CBI Book of the Year Awards

The CBI Book of the Year Awards (formerly the Bisto Awards) are the leading annual children’s book awards in Ireland. The awards are made annually by Children’s Books Ireland and will celebrate their 30th year in 2020. The CBI Book of the Year Awards identify, honour and promote excellence in books for young people by Irish authors and illustrators. The awards are the most prestigious in Ireland and offer one of the few opportunities for national and international recognition of Irish authors and illustrators. Excellence in children’s books is the over-arching criterion and there are a total of six awards made:


CBI Book of the Year Award

Honour Award for Fiction

Honour Award for Illustration

Eilis Dillon Award (for a first children’s book)

The Judges’ Special Award

The Children’s Choice Award

The awards are open to authors and illustrators born or resident in Ireland and to books written in Irish or English. The shortlist for the awards is announced annually in March and the winners are announced in June. Each year Children’s Books Ireland assembles a panel of judges who have considerable expertise and interest in books for children. The panel operates independently of Children’s Books Ireland. Young readers from around the country take part in the Shadowing Scheme in order to decide the winner of the Children’s Choice Award.



Selection process

The Judging Panel reviews all eligible titles and examine them according to the criteria for the award. The shortlist of approximately 10 titles is announced in March at the Belfast Children’s Festival and the winners are announced at a ceremony in May as part of the International Literature Festival Dublin.



Shadowing Scheme

Established in 2005, the CBI Shadowing Scheme is a unique programme for schools and libraries, designed to encourage children and young people to read widely and to engage with reading in an innovative and exciting way.

Participating groups make their own selection of suitable titles from the books shortlisted for the CBI Awards in March, using a specially devised activity pack to guide them in their reading. At the end of this process each group is asked to collectively vote for their favourite book. Children’s Books Ireland then invites some of our shadowing groups to attend the official winners’ ceremony in May and to announce the Children’s Choice Award.

Shadowing is ideal for class groups, book clubs or reading groups and even groups of friends. Please register your group free of charge using the Shadowing Scheme registration form.


Children’s Books Ireland is grateful for the support of the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht through the Co-operation with Northern Ireland Funding Scheme.


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