Nina Bawden is a longstanding author on the VMC list, but this is the first time we will publish her children's novels. CARRIE'S WAR and THE PEPPERMINT PIG are firm favourites: KEEPING HENRY has been out of print for years but is such a winning combination of the two earlier books that there is already an audience for this lost gem.
'The hay stirred. There was a small nibbling sound. A furry head poked out. I saw its dark, beady eyes, its sharp, pointed ears ... his eyes seemed alert and inquisitive, as if he were as interested in us as we were in him'
Henry is only three inches long when naughty Charlie catapults him out of his nest - a poor baby red squirrel, all ragged and skinny. He is too young to survive being released into the wild, but can a squirrel be a pet?
Henry's new human family has also had to adapt to a different way of life. Evacuated from London during the Blitz, to a farm in Wales, they were upturned from their old life just as Henry was 'tipped out' of his nest. Can this mischievous little creature, who makes nests out of their clothes and runs up the children like they are trees, help them to settle into their new life?
A collection that will be coveted by children and adults alike, this list is the best in children's literature, curated by Virago. These are timeless tales with beautiful covers, that will be treasured and shared across the generations. Some titles you will already know; some will be new to you, but there are stories for everyone to love, whatever your age. Our list includes Nina Bawden (Carrie's War, The Peppermint Pig), Rumer Godden (The Dark Horse, An Episode of Sparrows), Joan Aiken (The Serial Garden, The Gift Giving) E. Nesbit (The Psammead Trilogy, The Bastable Trilogy, The Railway Children), L. M. Montgomery (The Anne of Green Gables series) and Susan Coolidge (The What Katy Did Trilogy). Discover Virago Children's Classics.
A subtle and many-layered story, one of Nina Bawden's best - Observer
Nina Bawden (1925-2012) was one of Britain's best-loved writers for both adults and children. Several of her children's books - Carrie's War, a Phoenix Award winner;The Peppermint Pig, which won the Guardian Fiction Award; and Keeping Henry - have become contemporary classics. She wrote over forty novels, slightly more than half of which are for adults, and she was shortlisted for the 1987 Man Booker Prize for Circles of Deceit. She received the prestigious S T Dupont Golden Pen Award for a lifetime's contribution to literature in 2004, and in 2010 The Birds on the Trees was shortlisted for the Lost Booker of 1970.