Children's Illustrated & Non-Fiction Book of the Year

Winner - The Smeds and The Smoos

The Smeds and The Smoos

Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Axel Scheffler

Alison Green Books

Gleaming with “characteristic humour and energy”, the latest book from the exceptional and long-lasting partnership between Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler did not disappoint fans—or the judges in this category. The timely themes of inclusivity and acceptance were catapulted to new heights by Scheffler’s vibrant and energetic illustrations. The judges felt the book tackled everyday issues in a clever and accessible way which would enable parents to open up a dialogue with their young children. The duo produced a book which was “topical”, “sensitive”, and “timeless”, the judges said. The high-profile duo got a big marketing push from Alison Green Books and Scholastic, right from the acquisition. Under the “reading is better together” banner, the marketing celebrated not just the importance of shared reading, but tied the campaign to the themes of inclusivity within the book. Retailer support from Waterstones and W H Smith was paired with a print-advertising campaign which boasted Scheffler’s illustrations and bold colours. The judges of this category thought the marketing was “smart” and “impressive”. Not only is the book timeless, but it seems to carry the same cultural significance across the globe: it has been sold into 14 languages to date.

The Shortlist

  • Look Up!
    Nathan Bryon, illustrated by Dapo Adeola (Puffin)
    This fresh offering is from an author-illustrator duo; Nathan Bryon’s voice and Dapo Adeola’s artwork make for a distinct and modern tale. The book challenges today’s society by showing how we should stop what we are doing and "Look Up!"
  • The Smeds and the Smoos
    Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Axel Scheffler (Alison Green)
    The latest from Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler is more than just a happy space adventure. At its heart are messages of acceptance, inclusivity and togetherness. The book got rave reviews, one dubbing it as a “book of our time”.
  • You Got This
    Bryony Gordon (Wren & Rook)
    The first kids' book from wellloved author Bryony Gordon, focusing on 10 life lessons she wished she had known as a teen. The author has a distinct voice, which is funny and honest throughout.
  • Prisoners of Geography: Our World Explained in 10 Simple Maps
    Tim Marshall, illustrated by Grace Easton and Jessica Smith (Elliott & Thompson, co-created with Simon & Schuster Children's)
    Visually appealing and informative, this illustrated version of Tim Marshall’s Prisoners of Geography brings the same topics to a younger audience. Superbly illustrated by Grace Easton and Jessica Smith, it breaks down many complex geopolitical ideas.
  • Heartstopper: Vol.1
    Alice Oseman (Hodder Children's Group)
    Alice Oseman's Heartstopper: Vol 1 started as a grassroots campaign, which hit its fundraising target within hours. It was picked up by Hachette, which brought the LGBTQI+ love story to a worldwide audience.
  • On the Origin of Species
    Sabina Radeva (Puffin)
    Sabina Radeva’s début merges science and art as she re-tells Darwin’s evolution theory. The author, a biologist, demonstrates a commitment to scientific accuracy. It has sold 22,200 units through the TCM, and has been sold in 31 languages.