My Predictions for the 2012 Children's Books Ireland ('Bisto') Award Shortlist
Last year was a good year for children’s books written and illustrated by Irish authors and illustrators (the award is given to books published in 2011), with some exciting new names joining established ones. There were less 'Irish' picture books published last year (after a stellar year in 2010 – culminating in Chris Haughton’s win for A Bit Lost), but it was a strong year for teen novels, with Ger Meade’s Flick a notable debut. Ger has six young children, so the fact that she’s writing at all astounds me!
This list is my own personal opinion, and it’s just for fun. Let’s see how many I get ‘right’! The actual shortlist will be announced on 20th March.
1/ A Greyhound of a Girl by Roddy Doyle – my prediction for overall winner One of my favourite books of the year – lyrical and touching, with fantastic characters.
2/ Spirit of the Titanic by Nicola Pierce – my prediction for the Eilís Dillon Award (or Ger Meade’s Flick – depending on the judges’ tastes) – a very strong historical novel about a young boy and the Titanic. May also get the Children’s Choice Award.
3/ Marshall Armstrong is New to This School by David Mackintosh – Honour Award for Illustration – my favourite picture book of the year – it deserves the overall award and I’d love to see it win. The dark horse of the awards!
4/ Bruised by Siobhan Parkinson – Honour Award for Fiction – a beautifully written teen novel.
5/ Flick by Ger Meade – possible Eilís Dillon Award or Special Judges' Award – full of drama and emotion, it’s impossible not to be impressed by this debut novel.
6/ My Dad is Ten by Mark O’Sullivan – another strong, gritty teen novel.
7/ Stuck by Oliver Jeffers – it’s Oliver, what more can I say?
8/ No One But You Illustrated by P J Lynch – stunning illustrations from one of Ireland’s finest artists.
9/ Maitriosce by Siobhan Parkinson – I haven’t read this one but I believe it’s great and there tends to be at least one book in Irish on the shortlist. Or Dordán, which my friend, Liz says is the best book she's read all year in any language!
10/ The Lonely Beast by Chris Judge (another possible contender for the Eilís Dillon) – another new talent on the Irish picture book scene. Winner of the Irish Book Awards (Junior Section) last year.
Also might be shortlisted:
The Horse Girl by Mary Finn – Beautifully written historical fiction. Into the Grey by Celine Kiernan – A ghost story so unnerving I have to admit I didn’t finish it! Arthur Quinn and the World Serpent by Alan Early - A good action adventure story, with 1 or 2 cracking scenes towards the end. The Butterfly Heart by Paula Leyden – Beautifully written story set in Africa. Sally Go Round the Stars Illustrated by Steve McCarthy – A book of Irish and international nursery rhymes that I compiled it with Claire Ranson. The illustrations are mighty! Steve deserves a nomination but he’s up against some tough competition.
Deserve to be shortlisted but will probably not be shortlisted: Palace of the Damned by Darren Shan – one of his best yet – wonderful sense of place and vivid, muscular writing. I would love to see Darren on the shortlist one day. Skulduggery Pleasant Death Bringer by Derek Landy – funny, smart and BIG. Eva’s Holiday by Judi Curtin – again, one of her best yet – warm and engaging.
For more on the Award see here.