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.

Photo of Junior Judge Sarah Fitzgerald with books
Sarah Fitzgerald, Young Judge for the KPMG Children's Books Ireland Awards 2021

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.

The KPMG Children's Books Ireland Awards Junior Juries' Programme is ideal for class groups, book clubs or reading groups and even groups of friends. Group leaders are invited to sign up to take part in the 2022 Junior Juries’ Programme now by filling in a survey. Some lucky Junior Juries will receive free copies of the shortlisted titles or even an event with a shortlisted author or illustrator!

Frequently Asked Questions

Juries are a unique programme for schools, libraries and book clubs, designed to encourage reading for pleasure and appreciation for a wide variety of books. Participating classes and book clubs make their own selection of suitable titles from the KPMG Children’s Books Ireland Awards shortlist, which is announced in March. Using a specially devised activity pack, each group can engage with their chosen books by taking part in quizzes, debates, discussions, research projects, creative writing and visual art activities which will enhance their reading experience. At the end of the process each group is asked to collectively score the books they have read. Children’s Books Ireland collates these scores to determine the winner of the Junior Juries’ Award, formerly the Children’s Choice Award, which is presented at the official prize-giving ceremony in May.

The Junior Juries are suitable for all ages from 0–18. The books featured on the shortlist can range from picturebooks to young adult novels. However, given the ‘pick-and-mix’ structure of the scheme, it is possible to select a range of titles to suit your students’ or book club members’ age, linguistic ability and reading level. We have had baby and toddler book clubs take part, and on the upper end, groups of older teenagers through school or local book clubs. There is no need for a group to read every book on the shortlist, unless they wish to do so.

Participation in Junior Juries is completely free and includes an activity pack, bookmarks, a poster and phone/email support from Children’s Books Ireland (printed or digital available on request at sign up). Groups will need to source the books themselves; many groups involved in the scheme work in partnership with their local public library service and borrow the books. 25% discount is available for Junior Juries when purchasing from International Education Services. Schools in need which meet certain criteria can apply to receive the shortlisted books and a virtual or in-person event with a shortlisted author or illustrator and a set of age-appropriate shortlisted books. (4th to 6th class in the Republic of Ireland or Primary 6 and 7 in Northern Ireland).

Children’s Books Ireland cannot provide all juries with the shortlisted books. We suggest getting in touch with your local library to see which of the books you can borrow (ebooks, audiobooks and physical books), or sharing reading copies within the group in accordance with government health guidelines. However, with thanks to the Arts Council of Northern Ireland and Ecclesiastical, through their Movement for Good Awards, we do have funding to purchase books for a limited number of schools across the island who demonstrate a need. Please indicate this on the registration form. Please note that this is not a cash grant and there are limited numbers of books available.

No, you do not have to read all the books on the shortlist. Not every book will be suitable for all age groups, and we recognise that there is limited time between the announcement of the shortlist on March 9th and the deadline for Junior Juries’ votes which is May 10th, 2022. We will provide guidelines in the free Junior Juries’ activity pack in relation to any issues that may be raised in books for older children and teenagers, but we do recommend reading the book yourself if you have any concern about sharing it. We do encourage all groups to read the picturebooks that may feature on the shortlist: these are not just for toddlers; older readers can get a lot out of them, too! One of the goals of the Junior Juries is for children and young people to develop their critical thinking and debating skills, so even if a book seems ‘too young’, it can be read by an older child or teenager.

There are lots of different methods to choose from. The method you choose should reflect what will work best for your group:

  • • Prescriptive – Facilitator chooses all the books
  • • Child-led – Each participant has a turn to choose a book for the group to read
  • • Popular vote – The facilitator chooses a number of suitable titles and the group makes the final selection from these

The shortlist will be announced on March 9th, 2022. We will email all Junior Juries the list of shortlisted titles, and the activity packs will also be delivered after that.

No, any group can take part. Many juries are school-based, and these can be whole classes, smaller book clubs or reading groups, or paired reading groups i.e. older children facilitating younger children. Other groups include book clubs based in bookshops or libraries, or hosted by parents/guardians in their own homes. There is no minimum or maximum number of readers for a Junior Jury.

A scoring or ballot sheet is included in your Junior Juries pack. It is helpful to make a copy of this for every juror in the group so they can score the books they read as they go along. We ask for each juror to score each book they’ve read out of 100. The group leader then collates the scores, finds the average score for each book read and sends these back to Children’s Books Ireland by May 10th, 2022.

Opportunities for support and ways to engage with the Junior Juries’ scheme:

1: Shortlisted author or illustrator events and books:

Would your group like to apply for a virtual or in-person event with a shortlisted author or illustrator between March 9th and May 27th, 2022? Schools and groups can access Children’s Books Ireland event guidelines, to follow best practice.

2: Junior Juries video:

Children’s Books Ireland wants to hear from Junior Juries all over the island. Record your group reviewing the books or discussing what they think and email it to awards@childrensbooksireland.ie. Your video could be included in our awards ceremony as part of International Literature Festival Dublin and made available to view online. You can see the young readers who took part in last year’s digital awards ceremony here. You can view Children’s Books Ireland’s Child Safeguarding Statement and our Child Protection Policy and Procedures here.

3: Shortlist announcement event:

Junior Juries and young readers all over the island can tune into the shortlist announcement online as part of Belfast Children’s Festival and learn about the shortlisted titles in real time. The event will be shared online on March 9th.

4: Awards announcement ceremony:

Junior Juries and young readers all over the island can also tune into the awards ceremony, shared live online as part of International Literature Festival Dublin in late May. We want to see as many Junior Juries as possible celebrating the award winners in real time. Keep an eye on our social media and your emails with more information about tuning in!

5: KPMG Reading Hero Award:

As a group leader, would you like to nominate a young reader taking part in this scheme? All over the island of Ireland are extraordinary individuals whose interest in books and reading outside of the awards is remarkable. They may be voracious readers, or may have completed their first book, overcoming learning or language difficulties to do so. The KPMG Reading Hero may have inspired their peers to get involved or may have made extraordinary efforts to engage with the activities set by their group leader. They may not be the best student or the fastest reader, but their efforts will merit reward, and we want to hear, and share, their story.

The closing date for nominations to be received is April 27th, 2022. The KMPG Reading Hero Award will be awarded at the ceremony in May.  If you are active on social media, you can use the hashtag #ReadingHeroes to share your reading journey.

Important Dates:

  • Friday March 4th Closing date for registering your Junior Jury
  • Wednesday March 9th KPMG Children’s Books Ireland Awards Shortlist announced online, Junior Juries begin!
  • Wednesday April 27th KPMG Reading Hero Award nomination deadline (nominations returned to Children’s Books Ireland)
  • Tuesday May 10th Junior Juries’ vote deadline (votes returned to Children’s Books Ireland)
  • Late May date TBC KPMG Children’s Books Ireland Awards Ceremony