Walker Books has claimed two spots on this year's Alligator's Mouth Award shortlist.
Now in its third year, the children’s book prize created by The Alligator’s Mouth children’s bookshop and The Bright Agency, celebrates the best books for six to eight-year-olds.
This year's five shortlisted titles are: Agents of the Wild: Operation Honeyhunt written by Jennifer Bell, illustrated by Alice Lickens (Walker Books); Claude at the Palace written and illustrated by Alex T Smith (Hodder Children’s Books); Pizazz written and illustrated by Sophy Henn (Simon & Schuster Children’s UK); The Hat Full of Secrets written by Karl Newson, illustrated by Wazza Pink (Stripes Publishing); and Zombierella: Fairy Tales Gone Bad written by Joseph Coelho, illustrated by Freya Hartas (Walker Books).
The shortlist was selected by a judging panel of children’s book experts including author Smriti Halls, last year's winner Adam Stower, book blogger and primary school librarian Jo Clarke, primary school headteacher and book blogger Simon Smith and co-owners of The Alligator’s Mouth children’s bookshop, Margaret Wallace-Jones and Tony West, alongside Arabella Stein, who is director at The Bright Agency.
Clarke said: "I'm a huge fan of illustrated fiction, so it was an absolute honour to be asked to sit on the judging panel for The Alligator's Mouth Award. As a school librarian I see the important role illustrated fiction plays every day in giving confidence to newly independent readers and helping to encourage reading for pleasure. This award plays a vital role in celebrating the very best books for 6-8 years old and this year's shortlist contains a stellar line up of authors and illustrators. All of these nominated books are guaranteed to enthral and entertain younger readers."
The winner will be announced in July 2021. The award is again partnered with wholesaler Gardners, which is offering independent bookshops across the UK a 50% discount on all the longlisted titles until the end of July.