Nine titles will compete for the CBI Book of the Year Awards 2016, the most prestigious awards for children’s books in Ireland.

The shortlist for the 26th CBI Book of the Year Awards was revealed today, Tuesday 8th March 2016 at the Duncairn Arts Centre, Belfast. Each of the nine titles will compete for the high calibre awards, which includes the innovative Children’s Choice Award, voted for by young readers across the country. The winners will be announced at a ceremony to be held on 23rd May at Dublin’s Smock Alley Theatre.


The shortlisted titles are:


Imaginary Fred written by Eoin Colfer, illustrated by Oliver Jeffers

The Day the Crayons Came Home written by Drew Daywalt, illustrated by Oliver Jeffers

The Boy at the Top of the Mountain by John Boyne

Gulliver by Jonathan Swift, retold by Mary Webb, illustrated by Lauren O’Neill

Asking for It by Louise O’Neill

Ná Gabh ar Scoil written by Máire Zepf, illustrated by Tarsila Krüse

Irelandopedia written by John Burke, illustrated by Fatti Burke

The Wordsmith by Patricia Forde

One by Sarah Crossan


Founded in 1990, The CBI Book of the Year Awards are the leading children’s book awards in Ireland. They are a celebration of excellence in children’s literature and illustration and are open to books for all ages 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 Oliver Jeffers for Once Upon an Alphabet, John Boyne for The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas; Sheena Wilkinson for Grounded, Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick for There and Hagwitch and Kate Thompson for The New Policeman, Annan Water and The Alchemist’s Apprentice. 


Dr Patricia Kennon, chair of the judging panel that read almost 80 titles, said: ‘The nine shortlisted titles take us on a imaginative journey around Ireland and beyond, showcasing the range of excellent books being created by Irish authors and illustrators. These books span a wide range of ages from incredibly engaging picturebooks to hard-hitting, thought-provoking novels for teenagers and young adults, in both languages. The members of the judging panel and I very much enjoyed the opportunity to explore and celebrate the best of contemporary Irish children’s publishing.’


Children’s Books Ireland (CBI), which administers the awards, will again be working closely with reading groups from schools, libraries and bookshops across the island of Ireland. These young readers will choose the winner of the Children’s Choice Award. Reading groups nationwide are invited to sign up for the shadowing scheme to be in with a chance of receiving free copies of all 9 shortlisted titles via Five other awards will be made in May also –The Book of the Year Award, Honour Awards for Fiction and Illustration, the Eilís Dillon award for a first children’s book and the Judges’ Special Award.


Jenny Murray, Acting Director at CBI said ‘At Children’s Books Ireland our mission is to make books a part of every child’s life. With this year’s shortlist, CBI is honoured to be able to highlight the very best that Irish authors and illustrators have to offer it is particularily satisfying to note that of the nine shortlisted titles, four are Irish published. This list includes children’s books for all ages covering titles that are challangeing, informative, uplifting and funny. They are truly world-class in their quality. We know that young readers nationwide will enjoy this selection’


This year’s shortlist contains three titles from two former CBI Book of the Year Award winners, Oliver Jeffers whose Once Upon an Alphabet took the overall prize in 2015 and John Boyne who won with The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas in 2007. Six of the authors and illustrators shortlisted are new to the CBI Book of the Year Awards shortlist: Mary Webb and Lauren O’Neill for Gulliver, Máire Zepf and Tarsila Krüse for Ná Gabh ar Scoil and father-daughter team John and Fatti Burke for Irelandopedia. Shortlistees Louise O’Neill and Sarah Crossan are previous winners of the ÉilIs Dillon award for a first children’s book.


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