giant Arctic Jellyfish. In addition, Kayvion Lewis claimed the older readers’ award for their entry, Thieves’ Gambit.

Nick Campbell, the children’s buyer for Waterstones, described Savage’s book as “a one-of-a-kind tale of endless curiosity that leads us on a journey we want to believe actually happened.” He praised the book for its captivating illustrations that will captivate young readers, including detailed cross-sections and vivid depictions of landscapes, as well as the mysterious jellyfish that is central to the story.

Rosalyn Quest is a participant in a dangerous contest among elite thieves known as the Thieves’ Gambit. The victor of this competition will be granted one wish. Fiona Noble, of the Guardian, praised this fast-paced thriller for its confidence and blockbuster-style excitement.

The prize has been won by past recipients such as Angie Thomas, Katherine Rundell, and Kiran Millwood Hargrave. In 2023, Nadia Mikail was awarded the prize for her book The Cats We Meet Along the Way.

Source: theguardian.com