First awarded in 2005, the purpose of the prize is “to uncover hidden talent in children’s writing” and is therefore open only to authors who have published no more than three books. Since 2012 it has been divided into three categories, Illustrated books, Younger Fiction and Older Fiction with an Overall Winner. The prize is voted for by the booksellers from all around the country. Past winners include Sally Nicholls, Katherine Rundell and Rob Biddulph.
|Illustrated Books winner
Grandad’s Camper by Harry Woodgate. (Andersen Press ISBN: 978-1783449927)
Delightfully colourful and carrying a warm, positive message of inclusion and love, Woodgate’s uplifting debut picture book depicts a grandad recapturing the adventures of his youth courtesy of his granddaughter. As she helps her grandfather embrace life again following the death of his beloved partner, Gramps, the reader gets a real understanding of grief and how joyful memories can help you cope
|Younger Fiction and Overall winner
The Last Bear by Hannah Gold. (HarperCollins. ISBN: 978-0008411312)
Following her Blue Peter Book Award win, this is another triumph for debut author Hannah Gold. ‘Classic, character-driven storytelling powers The Last Bear, and its enthralling adventure and hopeful ecological message struck a huge chord with our booksellers – even those who don’t normally read children’s books.’ This moving tale brilliantly mixes an exciting adventure in the Arctic Circle with a touching exploration of lonely April’s relationship with her father, the researcher whose job is the reason they are on Bear Island and a thought provoking exploration of climate change and in particular the effect on polar bears. April’s determination to save Bear shows what a difference just one person can make. A thoroughly enthralling read and beautifully illustrated by Levi Pinfold.
|Older Fiction winner
Not My Problem by Ciarra Smyth (Andersen Press. ISBN: 978-1839130854)
Fizzing with witty one-liners and blessed with some truly memorable teen characters, Smyth’s delightful second novel sees school ‘fixer’ Aideen battling her own demons whilst trying to sort out her classmates’ problems.