CBI Book of the Year Awards Shortlist is Revealed!

Ten titles will compete for the CBI Book of the Year Awards 2017, the most prestigious awards for children’s books in Ireland.

The shortlist for the 27th CBI Book of the Year Awards was revealed today, Monday 13th March 2017 at the Crescent Arts Centre, Belfast. Each of the ten 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.

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The shortlisted titles are:

Anna Liza and the Happy Practice written by Eoin Colfer

 Billy Button, Telegram Boy illustrated by Sheena Dempsey

Bliain na nAmhrán scrIofa ag Tadhg Mac Dhonnagáin, maisithe ag Jennifer Farley, Brian Fitzgerald, Tarsila Krüse agus Christina O’Donovan

 Goodnight Everyone by Chris Haughton

 Historopedia by Fatti Burke and John Burke

 Needlework by Deirdre Sullivan

 Óró na Circíní agus Scéalta Eile Ón Afraic athinste ag Gabriel Rosenstock, maisithe ag Brian Fitzgerald

 Plain Jane by Kim Hood

 The Call by Peadar Ó Guilín

 The Ministry of Strange, Unusual and Impossible Things by Paul Gamble

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 Sarah Crossan for One, Oliver Jeffers for Once upon an Alphabet, John Boyne for The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas; Sheena Wilkinson for Grounded and Kate Thompson for The New Policeman, Annan Water and The Alchemist’s Apprentice.

Dr Patricia Kennon, chair of the judging panel that read over eighty titles, said: ‘Each year the jury for the Children’s Books Ireland Book of the Year Awards explores and examines Irish storytelling and illustration for children and young adults in both Irish and English and across all genres, formats and reading ages, using the principle and standard of excellence as the compass for creating the annual shortlist of outstanding books. The awards emphasise the importance of the aesthetic, imaginative, intellectual and emotional resonance of literature for young readers, and celebrate artistic and literary distinction, innovation and impact.’

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 via www.childrensbooksireland.ie. Five other awards will also be made in May – The CBI 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.

Elaina Ryan, Director at CBI said ‘This year Children’s Books Ireland is celebrating twenty years of working to make books a part of every child’s life. We are proud to present this shortlist of ten excellent titles, marking the very best in Irish writing and illustrating for children. It is of particular satisfaction to note that six of the ten books on the shortlist are Irish published, highlighting the quality of books being produced for young readers. We trust that this shortlist will encourage a passion for reading for pleasure in children across the island of Ireland.’

This year former winner of the CBI Book of the Year Award Chris Haughton returns to the shortlist with Goodnight Everyone. Additionally 2016’s Eilís Dillon award winners for a first children’s book Fatti and John Burke return with their second children’s book Historopedia. Former Laureate na nÓg Eoin Colfer also appears on the shortlist with Anna Liza and the Happy Practice.
A summary of each shortlisted title follows:

Anna Liza and the Happy Practice

Eoin Colfer

Barrington Stoke

ISBN 9781781125595

Age 5-8

Anna Liza’s mother is a psychiatrist and Anna loves to help cheer up the unhappy children of her mum’s patients. However, her usual songs and favourite jokes don’t work with Edward who’s sad because his dad is sad so Anna Liza devises an unorthodox plan … This empathetic and optimistic first-chapter book has an irresistible appeal. Eoin Colfer’s deceptively simple story sensitively explores mental health issues while Matt Robertson’s witty and humane illustrations perfectly interpret and resonate with the text.

Billy Button, Telegram Boy

illustrated by Sheena Dempsey

Barrington Stoke

ISBN 9781781125328

Age 5-8

Set at a time before mobile phones and email, this enticing historical chapter book chronicles the adventures of Billy Button, a telegram boy who finds himself involved in more than delivering messages when grumpy Mr Grundle receives an unexpected message from an old sweetheart. Sheena Dempsey’s delightfully nostalgic and whimsical illustrations, accomplished enhancement of Sally Nicholls’ text, and visual interweaving of historical details skilfully conjure the time period, creating a warm and beguiling narrative experience for young readers.

Bliain na nAmhrán

Tadhg Mac Dhonnagáin

maisithe ag Jennifer Farley, Brian Fitzgerald, Tarsila Krüse agus Christina O’Donovan

Futa Fata

ISBN 9781910945216

Age 3-7

This sumptuous illustrated collection of songs in Irish invites young and old audiences to celebrate the seasons and the natural world. Accompanied by a CD and beautifully illustrated by a team of accomplished illustrators, this multimedia collection offers a special aesthetic experience.

Cabhraíonn na hamhráin Ghaeilge seo le daoine, idir óg agus aosta, ceiliúradh a dhéanamh ar na séasúir agus ar an dúlra. Is eagrán maisithe é seo de na hamhráin agus tá léaráidí áille sa chnuasach seo a thugann eispéireas céadfach dúinn. Tá dlúthdhiosca ar fáil in éineacht leis an eagrán maisithe.

Goodnight Everyone

Chris Haughton

Walker Books

ISBN 9781406352320

Age 1+

The sun is setting, everyone in the forest is getting sleepy but one little bear is trying to stay awake … Chris Haughton’s vibrant illustrations combine perfectly with deceptively simple narrative in this mesmerising bedtime tale. Chronicling a series of animal yawns, the colour palette gradually darkens as the world of the forest is painted in sunset. Haughton’s use of cut-outs are particularly effective and the star maps in the endpapers add a mystic dimension to this captivating story.


Fatti Burke and John Burke

Gill Books

ISBN 9780717171132

Age 8+

Time travellers of all ages will be engrossed and delighted by this absorbing chronicle of Ireland’s history and mythic past across the eras to the present day. This talented father and daughter team have established a perfect partnership of research, text and visual storytelling where the innovative design deepens and skilfully visually interprets the rich and accessible range of historical knowledge. Readers young and old will enjoy exploring this impressive and gorgeously executed narrative experience.


Deirdre Sullivan

Little Island Books

ISBN 9781910411506

Age 15+

Needlework by Deirdre Sullivan is a poetic and eloquent exploration of violation, abuse and neglect and advocacy of the transformative power of art. Starkly genuine and sincere, Sullivan’s powerful use of the metaphor of tattooing invites reflection about identity, difference, self-protection and self-invention. This searing yet delicate representation of adolescent experience will resonate deeply with teenagers and is a story that needs to be told and needs to be read.

Óró na Circíní agus Scéalta Eile ón Afraic

athinste ag Gabriel Rosenstock

maisithe ag Brian Fitzgerald

An Gúm

ISBN 9781857919059

Age 9-11

This collection of retellings of oral African stories juxtaposes the traditional and the contemporary while honouring the tales’ cultural contexts and is sensitively retold by Gabriel Rosenstock and evocatively illustrated by Brian Fitzpatrick. Perfect for reading aloud and for independent readers.

Is cnuasach béaloidis é seo de scéalta ón Afraic a bhfuil blas traidisúnta agus blas comhaimseartha le brath iontu. Tá comhthéacsanna cultúrtha mar chroílár na scéalta. Athinsíonn Gabriel Rosenstock na scéalta seo go híogair agus maisíonn Brian Fitzpatrick iad go hallabhrach. Is scéalta iad seo atá oiriúnach don léitheoireacht neamhspleách nó don léitheoireacht os ard.

Plain Jane

Kim Hood

The O’Brien Press

ISBN 9781847178541

Age 12+

Jane’s little sister Emma has cancer and for the last three years has occupied all their parents’ attention. Jane loves and worries about her little sister but still can’t help resenting her parents for not noticing the impact that Emma’s illness is having on her. Kim Hood’s novel sensitively and movingly explores what it is like to struggle with a mental illness, the push and pull of family dynamics, the turbulence of young adulthood, and the difficulties of seeing someone you love suffer.

The Call

Peadar Ó Guilín

David Fickling Books

ISBN 9781910200971

Age 14+

Cut off from the rest of the world by carnivorous Sídhe, Irish children over the age of ten wait in fear to be abducted and hunted by these vicious faery folk. Following the travails of several teenagers, including Nessa (unlikely to survive the ‘Call’ due to being permanently disabled from polio), this intense story does not flinch from exploring the price of survival. Ó Gulín has created an engrossing young adult novel with rich world building and a distinctive evocation of dread, suspense and resilience.

The Ministry of Strange, Unusual and Impossible Things

Paul Gamble

Little Island Books

ISBN 9781910411544

Age 9+

Get ready for a rollercoaster of zaniness, adventure and hilarity! This debut novel by Paul Gamble skilfully juxtaposes the fantastical, thoughtful, comic and mundane. The relentlessly curious Jack, on a mission to find his missing friend, is recruited into the secret Ministry of Strange and Unusual and Impossible Things (Ministry of S.U.I.T.S) which deals with all the weird creatures and objects in the world. Enhanced by witty footnotes and explanatory subsections, this deliciously imaginative and immersive novel is a joy to read.