Picturebook maker Chris Haughton has won the 27th Children's Books Ireland Book of the Year Award for his "captivating" book Goodnight Everyone (Walker Books).
The judges praised Haughton's "vibrant illustrations" which "combine perfectly with deceptively simple narrative in this mesmerising bedtime tale". Haughton was also the recipient of the Honour Award for Illustration for the same title.
Also honoured on the night were Deirdre Sullivan (Little Island) who was presented with the Honour Award for Fiction for Needlework, which the judges said was "starkly genuine and sincere"; Tadhg Mac Dhonnagaín, Jennifer Farley, Brian Fitzpatrick, Tarsila Krüse and Christina O’Donovan were awarded the judges special award for Bliain na nAmhrán (Futa Fata), a "sumptuous" illustrated collection of songs in Irish; and Paul Gamble was presented with the Eilís Dillon award for a first children’s book for The Ministry of Strange, Unusual and Impossible Things (Little Island), a "rollercoaster of zaniness, adventure and hilarity", according to the judges.
During the ceremony held in Smock Alley Theatre, Dublin, students from Scoil San Carlo, Leixlip and King’s Hospital School, Palmerstown presented author Eadar Ó Guilín with the Children’s Choice Award for his novel The Call (David Fickling Books). Voted for by young readers from across the country, Guilín was chosen by shadowing groups who read and judged the ten shortlisted titles and voted for their favourite. This year the shadowing scheme was supported by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and UNESCO Dublin City of Literature.
The CBI Book of the Year Awards are a celebration of excellence in children’s literature and illustration and are open to books written in English or Irish by authors and illustrators born or resident in Ireland and published between 1st January and 31st December each year. Previous winners include Sarah Crossan for One (Bloomsbury Children's), John Boyne for The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (David Fickling Books); Sheena Wilkinson for Grounded (Little Island), Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick for There and Hagwitch (Orion Children's Books); and Oliver Jeffers for Once upon an Alphabet (HarperCollins Children's Books).
Dr Patricia Kennon, chair of the judging panel, said: "It’s been a personal and professional pleasure to have spent the last year with our passionate, accomplished and dedicated judging panel reading and discussing over 80 award entries. This year’s winners and shortlist celebrate the impressive talent, creativity and imaginative power of the best in Irish writing and illustration for young people across two languages and a diverse and rich range of formats, audiences and genres."
Elaina Ryan, director of CBI, said: "In 2017 Children’s Books Ireland is celebrating twenty years of making books a part of every child’s life in Ireland. It is with great satisfaction that we celebrate the CBI Book of the Year Awards winners today, knowing that we are highlighting and appreciating the hard work of Irish authors, illustrators and publishers in creating excellent books for young readers."