The Panda Book Awards are a set of children’s literary prizes for international books, co-sponsored by beijingkids and awarded by readers across China. Read all about The Panda Book Awards here, and check out the weekly reviews on beijingkids here.
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Reviewer: Virginia Morgan, Secondary Teacher-Librarian, International School of Tianjin
Book: Maggot Moon by Sally Gardner
Category: Older Readers (Grades 6-8)
Virginia writes: This young adult novel is set in a dystopian time – an alternative 1950s Great Britain. Because of some dark event, the world is no longer as we know it. There are severe food shortages, and the country is under the military rule of the Motherland. The main character, 15-year-old Standish, is undesirable as he lives in poverty with his grandfathering in the destitute Zone 7. He has two differently-colored eyes, is dyslexic, and is severely bullied at school by both students and by his teacher. But life starts to change when a boy named Hector moves into Zone 7. He and Standish become best friends and Hector’s mysterious past stirs up questions. Why was he moved from a prestigious Zone? Where is his father? And why does Hector himself disappear one day? Standish pursues the truth in this twisted story of totalitarian rule. This is an unusual story, sometimes bleak and sometimes actually rather funny. Sally Gardner won the 2013 CILIP Carnegie Medal for this novel.
Overview: Narrated against the backdrop of a ruthless regime determined to beat its enemies in the race to the moon, Maggot Moon is the astonishing new novel from award-winning author Sally Gardner. When his best friend Hector is suddenly taken away, Standish Treadwell realizes that it is up to him, his grandfather and a small band of rebels to confront and defeat the ever-present oppressive forces of the Motherland. Utterly original and stunning, it is impossible not to be moved by Maggot Moon’s powerful story and the unforgettable heroism of Standish.
Publishers overview via Amazon