Black Lives Matter-inspired book wins children's book prize


Angie Thomas and the book jacket for The Hate U GiveImage copyright
Anissa Photography/Walker Books

Image caption

Angie Thomas was born, raised and still lives in Jackson, Mississippi

A debut novel inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement has been named the overall winner of this year’s Waterstones Children’s Book Prize.

Angie Thomas won the £5,000 award for The Hate U Give, about a teenage girl who witnesses the police shooting of her unarmed best friend.

The book takes its title from rapper Tupac Shakur, who used the phrase to generate the acronym THUG.

A film version starring Anthony Mackie and rapper Common is now in production.

Originally written as a short story, The Hate U Give was inspired by a real-life police shooting in 2009.

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Media captionAngie Thomas speaking on BBC Breakfast in April 2017

“I want to help people understand why we say black lives matter,” Thomas told BBC Breakfast last year.

“The Hate U Give should have a readership far beyond a core audience of young adults,” said James Daunt, Waterstones’ managing director.

“Ours is a children’s prize, but there is no upper age limit to being stunned by beautiful writing of this visceral power.”

The Hate U Give beat two other category winners to this year’s prize, presented on Thursday by Children’s Laureate Lauren Child at a ceremony in London.

Nevermoor by Australia’s Jessica Townsend came top in the younger fiction category, while The Secret of Black Rock by Joe Todd-Stanton was named the year’s best illustrated book.

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