The Children’s Literature Association has announced the 2017 Phoenix Award recipient is Wish Me Luck by Canadian author James Heneghan (Farrar Straus Giroux, 1997). The award is given to books published in the past, with the intention of raising them from obscurity to “once again touch the imaginations and enrich the lives of those who read them.”
James Heneghan’s Wish Me Luck tells the compelling story of a tragic historical event too often ignored: the sinking by the Germans of a ship carrying children whose families had chosen to send them away from the horrors and dangers of war at home in England to the safety of Canada. Told through the eyes of Jamie Monaghan, a sympathetic character who leaves his family and the excitement of war only reluctantly, the novel also introduces Tom Bleeker and his little sister Elsie, neighbors of the Monaghans. Bleeker, as Jamie calls him, is a new arrival from Northern Ireland; his fight with “Stinky” Corcoran, the biggest, toughest kid at St. Oswald’s School in Liverpool, provides a fittingly violent opening to the book. Humor, raw language, and authentic dialect balance the horrors of living close to danger in the daily lives of children, their families, and friends. Heneghan provides a unique perspective on WWII, as he chronicles the children’s lives before, during, and after their experiences aboard the SS City of Benares.
For more information, please visit Children’s Literature Association website.