Judges' report for Run, Pip, Run
Run, Pip, Run by J.C. Jones is the winner of the 2016 Readings Children’s Book Prize. Here’s the judges' report from our panel of Readings children’s book specialists Athina Clarke, Angela Crocombe, Alexa Dretzke, Holly Harper, Isobel Moore and special guest judge Sally Rippin.
Every once in a while a special book comes along with a unique main character so compelling and so full of heart that you can’t help but fall madly in love. Run, Pip, Run, the winner of this year’s Readings Children’s Book Prize, by debut author J.C. Jones, is just such a book.
The story begins when, on the day of Pip’s tenth birthday, her carer, salt of the earth old Sully, has a stroke, destroying Pip’s birthday cake and getting himself an ambulance ride to hospital. Pip is worried about him but knows that with Sully in hospital she will be placed in welfare. Instead, Pip goes on the run.
Pip is a brilliant character with nerves of steel and a heart of gold who will appeal to both boys and girls. Her action-packed journey through the streets of Sydney touches lightly on issues including homelessness, animal abuse, and predatory behaviour. But Pip’s unrelenting sense of optimism and resourceful attitude remind us that no challenge is insurmountable, even if you are only ten years old. There is a strong moral code in this fictional world and the reader is never made to feel that Pip is out of her depth. During her journey, she also finds supportive allies in a police officer, a school friend and a teacher.
It’s a great achievement to take the story of a child in such difficult circumstances and turn it into an exciting, fast-paced, even humorous read. J.C. Jones has pulled off this formidable task with aplomb. Jones is an exciting new voice in children’s literature and we are delighted to champion her at the beginning of what we anticipate will be an exceptional career.
Run, Pip, Run is a book that will be celebrated widely and live in our hearts for a long time to come. Congratulations to J.C. Jones and to her beloved character Pip for winning the 2016 Readings Children’s Book Prize. We hope Readings’ customers will also enjoy this brilliant book, perfect for boys and girls aged 9–12 and for families to read together.