Nicolette Jones’s roundup of the best children’s books of the year singles out Beck by Mal Peet with Meg Rosoff Walker as her Book of the Year:
CHILDREN’S BOOK OF THE YEAR
Beck by Mal Peet with Meg Rosoff Walker
Mal Peet, perhaps our finest young-adult writer of recent years, died in 2015, leaving this book unfinished. His friend and fellow novelist Meg Rosoff completed it for him. The result is an extraordinary novel — shocking, moving and beautifully written — that is hard to categorise. It tells the story of Beck, an orphaned mixed-race boy, born in Liverpool in 1907, who is sent to Canada where he is sexually abused by “Christian Brothers”. Packed off to slave labour on an Ontario farm, Beck escapes, makes a slow journey of recovery and eventually finds love with a Native American woman. Despite its darkness, it has unexpected humour and is ultimately uplifting.
for the rest of her recommendations: Books of the year: children’s | Culture | The Times & The Sunday Times.