Five picture books published by Hodder Children’s Books, Egmont, Flying Eye Books, HarperCollins Children’s Books and Nosy Crow are in the running for this year’s £5,000 Oscar’s Book Prize, organised by the Evening Standard.
The titles in the running are Lucie Goose by Danny Baker and Pippa Curnick (Hodder Children’s Books), There’s a Pig Up My Nose by John Dougherty and Laura Hughes (Egmont), The Secret of Black Rock by Joe Todd Stanton (Flying Eye Books), Sunk! by Rob Biddulph (HarperCollins), and That Bear Can’t Babysit by Ruth Quayle and Alison Friend (Nosy Crow).
The prize was set up in 2014 by the London Evening Standard in memory of Oscar Ashton, the son of the paper’s executive editor and columnist James Ashton, who died suddenly in 2012 at the age of three-and-a-half from an undetected heart condition, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
Oscar’s parents, James Ashton and Viveka Alvestrand, are part of the judging panel and look for picture books that Oscar himself would have enjoyed.
This year they were joined on the judging panel by TV and radio presenter Katie Derham, Julia Eccleshare, children’s director of the Hay Festival and Brigitte Ricou-Bellan, UK director of books at Amazon.
“I was most drawn to the books where the message wasn’t necessarily obvious – but might have been presented in a slightly quirky way,” said Derham. “I was also looking for the books that I thought parents would enjoy as well as children. That’s often overlooked.”
Eccleshare added: “I was bowled over by the incredibly high overall standard of the submissions. While some were especially strong on graphic design, layout and production values, others had charming rhymes and great stories.”
The organisers of the award, which is supported by Amazon and The National Literacy Trust, received more than 100 entries this year, mits highest number to date.
The winner will be revealed at a ceremony at St James's Palace on 14th May.