Rob Biddulph was today (26th March) announced as the overall winner of the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize, as well as the best illustrated book category.
Biddulph, who is also the art director of the Observer magazine, won the prize for Blown Away (HarperCollins Children’s Books), about a penguin’s perilous trip from the Antarctic to the jungle and back.
Blown Away is only the second picture book to win the overall Waterstones children’s prize in its 10 year-history.
Melissa Cox, head of children’s buying for the chain, said: “The test of a good picture book is not how good it is on first reading, but how enjoyable it is on its fiftieth. Blown Away more than delivers – its whimsical, madcap plot engages immediately and its rhythmic text drives the story along while the illustrations charm and thrill on every page. It is truly wonderful, and a very worthy winner.”
The winner of the best book for teenagers was Sally Green for Half Bad (Penguin), a fantasy novel set in a world of black and white witches. Cox said the book, which was also shortlisted for the YA Book Prize, is “full of vivid imagery, relentless action and a hero everyone can root for”.
In the best younger fiction category, the prize went to Murder Most Ladylike by Robin Stevens (Random House Children’s Publishers).
For the first time, all the categories were won by debut authors.
“This year we have another wonderfully inspiring prize that is testament to the extraordinary vibrancy and creativity in children's publishing,” said m.d. James Daunt. “Children's books are the engine of sales growth at Waterstones and it is particularly exciting to have this driven by debuts of such calibre.”
Stevens, Biddulph and Green all picked up cheques for £2,000, and Biddulph was given an additional £3,000 for being the overall winner.
This year’s shortlists:
Best Illustrated Book:
The Queen's Hat by Steve Antony (Hodder / Hachette Children's)
The Dawn Chorus by Suzanne Barton (Bloomsbury)
Blown Away by Rob Biddulph (HarperCollins)
Where Bear? by Sophy Henn (Puffin)
Atlas of Adventures by Lucy Letherland, words by Rachel Williams (Wide Eyed Editions)
The Sea Tiger by Victoria Turnbull (Templar)
Best Younger Fiction:
Girl with a White Dog by Anne Booth (Catnip)
Cowgirl by G R Gemin (Nosy Crow)
Boy in the Tower by Polly Ho-Yen (Random House Children’s Publishers)
Murder Most Unladylike by Robin Stevens (Random House Children’s Publishers)
Violet and the Pearl of the Orient by Harriet Whitehorn, illustrated by Becka Moor (Simon & Schuster)
A Boy Called Hope by LaraWilliamson (Usborne Publishing)
Best Book for Teenagers:
The Apple Tart of Hope by Sarah Moore Fitzgerald (Orion Children's Books)
Half Bad by Sally Green(Penguin)
Dead Ends by Erin Lange (Faber & Faber)
Only Ever Yours by Louise O'Neill (Quercus)
Smart by Kim Slater (Macmillan Children's Books)
The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton (Walker Books)