CBI Awards Shortlist Revealed!

*This post is dated March 19th, 2013*


The shortlist for the 23rd CBI Book of the Year Awards was revealed today, Tuesday March 19th 2013. Each of the ten titles will compete for six awards, which includes the innovative Children’s Choice Award voted for by ten junior juries located across the country. The winners will be announced at a ceremony to be held on May 8th.

The shortlisted titles are:

The Terrible Thing That Happened to Barnaby Brocket by John Boyne and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers

The Weight of Water by Sarah Crossan

Hóng by Anna Heussaff

Na Laochra is Lú by Laoise Ní Cléirigh and illustrated by Steve Simpson

Spellbound, Tales of Enchantment from Ancient Ireland by Siobhán Parkinson and illustrated by Olwyn Whelan

Mise agus an Dragún by Patricia Forde and illustrated by Steve Simpson

Dark Warning by Marie Louise Fitzpatrick

Oh No, George! by Chris Haughton

This Moose Belongs to Me by Oliver Jeffers

Grounded by Sheena Wilkinson

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 picture books and novels 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 that read more than 80 titles, said: ‘The ten books on this year’s shortlist offer children and young people from a broad age group rich and satisfying reading experiences. Many of the books engage with difficult contemporary issues while others are stories of whimsy and fun. This is a wonderfully diverse shortlist that highlights the literary and artistic excellence of current Irish Children’s Literature.’

CBI, as administrators of the awards, will again be working closely with reading groups from schools and libraries across Ireland. Ten specially selected junior juries will choose the winner of the Children’s Choice Award. Five other awards will be made in May also – The Book of the Year Award, The Eilís Dillon Award for a first-time author or illustrator, Honour Awards for Fiction and Illustration as well as a Judges’ Special Award.

Mags Walsh, Director at CBI said ’Sharing excellent books with young readers is a great pleasure and this year we have ten books which we know will resonate with readers, both young and old. Irish authors and illustrators rank among the best in the world so we are very proud to announce our shortlist today.’

This year illustrator Steve Simpson has two books on the shortlist, Na Laochra is Lú written by Laoise Ní Cleirigh and Mise agus an Dragún written by Patricia Forde. Two of the shortlistees are debut authors, Sarah Crossan for her book The Weight of Water and Laoise Ní Cléirigh for Na Laochra is Lú. Half of the books on the shortlist were penned by previous award winners John Boyne, Siobhán Parkinson, Marie Louise Fitzpatrick, Chris Haughton and Oliver Jeffers.

A summary of each shortlisted title is as follows:

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.

THE WEIGHT OF WATER by Sarah Crossan

Publisher: Bloomsbury (London)

ISBN: 978-1408830239 (PBK)

The line between poetry and fiction blurs in this startlingly original book. Crossan deftly tackles subjects of immigration and bullying through her narrator Kasienka: a young Polish girl who has travelled to Coventry in search of her father. Life is lonely for Kasienka. At home her mother’s heart is breaking and at school friends are scarce. But when someone special swims into her life, Kasienka learns that there might be more than one way for her to stay afloat.

Judges’ Comments: Moving and poignant, this coming-of-age tale is written in a verse narrative and 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.

HÓNG by Anna Heussaff

Publisher: Cló Iar-Chonnacht (Galway)

ISBN: 978-909367616 (PBK)

Tá Evan agus an cara is fearr leis, Rio, gafa le cluiche iontach ar líne darbh ainm Hóng. Tá saol iomlán difriúil i Hóng, i gcomparáid leis an léamhthuirse a bhíonn i mBaile an Chuain ó thús go deireadh na bliana. Athraíonn an scéal seo go tobann nuair a fhaigheann Evan teachtaireachtaí aisteacha ó imreoir eile ar líne leis an leasainm Yin. Níl mórán ar eolas ag Evan faoi Yin ach cuirtear in iúl do go bhfuil Yang i ndainséir agus é i mbun poist in Éirinn.

Evan and his best friend Rio are obsessed with an amazing online game called Hóng. Life is completely different in Hóng, compared with the boredom of Baile an Chuain they experience all year long. This changes dramatically when Evan receives a series of strange messages from a mysterious online player known only as Yin. Evan knows virtually nothing about Yin but becomes aware that Yang, who lives in Ireland, is gravely in danger and needs help urgently.

Tuairiscí an Mholtóra: Lonnaithe in Éirinn na haoise seo, is scéal ar leith é seo ina bhfuil eachtraíocht, cluichíocht agus teicneolaíocht, cairdeas agus mistéir fite fuaite lena chéile. Is leagan údarach, fíréanta é seo de shaol an óige in Éirinn inniu ina bhfeicimid Gaeilgeoirí déagóra ag dul i ngleic le domhain an Bhéarla.

Judges’ Comments: Set in contemporary Ireland, this compelling story of adventure, computer games, friendship and mystery presents a refreshingly convincing version of young Irish-speaking teenagers engaging with an English-speaking world.

DARK WARNING by Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick

Publisher: Orion (London)

ISBN: 978-1842556788 (PBK)

Taney Tyrell is a young girl growing up in the bustling Smithfield markets area of Dublin in the 18th century. Despite living in close quarters with her father, stepmother and beloved brother Jon Jon, Taney has always felt distant and different. Gradually Taney realises that she possesses a special gift – the ability to see things before they happen. This gift of second sight, she shares with her late mother and her father fears that Taney may lose herself completely in her supernatural ability. Although Taney’s family encourage her to keep her gift secret, in a place crowded with people and where neighbours can observe everything that happens, her abilities become more widely known. Soon Taney’s visions turn frightening as she witnesses murders and violence. Taney and her community must search for the murderers identity in a race to protect future victims.

Judges’ Comments: 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.

GROUNDED by Sheena Wilkinson

Publisher: Little Island (Dublin)

ISBN: 978-1908195173 (PBK)

Declan loves Seaneen, but his ambition to work at a top showjumping yard is stronger than anything he’s ever felt before. So when Declan is offered his dream job in Germany, he should be thrilled. There’s nothing for him at home but dark history he’d rather forget. But he’s terrified: leaving Seaneen’s harder than he expected; troubled hood Cian won’t leave him alone, and when he finds a traumatised horse in a derelict barn, he knows he has to help her. No matter how scared he is.

Judges’ Comments: Set in contemporary Belfast, 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.

NA LAOCHRA IS LÚ le Laoise Ní Chléirigh agus Steve Simpson (illus.)

Publisher: An Gúm (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.


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.


Publisher: Harper Collins (London)

ISBN: 978-0007263875 (PBK)

‘Wilfred owned a moose. He hadn’t always owned a moose. The moose came to him a while ago and he knew, just KNEW, that it was meant to be his. He thought he would call him Marcel.’

Most of the time Marcel is very obedient, abiding by the many rules on How to Be a Good Pet. But one dark day, while deep in the woods, someone else claims the moose as their own.

Judges’ Comments: 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.

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 realize 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.