The KPMG Children’s Books Ireland Awards

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Identifying, honouring and promote excellence in books for young people by Irish authors and illustrators.

The KPMG Children’s Books Ireland Awards (formerly the CBI Book of the Year Awards/Bisto Awards) are the leading annual children’s book awards in Ireland offering a total prize fund of €16,000 across six awards. The awards are made annually by Children’s Books Ireland and have been in operation since 1990. The KPMG Children’s Books Ireland Awards identify, honour and promote excellence in books for young people by Irish authors and illustrators. The KPMG Children’s Books Ireland Awards Policy can be found here. 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 the following awards are made:

The Book of the Year Award

Honour Award for Fiction

Honour Award for Illustration

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

The Judges’ Special Award

The Junior Juries’ Award

The awards are made annually by Children’s Books Ireland to authors and illustrators who were born in Ireland, are permanently resident in Ireland or are citizens of Ireland and are open to books written in Irish or English. The shortlist for the awards is announced annually in March and the winners are announced in May. 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 Junior Juries’ scheme (formerly the CBI Shadowing Scheme) in order to decide the winner of the Junior Juries’ Award.


Selection process

The Judging Panel reviews all eligible titles and examine them according to the criteria for the award. The shortlist of up to 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*.

*in accordance with Government guidelines in 2021

Junior Juries

Established in 2005, the Junior Juries’ (formerly the CBI Shadowing Scheme) is a unique programme for schools, libraries and book clubs, 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 KPMG Children’s Books Ireland 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 Junior Juries’ to attend the official winners’ ceremony in May and to announce the Junior Juries’ Award.


Junior Juries’ are ideal for class groups, book clubs or reading groups and even groups of friends. The signup for print materials has now passed but you can still sign up your Junior Juries group to avail of a digital booklet, click here to sign up.


The shortlisted titles for the KPMG Children’s Books Ireland Awards 2021 are:

  • Hope against Hope written by Sheena Wilkinson 
  • Míp written by MáireZepf and illustrated by Paddy Donnelly
  • Savage Her Reply written by Deirdre Sullivan and illustrated by Karen Vaughan
  • The Boldness of Betty written by Anna Carey 
  • The Falling in Love Montage written by Ciara Smyth 
  • The Haunted Lake written and illustrated by P.J. Lynch
  •  The Monsters of Rookhaven written by Pádraig Kenny illustrated by Edward Bettison
  •  Why the Moon Travels written by Oein DeBhairduin illustrated by Leanne McDonagh 

To learn more about these titles click here.



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