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Retribution, the Apocalypse and a Viking funeral are just some of the interesting themes from this year’s shortlisted titles for the Bolton Children’s Book Awards 2011.

The titles are: My So Called Haunting by Tamsyn Murray, a story about teenage love, teenage life and teenage ghosts; The Gates by John Connolly, which tells the tale of Sam and his dog battling demons from of the gates of hell; Sparks by Ally Kennen, is about Carrie, a girl who will do anything to give her grandfather the funeral he wants; Fightback by Steve Voake, is a story of crime-fighting, murder and revenge; Crawlers by Sam Enthoven, sees a group of children uncover a scary secret under a theatre and The Double Life of Cassiel Roadnight, by Jenny Valentine, is about a teenage fugitive and identity theft.

Children aged 11 to 14 from across Bolton will take part in deciding the winner. They have until the end of May to read the books and choose their favourite.

The award ceremony itself will be in June at the University of Bolton who sponsor the event, along with Page Nation.

Director of the School of Arts, Media and Education, Sam Johnson, said: “The University is delighted to sponsor the Children’s Book Award. Developing a passion for reading is its own reward.

“The more you read the more you want to read. We look forward to many of the young people taking part in the Book Award eventually becoming students at the University.”

Bolton Council's Executive Member for Adult and Community Services, Councillor Elaine Sherrington, said: “This year's Children's Book Awards comprises a superb selection of titles, which I'm sure the pupils will relish. From demons and ghosts to a boy on the run, the books that have made the shortlist are full of thrills and spills.”

The annual event has become a firm favourite among the school children of Bolton and Cllr Sherrington believes it is a testament to the hard work and effort that goes into organising the event.

She added: “A lot of hard work goes into organising what is always a thoroughly enjoyable event and I hope the young people take great joy from this year's chosen books.”

The University of Bolton’s Professor of Children’s Literature, David Rudd, is glad children’s literature is more popular than ever.

He said: “Since the advent of J.K. Rowling, Philip Pullman and others, children's fiction is more high-profile than it's ever been and attracts some of the best and most imaginative authors around.”

The Bolton Children's Book Award is organised by a steering group with representatives from Bolton Council Schools' Library Service, secondary school librarians and the University of Bolton.

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