The 2018 Children’s Books Ireland Award is given to books published in 2017. There were some outstanding titles last year for all ages, from Rabbit and Bear for young readers of five plus (Julian McGough and Jim Field), to Sarah Crossan’s searing YA novel in verse, Moonlight.
Every year I predict the titles that will be on the shortlist and the overall winner. This year I have a book in the mix, A Sailor Went to Sea, Sea, Sea, illustrated by the hugely talented Steve McCarthy. Obviously I’d love it to be shortlisted. I believe Steve’s illustrations are outstanding and if it is shortlisted we will both be over the moon. Let's wait and see!
The shortlist will be announced on the 12th March and the awards are on 23rd March (tbc).
So here goes – my predictions for the CBI Awards 2018:
1/ The President’s Glasses by Peter Donnolly
A wonderfully funny tale about what happens when the president of Ireland forgets his glasses. Striking illustrations in luscious colour.
2/ Here We Are by Oliver Jeffers
A heartfelt ode to the world for his new baby son. Glorious illustrations in a more painterly style. A treat for the eye.
3/ Owl Bat Bat Owl by Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick
A thought-provoking and witty wordless picturebook about a family of bats and a family of owls. Can they ever get along?
4/ Rabbit and Bear: The Pest in the Nest by Julian Gough, illustrated by Jim Field
I am a huge fan of Rabbit and Bear – what brilliant characters. Funny and thoughtful, a super book for reading aloud.
5/ Illegal by Eoin Colfer and Andrew Donkin, illustrated by Giovanni Rigano
Moving graphic novel about two refugee brothers who are making their way from North Africa to Europe by boat. Not to be missed.
6/ Hopscotch in the Sky by Lucinda Jacobs, illustrated by Lauren O’Neill
Moving and thought-provoking poems for children about subjects that fascinate children. A brilliant collection from one of our most important children’s poets. (Disclaimer – I worked with Lucinda at the early stages of this book.)
7/ Pavee and the Buffer Girl by Siobhan Down, illustrated by Emma Shoard
Graphic novel about a traveller girl. Siobhan write it before she died and her writing as always is lyrical and powerful.
8/ A Dangerous Crossing by Jane Mitchell POSSIBLE OVERALL WINNER
Excellent novel about a refugee boy from Kobani, Syria. Strong and powerful.
9/ Star by Star by Sheena Wilkinson
Suffragette tale by one of our most talented writers.
10/ Moonrise by Sarah Crossan POSSIBLE OVERALL WINNER
Powerful novel in verse about death row that deserves to be read.
11/ The Space Between by Meg Grehan
Debut novel in verse about an Irish teenager with mental health problems. Brave and moving.
12/ Tangleweed and Brine by Deirdre Sullivan
Lyrical, sinuous writing make these feminist retellings of fairy tales leap off the page. Not to be missed.
Other outstanding books from 2017 that might make the shortlist
Like Other Girls by Claire Hennessy
Claire is an outstanding YA writer and this book about gender politics and identity pulls you in from the first page.
The Girl in Between by Sarah Carroll
Debut about a homeless girl and her mother from a writer to watch.
Stand by Me by Judi Curtin
Judi’s books are beautifully written and are much loved by readers. This one goes back time to the 1960s.
Knights of the Borrowed Dark: The Forever Court by Dave Rudden
Brilliant fantasy adventure with heart.
The Lotterys Plus One by Emma Donoghue
A tale of a family with two dads, two moms and seven children.
Good luck everyone!