2019 shortlist: Five wonderful books are in the running for this year’s £5,000 prize
The five children’s books in the running for Oscar’s Book Prize 2019 have been revealed.
It has been another record year for admissions, with 117 entries from publishers around the UK. From these a longlist of 15 books were chosen, with help from the Eveline Day Nursery in Wimbledon. This is the nursery that book-loving Oscar Ashton, to whom the prize is a tribute, attended before he died from a heart condition in December 2012.
This year’s judges, including Children’s Laureate Lauren Child and campaigner for women and children’s health Sarah Brown, helped to whittle the candidates down to five to compete for the £5,000 award. They were joined by Brigitte Ricou-Bellan, UK director of books at Amazon. As in previous years, Oscar’s parents Viveka Alvestrand and James Ashton also helped to judge the prize.
Stories about the power of self-belief, children’s mental health and even an infant criminal mastermind are represented on the shortlist.
Here is the 2019 shortlist and what the judges said about the books – in no particular order:
1. Almost Anything by Sophie Henn (Penguin)
“So many children are reticent about having a go at things, or they give up if they aren’t good straight away. I couldn’t think of anything else like it,” said Sarah Brown.
2. Ruby’s Worry by Tom Percival (Bloomsbury)
Brigitte Ricou-Bellan said that book has “beautiful illustrations and brings to life behaviours or ideas which are not easy to discuss.”
3. The Way Home for Wolf by Rachel Bright and Jim Field (Hachette Children’s)
Viveka Alvestrand said: “The illustrations transport you right inside the book. You are standing there with the Northern Lights in front of you – it is breathtaking. It conveys the wonder and awe of nature beautifully.”
4. How to be a Lion by Ed Vere (Penguin)
Lauren Child, author behind the Charlie and Lola and Clarice Bean series, said of the book: “Its author Ed Vere understands how to pace a story, tell it beautifully, make an important point about being true to yourself and loyal to your friends.” She added: “It doesn’t preach nor resort to sentimentality but yet a very clear point is made about how it is possible to deal with those who wish to bully and intimidate.”
5. Baby’s First Bank Heist by Jim Whalley and Stephen Collins (Bloomsbury)
James Ashton said: “It is a smart and sassy story with some laugh out moments and vibrant illustrations.”
The winning book will be announced by Oscar’s Book Prize Royal Patron, HRH Princess Beatrice, at a ceremony at the May Fair Hotel in London on 9 May. In addition to those involved with the shortlisted five books, the awards ceremony will host former winners, book charities, publishers and educators.
Oscar’s Book Prize is designed to celebrate a child’s love for magical stories and highlight the importance of parents and carers reading with their children in the early years. The prize is supported by the Evening Standard, Amazon and the National Literacy Trust.
50 sets of the shortlist for Oscar’s Book Prize 2019 up for grabs!
To celebrate the announcement of the shortlist, the first 50 nurseries or primary schools to email firstname.lastname@example.org will receive a complimentary set of the five books. To anyone entering, please don’t forget to include a contact name and address details for where the books should be sent to in the event you win.