The CBI Book of the Year Awards 2012 (Gradaim Leabhair na Biana CBI 2012)
Last month saw the announcement of the shortlist for the annual awards for excellence in children’s books. The Children’s Books Ireland Awards (formerly the Bisto Awards) have been running for twenty-two years and have highlighted a wealth of talent in that time. This year is certain to be no exception judging by the very impressive shortlist of nine titles. Perennial favourites Roddy Doyle and Oliver Jeffers have made the cut and Siobhán Parkinson has clocked up two nominations (one book in Irish and one in English). Here is the complete list:
A Greyhound of a Girl by Roddy Doyle
Bruised by Siobhán Parkinson
Into the Grey by Celine Kiernan
Maitriόisce by Siobhán Parkinson
My Dad is Ten Years Old and it’s Pure Weird by Mark O’Sullivan
Ó Chrann Go Grann by Caitriona Hastings (illustrated by Andrew Whitson)
Stuck by Oliver Jeffers
The Butterfly Heart by Paula Leyden
Will Gallows and the Snake-Bellied Troll by Derek Keilty
The prestigious awards, the winners of which will be announced in May, were designed to honour excellence in illustrating as well as writing in children’s literature. The awards are open to anyone born or generally resident in Ireland for work in the Irish or English language. There are six prize categories, which will be judged by a panel of seven judges, guided by Keith O’Sullivan as the Chairperson. The selectors will have no easy task ahead of them if O’Sullivan’s comments are anything to go by. He has commented on the quality of the nominated titles saying,
This year’s shortlist features nine excellent books which all offer young readers a rich and satisfying experience. With subjects which range from difficult contemporary issues to stories of whimsy and fun, each book is beautifully crafted and brilliantly conceived.
The nine titles on the shortlist have been whittled down from a whopping seventy titles, so some hard decisions have obviously been made already. There are separate awards for fiction and illustration as well as an overall Book of the Year Award and The Special Judges Award. New authors are eligible for the Eilís Dillon Award for a First Children’s Book. Eagerly anticipated no doubt, will be the winner of The Children’s Choice Award, which is chosen by ten junior juries from around the country. I am sure that this is the prize that the writers and illustrators would most like to win, as it is a vote from the young readers themselves.
Children’s Books Ireland also run an interesting shadowing scheme that enables participating school groups to read and votes on the books alongside the actual judging process. Their results will be announced after the official awards are given in May. Schools can apply for information packs through the web site. One of the great things about these awards is that children can become involved rather than merely sit on the sidelines. It is just one more way to encourage the next generation of avid readers.
May the best author win!