Ten titles shortlisted for 2024 KPMG Children’s Books Ireland Awards

February 2024
Share on

From earthquake-torn Japan to the hustle-bustle of Lagos, from gritty Glasgow to the comforts of nature, and seeing contemporary Dublin through the eyes of an otherworldly visitor, this year’s shortlisted titles for the KPMG Children’s Books Ireland Awards take readers on a world tour.

The shortlist for the 34th annual awards was announced today by RTÉ broadcaster Rick O’Shea at a special event in the Crescent Arts Centre in Belfast.

Speaking at the announcement, Elaina Ryan, CEO of Children’s Books Ireland said: “This is the only Irish awards dedicated to celebrating books created for children and it’s the biggest year we’ve had yet! Between July 2023 and January 2024, the judging panel read a record 158 titles from Irish-born or Ireland-based writers and illustrators.”

The shortlisted titles, which includes five début writers and three current or former Laureates na nÓg, will compete for six awards at the KPMG Children’s Books Ireland Awards ceremony, held 22nd May in partnership with the International Literature Festival Dublin.

These include the KPMG Children’s Books Ireland Book of the Year Award, as well as honours for fiction, illustration and the Junior Juries’ Award which will be decided by young readers across the island of Ireland.

The KPMG Children's Books Ireland Awards shortlist 2023

April’s Garden, an inventive, colourful début picturebook exploring a mother and daughter’s search for a new home, written by Isla McGuckin and illustrated by Catalina Echeverri (Graffeg).

Catfish Rolling, a début teenage novel situated between modern-day Japan in the wake of a deadly earthquake and a magical dimension rich in mythological notes, by Clara Kumagai (Zephyr).

Global, a graphic novel spotlighting the interconnectedness of our world and the impact of the climate crisis. This is the second book in the series from writers Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin, and illustrator Giovanni Regano (Hodder Children’s Books).

My Life as a Chameleon, a poignant début novel which follows sixteen-year-old Lily as she finds herself in an upheaval that takes her from Nigeria and Manchester, written by Diana Anyakwo (Atom Books).

The First Move, a teenage romance which follows the budding relationship of chess-loving Ronan and Juliet in contemporary Northern Ireland. This is the début novel by Jenny Ireland (Penguin Random House).

The Girl Who Fell to Earth, a science fiction novel set in contemporary Dublin which explores the concerns of our time through the eyes of a new visitor to earth, by the current Laureate na nÓg, Patricia Forde (Little Island Books).

The Hare-Shaped Hole, a gentle story about loss and acceptance which draws on familiar characters from the tale of the turtle and the hare, by author John Dougherty and illustrator Thomas Docherty (Frances Lincoln Children’s Books).

Three Tasks for a Dragon, an evocative tale which follows unlikely hero Prince Lir and not-so-helpless maiden Cethlenn, by two former laureates for children, author Eoin Colfer and illustrator P.J. Lynch (Walker Books).

Treacle Town, a gritty teenage novel set in Scotland which explores toxic masculinity, gangland violence, social deprivation and the power of slam poetry, by author Brian Conaghan (Andersen Press).

Wider Than the Sea, a lyrical, uplifting novel about a spirited young girl who struggles at school and finds solace through an unlikely friendship with a dolphin named Sunny. This début novel by Serena Molloy features dyslexic-friendly blank verse with illustrations by George Ermos (Hodder Children’s Books).

The longlist

The volume and quality of submissions to this year's KPMG Children's Books Ireland Awards was extraordinary, with a record 158 books reviewed by our panel of judges.

In recognition of this fierce competition for the 2024 shortlist and awards, the judges have released their longlist, below.

Freya Harte is not a Puzzle by Méabh Collins, published by The O'Brien Press                   

Finding My Voice, written and illustrated by Aoife Dooley, published by Scholastic

A Game of Life and Death by Triona Campbell, published by Scholastic

The Táin, written by Alan Titley and illustrated by Eoin Coveney, published by Little Island Books

Rita agus an tEachtrán le Máire Zepf agus maisithe ag Mr Ando, foilsithe ag An tSnáthaid Mhór         

The Silver Road by Sinéad O'Hart, published by Picadily Press         

Grapefruit Moon by Shirley-Anne McMillan, published by Little Island Books

Wonders of the Wild written by Éanna Ní Lamhna and illustrated by Brian Fitzgerald, published by The O'Brien Press

Juniper's Christmas, written by Eoin Colfer and illustrated by Chaaya Prabhat, published by HarperCollins       

The Forgettables, written by Myles Dungan and illustrated by Alan Dunne, published by Gill Books

The KPMG Children’s Books Ireland Awards and Junior Juries programme are supported by the Arts Council/An Chomhairle Ealaíon and the Arts Council of Northern Ireland National Lottery Funding.