*This post is dated May 8th, 2013*
Belfast author Sheena Wilkinson has won the 23rd CBI Book of the Year Award and is the second author ever to win both the Book of the Year Award and the Children’s Choice Award for her novel Grounded. Set in a bleak, contemporary Belfast, the novel follows a talented show-jumper from the wrong side of the tracks and his struggle to cope with his responsibilities as a boyfriend, son, employee and friend. The judges said ‘this powerful first person narrative is an unsentimental account of a teenager trying to cope with a series of unexpected responsibilities, and explores the effects of caring too much and of caring too little’. Grounded is the sequel to Sheena’s previous novel Taking Flight, which won both the CBI Honour Award for Fiction and the Children’s Choice Award in 2011.
During the ceremony, six of eight specially appointed Junior Juries comprising young people from school and library reading groups around Ireland also presented their thoughts about the shortlisted titles and revealed Grounded as the winner of the ‘Children’s Choice Award’.
The winner of the Eilís Dillon award, which is awarded to a first time author or illustrator is Sarah Crossan for The Weight of Water. Written in a verse narrative, Sarah’s coming-of-age tale portrays not only the fear and isolation felt by many young immigrants but also the courage and resilience that is often needed for a young person to find his or her way in the world.
The judges also made three other awards to the following:
- Judges’ Special Award: Anna Heussaff for Hóng. The judges said ‘The author’s delicately tuned language creates a narrative that manages to be accessible, authentic and convincing all at the same time. The style of language allows the reader to engage sympathetically with the story of contemporary Irish speaking teenagers in an English speaking world of computer games and environmental recklessness.’
- Honour Award for Illustration: Oliver Jeffers for This Moose Belongs to Me. The judges said ‘Illustratively striking in its blending of collage and landscape painting, this is an imaginatively absurd book that encourages the reader to meditate on concepts of identity, ownership, and friendship.’
- Honour Award for Fiction: Marie Louise Fitzpatrick for Dark Warning. The judges said ‘Told from the perspective of its gifted young female protagonist and drawing upon urban myths and lore of 18th century Dublin, this is an original and exciting tale encompassing elements of mystery, murder and the paranormal.’
The CBI Book of the Year Awards are the leading children’s book awards in Ireland. The Awards are a celebration of excellence in children’s literature and illustration and are open to books 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 John Boyne for his book The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas; Chris Haughton for A Bit Lost, Marie Louise Fitzpatrick for There and Kate Thompson for her books The New Policeman, Annan Water and The Alchemist’s Apprentice.
Pádraic Whyte, chair of the judging panel remarked, ‘The many subjects addressed and genres covered by this year’s shortlisted and winning titles provides a broad range of experiences for children and young people of every age to dive into. Addressing contemporary and everyday issues in sometimes serious and sometimes whimsical manners, these books are brilliant examples of why children’s literature matters.’
Mags Walsh, Director of CBI said ‘In a time where children have so many options with what to do with their spare time, it’s a terrific pleasure and privilege to work with passionate young readers across the country as they enjoy and savour these excellent books. Ireland continues to produce world class authors and illustrators for children and we send our congratulations to all of today’s winners.’
The other shortlisted titles were:
OH NO GEORGE, by Chris Haughton
Publisher: Walker (London)
ISBN: 978-1406332254 (HBK)
This new picturebook tells the tale of George, a dog who tries to be good, who hopes to be good, but seems to fail at every turn of the page. When left alone in the house, he eats a whole cake, he chases the cat, he digs the soil in the flowerbeds – Oh no, George! – but he’s soon sorry and tries to change his ways.
Judges’ Comments: With vivid colours, bold shapes, remarkable illustrations, sparse text and subtle complexity, this well-crafted picturebook presents a wonderfully humorous tale of how difficult it is to be good.
NA LAOCHRA IS LÚ le Laoise Ní Chléirigh agus Steve Simpson (illus.)
Publisher: An Gum (Dublin)
ISBN: 978-1857910988 (PBK)
Tá gach ní socruithe, suaimhneach i Rinn Duáin go dtí go bhfilleann An Taibhse Dána tar éis a bheith díbirte ar feadh seacht mbliana taobh istigh de shliogán. Beartaíonn sé leanúint leis an slad agus an raic a thosaigh sé na blianta fada ó shin; iompar a bhí mar chúis a dhíbirte ar dtús báire. Nuair a fheictear do Rian, Rí na Síoga, go bhfuil An Taibhse Dána ar ais agus ag déanamh ionsaí ar iascairí bhochta neamhurchóideacha, beartaíonn sé beirt dá shíoga a roghnú chun ruaig a chur ar an dtaibhse.
Everything is peaceful and harmonious in Rinn Duáin until An Taibhse Dána returns from a seven-year exile, spent inside a large shell. He opts to continue with the wreckage and disruption he began all those years ago. When Rian, the King of the Fairies, sees that the Taibhse Dána is attacking innocent fishermen in the deep of night, he decides to order two of his youngest fairies in order to banish the evil ghost, once and for all.
Tuairiscí an Mholtóra: Fréamhaithe in Éirinn an miotas agus na finscéalaíochta, is scéal simplí, leithleach, spreagúil é seo a leanann beirt shíog agus iad ar thuras gaiscíochta chun cinntiú go mbeidh lámh in uachtar ag maitheas ar an olc.
Judges’ Comments: Rooted in an Ireland of myth and legend, this simple yet original and exciting quest narrative follows the adventures of two lively fairies as they work together to ensure that good will overcome evil.
THE TERRIBLE THING THAT HAPPENED TO BARNABY BROCKET by John Boyne and Oliver Jeffers (illus).
Publisher: Random House (London)
ISBN: 978-0857531469 (HBK)
There’s nothing unusual about the Brockets. Boring, respectable and fiercely proud of it, Alistair and Eleanor Brocket turn up their noses at anyone strange or different. But from the moment Barnaby Brocket comes into the world, it’s clear he’s anything but normal. To the horror and shame of his parents, Barnaby appears to defy the laws of gravity – and floats. Little Barnaby is a lonely child – after all, it’s hard to make friends when you’re ten feet in the air. Desperate to please his parents, he does his best to stop floating, but he just can’t do it. Then, one fateful day, Barnaby’s mother decides enough is enough. She never asked for a weird, abnormal, floating child. She’s sick and tired of the newspapers prying and the neighbours gossiping. Barnaby has to go . . .
Judges’ Comments: A comic and often touching story about an eight-year-old boy who defies the laws of gravity, thereby offending his parents’ sense of ‘normal’, and, on an adventurous circumnavigation of the globe, discovers the importance of staying true to oneself.
MISE AGUS AN DRAGÚN by Patricia Forde and Steve Simpson (illus.)
Publisher: Futa Fata (Galway)
ISBN: 978-19069076501 (HBK)
Buailimid le béirín ag tús an leabhair; béirín beag le huaillmhian iontach. Ba mhaith leis dul ag seilg dragúin nuair a bheidh sé mór. Téann sé ar thuras samhlaíochta sa leabhar thar sléibhte arda, trí choillte fiáine, go hard sa spéir, thar mara, timpeall ar chaisleán agus amach sa spás ar thóir dragún fíochmhar a ghlacann sé mar pheata. Níl eagla ar an bhéir roimh mórán ina dtuairim féin, agus ceapann sé go mbeidh go leor ratha aige mar shealgaire. Sin é mura gcasann sé ar dhriseacha, dorchadas, áiteanna arda, tintreach, deatach nó ba. Cuireann an béirín in iúl dúinn go bhfuil sé cróga ach tuigimid go bhfuil níos mó faitíos air ná mar a ligeann sé air, de réir mar a théann an scéal ar aghaidh. Is scéal álainn é seo faoin tsamhlaíocht, faoi uaillmhianta agus na rudaí beaga a chuireann eagla an domhain orainn.
We meet a small bear at the beginning of the book; a small bear with a huge ambition. He would love nothing more than to hunt dragons when he grows up. Off he goes on an imaginary journey over tall mountains, through wild forests, high in the sky, over the raging sea, around a castle and out into space chasing a dragon he later tames as his pet. The little bear isn’t afraid of much and he thinks he’ll have great success as a dragon hunter. That’s if he doesn’t encounter briars, darkness, heights, thunder, fire or cows. The little bears explains that he is very brave indeed but it isn’t long before we realise he is actually more afraid then he’d like to have us believe. This is a beautiful story about the imagination, about hopes and dreams and about the tiny things that make us shake and shiver.
Tuairiscí an Mholtóra: Tá gnéithe ó bhéal agus gnéithe físeacha fite fuaite le chéile go héifeachtach sa leabhar seo, ina ndírítear isteach ar eagla pháiste óg. Foghlaimíonn an léitheoir nach féidir linn bheith cróga nó inár laochra gan eagla a bheith orainn in uaireanta.
Judges’ Comments: Verbal and visual texts work well together in this story of the fears of a little one, where readers learn that without fear, there can never be courage and bravery.
SPELLBOUND by Siobhán Parkinson and Olwyn Whelan (illus.)
Publisher: Frances Lincoln (London)
ISBN: 978-1847801401 (HBK)
Spellbound tells the stories of eight ancient legends of Ireland. The stories are all linked by themes and magic and enchantment, and are perfectly illustrated with brightly coloured, decorative and evocative paintings.
Judges’ Comments: Magical and enchanting stories from ancient Ireland are beautifully brought to life by vibrant watercolour illustrations featuring echoes of Celtic illumination.