'Strongest shortlist yet' for Sainsbury’s Children’s Book Awards

'Strongest shortlist yet' for Sainsbury’s Children’s Book Awards

The 12-strong shortlist for the Sainsbury’s Children’s Book Awards 2016 has been unveiled, with a strong presence from larger publishers Simon & Schuster, Hachette and Penguin Random House.

The dozen titles have been hailed as the prize's "strongest yet" by the supermarket.

Now in its third year, the awards span four categories - Baby & Toddler, Picture Book, Fiction 5-9, and Fiction 9+ - with three titles per age group represented in the shortlist. 

Four of the 12 titles were represented by independents, three in the Baby & Toddler category, including Little Tiger Press'  Peekaboo A-Z, by Becky Davies, illustrated by Gareth Lucas, Bath-based Really Decent Books' My Enormous Book of Colours by Philip Dauncey, illustrated by The Boy Fitzhammond, and Make Believe Ideas'  Never Touch A Monster by Rosie Greening, illustrated by Stuart Lynch.

In the Picture Books category, Kes and Clare Grey's Oi Dog! illustrated by Jim Field (Hachette Children's Books), about a frog who no longer wants to be sat on, is in competition with author and illustrator Nadia Shireen's The Bumblebear (Penguin Random House Children's Books), starring a bear who enroles in "bee school" to get his paws on some honey. Completing the category is Simon Philip's You Must Bring A Hat, illustrated by Kate Hindley (Simon & Schuster Children's Books), navigating the strictest of dress-codes for “the biggest, bestest, hattiest party of all time”.

In Fiction for ages 5-9, Swapna Haddow's Dave Pigeon illustrated by Sheena Dempsey, published by Faber & Faber, has made the cut, and is the fourth and last independent shortlisted. It asks readers to root for two fearless pigeons up against a mean cat. The book is also in contention for the prize with Alex T Smith, who is shortlisted for Claude: Going For Gold (Hachette Children's Books). Harriet Whitehorn's debut, about an amateur Sherlock Holmes - Violet and the Hidden Treasure - illustrated by Becka Moor (Simon & Schuster Children's Books) - is also in contention for the category's shortlist.

Ross Welford's debut Time Travelling With A Hamster (Harper Collins Children’s Books), The Crooked Sixpence by former Foyles children's bookseller Jennifer Bell (Penguin Random House Children's Books) and Stewart Foster's The Bubble Boy (Simon & Schuster Children's Books) make up the remainder of the shortlist in the Fiction +9 category.

Emma Brewster, senior children’s book buyer and awards chair, said: “The quality and breadth of this year’s shortlist reflects what has been another fantastic year for children’s publishing. The awards is now in its third year and we feel this is our strongest shortlist yet.”

Pete Selby, Sainsbury’s head of music and books, said: “We believe that these 12 books are the gold standard benchmark within their field and we are proud to endorse them all. We look forward to our customers and their families discovering these titles at Sainsbury’s and passing them down through generations to come”   

Both the category winners and overall Sainsbury’s Children’s Book Of The Year will be announced at an event on Tuesday 4th October, with all shortlisted books to be promoted heavily in over 300 Sainsbury’s stores. 

Last year’s winner, Grandad’s Island by Benji Davies, sold over 6,000 copies in Sainsbury’s in the eight weeks following the event, according to the supermarket.