The KPMG Children's Books Ireland Awards
The KPMG Children's Books Ireland Awards are the leading annual children's book awards in Ireland. Established in 1990, these awards identify, honour and promote excellence in books for young people by Irish authors and illustrators. KPMG have been headline sponsor of the awards since 2020, allowing for a total prize fund of €16,000.
The KPMG Children's Books Ireland Awards are the most prestigious of their kind in Ireland. The awards provide a significant opportunity for national and international recognition of Irish children's authors and illustrators. Excellence in children's books is the over-arching criterion and the following awards are made:
- The KPMG Children's Books Ireland 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
Additionally, the Reading Hero Award is presented to a young reader, recognising their potential and celebrating their remarkable passion for books.
Frequently Asked Questions
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 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.
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 and includes a reader aged 15+ as a Young Judge. Young readers from around the country take part in the Junior Juries' programme in order to decide the winner of the Junior Juries' Award.
The judging panel reviews all eligible titles and examine them according to the criteria for the award.
- Literary/artistic – an excellent children’s book is extremely well conceived, structured and written or illustrated (or both).
- Respect – an excellent children's book appeals to an audience of children or young people, without patronising or exploiting that audience.
- Engagement – an excellent children's book entertains and engages the sustained interest of its intended readers.
- Experience – an excellent children's book offers its readers a stimulating and satisfying aesthetic, imaginative, intellectual or emotional experience that goes beyond the banal and the obvious, and develops or challenges the reader’s inner life, sense of self, or understanding of and engagement with the world.
While design and production will be given due consideration, such issues will not weigh substantially against a book that is otherwise outstanding, especially in the case of a book that is not illustrated.
From the June before the awards are announced, book publishers are invited to submit titles for consideration, provided all eligibility criteria are met:
- Books must be a first edition, published between 1 January and 31 December of the previous year, i.e. books to be considered for 2022 awards must be published between 1 January and 31 December 2021, and must be submitted by the stated deadline in order to be considered.
- Books may be published in Ireland or abroad.
- Authors or illustrators must be born or permanently resident in Ireland or holders of Irish citizenship. To qualify, authors or illustrators must hold a current valid Irish passport or be able to demonstrate full-time residency or citizenship.
- Books must be written for children or young people, i.e. for readers up to eighteen years of age.
- Books must be currently widely available in bookshops in Ireland and available for purchase by the general public. Details of distribution must be completed on the entry form.
- Books must meet basic professional standards of publishing and printing. Editing must be professional with conventions of spelling and grammar upheld. All titles must have a valid ISBN number.
- Books may be in English or Irish.
- Books may be fiction, non-fiction or poetry.
- Books by a deceased creator will be deemed eligible if published within five years of the death of the artist. These details must be provided on the entry form.
- Books written as part of a series or published in serial format will be judged as separate entities which must be able to stand alone as a complete work in their own right. Each must have an independent structure and not rely on the reader having knowledge of other parts of the series.
- Academic textbooks, translations and re-issues are not eligible. However, a new iteration of a previously judged text will be eligible if a living Irish creator is involved e.g. graphic novelisation of a book by an Irish author.
- Anthologies are eligible at the discretion of the Judging Panel, provided they are primarily of Irish content, i.e. editor, contributors etc.
- Note 1: These awards are for literary and artistic excellence; publishers should only submit books they deem to be outstanding in this regard.
- Note 2: Children's Books Ireland reserves the right to include or exclude any titles for the awards.
- Note 3: Children's Books Ireland reserves the right to ask the publisher for supplementary information to determine eligibility.
- Note 4: Children's Books Ireland is not in a position to return books to the publisher.
Publishers must complete an entry form for each title submitted. Entry forms will be issued to publishers when a first callout is made by Children's Books Ireland in June of the year preceding the awards.
All sections of the form must be completed and accompanied by fifteen copies of each book.
Publishers are encouraged to submit books as early as possible after the callout to ensure that the judges have sufficient reading time. Books must reach an address nominated by Children's Books Ireland no later than the specified date – September 30th of the year preceding the awards announcement.
Late or incomplete submissions will not be accepted.
For additional information, please reference the Awards Policy found at the bottom of this page.
If you have a specific query about submitting a title that is not covered by these guidelines please contact Jenny Murray, Deputy CEO firstname.lastname@example.org
An Slipéar Ghloine, an Irish language retelling of the famous Cinderella fairytale, written by debut children’s author Fearghas Mac Lochlainn and illustrated by Paddy Donnelly (Futa Fata).
The Boy Who Lost His Spark, an atmospheric long-form picture book, written by award-winning author Maggie O'Farrell, and illustrated by Daniela Jaglenka Terrazzini (Walker Books).
One & Everything, a thought-provoking celebration of stories and written languages, written and illustrated by Sam Winston (Walker Books).
Be Wild, Little One, an uplifting picture book which explores the beauty of nature, written by debut author Olivia Hope and illustrated by Daniel Egnéus (Bloomsbury Children's Books).
The Wilderness, a colourful adventure tale of bravery and friendship, written and illustrated by Steve McCarthy (Walker Books).
Girls Who Slay Monsters, a collection putting strong female characters back at the heart of Ireland's ancient myths and legends, written by debut author Ellen Ryan, illustrated by Shona Shirley Macdonald (HarperCollins Ireland).
Run for Your Life, a moving and empathetic telling of a young girl's experience of seeking asylum in Ireland, written by Jane Mitchell (Little Island Books).
The Lost Girl King, a sophisticated fantasy tale which puts a twist on the myths of Tír na nÓg, written by Catherine Doyle (Bloomsbury Children's Books).
The Book of Secrets, a unique supernatural page-turner drawing on traditional Irish folklore, from debut author Alex Dunne (The O'Brien Press).
Truth Be Told, a young adult novel which explores family secrets, religious differences and suppressed sexuality, written by Derry-based writer and peace-worker, Sue Divin (Macmillan Children's Books).
Junior Juries' Programme
The KPMG Children's Books Ireland Awards Junior Juries' Programme is a unique activity 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. Young readers ‘shadow’ the adult judges of the book awards panel in reading, discussing and assessing the shortlisted books each year.
These awards have been presented annually by Children's Books Ireland since 1990. Known as the Bisto Book of the Year Awards until 2011, the awards were named the Children's Book Ireland Book of the Year Awards until 2020 when a new title sponsor saw the name change to the KPMG Children's Books Ireland Awards.