March 21, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Rebecca Stead Is First US Author to Win ‘Guardian’ Kid Lit Prize


Photo by Joanne Dugan


Newbery-winning author Rebecca Stead’s Liar & Spy (Random, 2012) has won this year’s Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize, a literary award that annually recognizes one children’s fiction book written for children or young adults that is published in the United Kingdom. Stead is the first American author to earn this distinction, only recently available to US writers since 2012.

Liar & Spy received a starred review in School Library Journal’s September 2012 issue, and was named an SLJ 2012 Best Book. Below is the Best Book annotation:

Bullied at school, reeling from changes in his family, and adjusting to a new apartment, seventh-grader Georges hopes that he’s found a kindred spirit in Safer, a 12-year-old loner who wants his help spying on a suspicious neighbor. Then their efforts become increasingly daring, and Georges feels pushed to the boundaries of friendship. Filled with memorable characters, authentic humor and heartache, and thought-provoking dilemmas.


The Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize, established by The Guardian newspaper in 1965, also includes £1,500 prize for the winning author.

The panel of judges that selected Stead’s middle grade novel was chaired by Julia Eccleshare, Guardian children’s books editor. The other judges included past winners Andy Mulligan, Jason Wallace, and Hilary McKay. They also received 200-word reviews of all eight of the longlisted titles from kid critics all over the UK.

The other titles on the 2013 Guardian children’s fiction long list are:
The Boy Who Swam with Piranhas by David Almond
Candlewick, 2012

After Tomorrow by Gillian Cross
Oxford University Press, 2013 (UK only)

Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner
Candlewick, 2013

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Dutton, 2012

Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell
S & S, 2013

The Wall by William Sutcliffe
Walker, 2013

A World Between Us by Lydia Syson
Hot Key Books, 2012 (only UK)

Shelley Diaz About Shelley Diaz

Shelley M. Diaz ( is School Library Journal's Reviews Team Manager and SLJTeen newsletter editor. She has her MLIS in Public Librarianship with a Certificate in Children’s & YA Services from Queens College, and can be found on Twitter @sdiaz101.



  1. I just finished Liar and Spy. I consider When You Reach Me one of my favorite novels.