Children’s Books Ireland (CBI) has revealed the shortlist for the 2016 Book of the Year Award, with Oliver Jeffers, John Boyne and Louise O’Neill all in the running.
The awards, founded in 1990, are for children’s books written in English or Irish by authors and illustrators born or resident in Ireland.
Jeffers, who won last year’s prize, is mentioned twice on the shortlist: the book he illustrated for Eoin Colfer, Imaginary Fred, is in the running, as is The Day the Crayons Came Home, written by Drew Daywalt. Both titles are published by HarperCollins Children’s Books.
Two YA titles are also on the shortlist, One by Sarah Crossan (Bloomsbury Children’s) and Asking for It by Louise O’Neill (Quercus), as is the younger fiction novel The Boy on the Top of the Mountain by John Boyne (Doubleday).
From Irish publishers, the shortlist features: Gulliver, by Jonathan Swift, retold by Mary Webb, illustrated by Lauren O’Neill (The O’Brien Press); Ná Gabh ar Scoil written by Máire Zepf, illustrated by Tarsila Krüse (Futa Fata); Irelandopedia written by John Burke, illustrated by Fatti Burke (Gill & Macmillan); and The Wordsmith by Patricia Forde (Little Island).
Dr Patricia Kennon, chair of the judging panel, said: “The nine shortlisted titles take us on a imaginative journey around Ireland and beyond, showcasing the range of excellent books being created by Irish authors and illustrators. These books span a wide range of ages from incredibly engaging picture books to hard-hitting, thought-provoking novels for teenagers and young adults, in both languages. The members of the judging panel and I very much enjoyed the opportunity to explore and celebrate the best of contemporary Irish children’s publishing.”
The winner of the children’s book of the year award will be announced at a ceremony on 23rd May at Dublin’s Smock Alley Theatre.
CBI will also give a number of other awards to the shortlisted titles, including honour awards for fiction and illustration, the Eilís Dillon award for a first children’s book and the judges’ special award. Young readers in Ireland will pick the winner of the children’s choice award.