Authors and illustrators including Tomi Adeyemi, Sophie Anderson, Jessica Love and Onjali Q. Raúf are on the shortlist for this year’s Waterstones Children’s Book Prize, which is now in its fifteenth year.
Adeyemi is shortlisted in the ‘older fiction’ category for her fantasy novel Children of Blood and Bone (Macmillan Children’s Books), alongside titles by Elizabeth Acevedo, Christelle Dabos, Tracy Dornton, Malcolm Duffy and Ele Fountain, whilst Love’s picture book Julian is a Mermaid (Walker Books) is in the running for the ‘illustrated books’ prize. Her competition includes titles by Michael Whaite and John Bond.
In the ‘younger fiction’ category, Anderson’s The House with Chicken Legs is shortlisted alongside Raúf’s The Boy at the Back of the Class (Hachette Children’s), alongside books by Vashti Hardy, PG Bell, Ewa Jozefkowicz and Andy Shepherd.
Waterstones’ children’s buyer Florentyna Martin said: “Children’s books are firmly at the heart of our shops. Knowledge of their local communities, and the pleasure in recommending the best books to their customers, gives our booksellers a unique and pivotal role in championing new talent. Now, more than ever before, there is real playfulness and creativity noticeable in children’s books. This year’s list showcases an exploration of wide topics including world-folklore, black history, mental health, refugees and the world around us, through dynamic forms of poetry, fables and sweeping fantasies. It is a truly enthralling time for children’s writing, and our booksellers have keenly chosen shortlists that they are inspired to share with readers and, in doing so, recognise the creators who will shape the future of children’s stories.”
The prize is open to authors' first or second book (or third in the illustration category. The winner of each category will receive £2,000 and one overall winner - chosen from the three category winners - will be given an additional £3,000 at a ceremony at Waterstones Piccadilly on 21st March.
The titles are voted for by Waterstones booksellers and last year’s winner, The Hate U Give (Walker Books) by Angie Thomas, saw an increase in sales of over 900% across the Waterstones estate, the retailer said
James Daunt, m.d. at Waterstones, said: “We are immediately proud of our children’s book prize. It has chosen unfailingly wonderful books and in so doing propelled the careers of a succession of exceptional authors. Who knows how many might otherwise not have achieved such success? The prize is the work of our booksellers and represents Waterstones at its very best.”
The shortlists in full:
The Girls by Lauren Ace and Jenny Løvlie (Little Tiger Press)
Mini Rabbit Not Lost by John Bond (HarperCollins)
Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History by Vashti Harrison (Penguin)
The King Who Banned the Dark by Emily Haworth-Booth (Pavilion)
Julian Is A Mermaid by Jessica Love (Walker Books)
100 Dogs by Michael Whaite (Penguin)
The House With Chicken Legs by Sophie Anderson (Usborne)
The Train To Impossible Places by P.G. Bell (Usborne)
Brightstorm by Vashti Hardy (Scholastic)
The Mystery Of The Colour Thief by Ewa Jozefkowicz (Head of Zeus)
The Boy at the Back of the Class by Onjali Q. Raúf (Hachette Children’s)
The Boy Who Grew Dragons by Andy Shepherd (Templar)
The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo (Egmont)
Children Of Blood And Bone by Tomi Adeyemi (MacMillan Children’s Books)
A Winter’s Promise by Christelle Dabos (Europa Editions)
The Truth About Lies by Tracy Darnton (Little Tiger Press)
Me Mam. Me Dad. Me. by Malcolm Duffy (Head of Zeus)
Boy 87 by Ele Fountain (Pushkin)