Scholastic is launching a new series of awards for funny children’s books in the UK, with Michael Rosen taking on the role of head judge. The move follows the closure of the Roald Dahl Prize last month.
The Laugh Out Loud Book Prize, or the “Lollies”, will be awarded in three categories: Best Laugh Out Loud Picture Book, Best Laugh Out Loud book for 6–8s and Best Laugh Out Loud book for 9–13s.
Publishers will be able to submit 23rd October – 6th November via the Lollies website and the shortlist, chosen by Rosen and other members of the judging panel, will be announced in March next year. The final prizes will be awarded in September 2016.
Scholastic will enter its own books into the award but the winning titles will be chosen by children who will be asked to vote online.
M.d. Catherine Bell said Scholastic was “disappointed” when the Roald Dahl estate put a stop to their funny prize and so decided to “pick up the baton”.
Rosen added: “Everyone who is interested in children's reading knows that for many, many children, the thing that gets them going is a book that makes them fall about laughing. Weirdly, they're not always that easy to find. This prize will be like a great big signpost saying 'this way laughs' and that could be the moment that a child who doesn't read, turns into one who does. I think that's really exciting."
Scholastic will fund the prize in part but will also ask publishers whose books are shortlisted to contribute. It will promote the prize on social media using the hashtag #lollies and organise a series of events in schools to promote the prize, working with the Book Trust.
Diana Gerald, Chief Executive of Book Trust, said: “We’re delighted to be partnering with Scholastic and Michael Rosen on the new Lollies and look forward to working together to bring the awards and the very best funny books to the largest possible audience.”
The Roald Dahl Funny Prize came to an end last month, when Luke Kelly, m.d. of the Roald Dahl estate said it did not fit in with the estate’s plans for next year’s centenary celebrations (2016 will mark 100 years since Dahl’s birth).
Kelly said the estate has decided to focus on launching a children’s book prize in the US.