Everyone has a favourite childhood book. The memories of magical worlds inside well-thumbed pages that sat on our bookcases will stay with us forever. Crafting those memories for a new generation of readers, the best emerging talent in children’s publishing have been shortlisted for one of the industry’s highest accolades - the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize.
This year, fantasy dominates; with warrior rabbits, mythical towns and ambitious polar bears transporting children’s minds to another world.
Read on to discover which books have been shortlisted in the Illustrated Books, Younger Fiction and Older Fiction categories.
Shortlisted in the Illustrated Books category…
• I Really Want The Cake by Lucia Gaggiotti and Simon Philip
• Leaf by Sandra Dieckmann
• The Night Box by Louise Grieg and Ashling Lindsay
• Fergal is Fuming! By Robert Starling
• Superbat by Matt Carr
• The Secret of Black Rock by Joe Todd-Stanton
The Illustrated Books category is where the adventure of reading begins. This year, our youngest readers can befriend the seafaring adventuress Erin in The Secret of Black Rock, learn about the plight of polar bears in a changing climate in Leaf, and help Fergal the dragon calm his temper in Fergal is Fuming!.
Shortlisted in the Younger Fiction category…
• Goldfish Boy by Lisa Thompson
• Kid Normal by Greg James, Chris Smith and Erica Salcedo
• The Five Realms: The Legend of Podkin One-Ear by Kieran Larwood, Fernando Juarez and David Wyatt
• Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend
• A Place called Perfect by Helena Duggan
• Who Let the Gods Out? by Maz Evans
The Younger Fiction category is brimming with adventure. In Helena Duggan’s A Place Called Perfect, little Violet moves to a strange, Roald Dahl-esque town, meeting plenty of peculiar people along the way. Elsewhere on the list, The Five Realms tells the story of little rabbit Podkin and his family who group together to protect their warren after the evil Gorm launches an attack.
Shortlisted in the Older Fiction category…
• The Disappearances by Emily Bain Murphy
• The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
• INK by Alice Broadway
• This Mortal Coil by Emily Suvada
• Thornhill by Pam Smy
• Troublemakers by Catherine Barter
After the shortlists were announced, Florentyna Martin, Waterstones Children’s Buyer was quoted: "Whilst we still see exceptional real-life stories, this year's shortlists indicate a renewed interest in the publishing and purchasing of fantastical adventure stories.
"Children have always been eager to experience worlds beyond our own, whether it’s in books, films or technology, but our booksellers’ shortlist choices show that a resurgence of nostalgic fantastical adventures is creating a hunger for new magical stories."
The results, shining a light on the very best emerging talent in children’s publishing, will be given out tomorrow. We wish all the nominees good luck!