close
Share with your friends

KPMG has long championed the cause of literacy. We’re therefore delighted to partner with Children’s Books Ireland as the new title sponsor of the KPMG Children’s Book of the Year Awards 2020. We look back at previous winners.

Sales of children’s young adult and educational books reached their highest year on record here in 2019, with 4.6 million books sold, according to a Nielsen report published last year. This represents an increase of 3.9 per cent, with €45 million spent – up 6.5 per cent on the previous year.

Some are calling it a ‘golden age’ for children’s authors, not just in Ireland but also in the UK. This increase in the popularity of the genre shows that, despite an increase in the use of technology amongst young people, they’re also reading. This is good not just for children, but for society as whole. Studies show a direct correlation between literacy and success in life. People with good literacy skills are more likely to have better health, live longer and earn higher incomes. (OECD, Skills Outlook, 2013).

Now in their 30th year, the Children’s Books Ireland Awards recognise excellence in writing and illustration, in Irish or English. They’re open to authors and illustrators who were born in Ireland, are permanently resident in Ireland, or who are Irish citizens. This year, the prize money has been doubled. It includes a €6,000 prize for the Children’s Book of the Year and a €2,000 prize for all other categories.

“Most of us can remember our favourite books as children, because they had a big effect on us at the time,” says Karina Howley, Head of Corporate Citizenship at KPMG.

“Reading, as numerous studies round the world, have proven, is extremely important in a child’s development and has a direct effect on the rest of their life. At KPMG we’re aware of the transformative power of education and as a result, we’ve long championed the cause of literacy. We’re very pleased therefore to see a surge in popularity in children’s books and delighted to be part of a movement that seeks to promote reading.”

At KPMG we’re aware of the transformative power of education and as a result, we’ve long championed the cause of literacy.

Karina Howley, Head of Corporate Citizenship

“Most of us can remember our favourite books as children, because they had a big effect on us at the time,” says Karina Howley, Head of Corporate Citizenship at KPMG.

“Reading, as numerous studies round the world, have proven, is extremely important in a child’s development and has a direct effect on the rest of their life. At KPMG we’re aware of the transformative power of education and as a result, we’ve long championed the cause of literacy. We’re very pleased therefore to see a surge in popularity in children’s books and delighted to be part of a movement that seeks to promote reading.”

Elaina Ryan, CEO of Children's Books Ireland says reading is both a cost-effective and accessible past time for children, helped by the fact that Irish libraries have been modernised in recent years.

She points out that part of Children’s Books Ireland’s role is to guide families and children towards books of exceptional quality that will be keep their attention.

“Our Junior Juries scheme is one of a number of ways that teachers, librarians and book club leaders can find fresh ways to excite children about reading and discover new books that will delight young readers of all ages,” she adds.

The awards

An extra award has also been added this year– the ‘Reading Hero’- which aims to involve young readers around the country. The other awards are: ‘The Book of the Year Award’, ‘The Honour Award for Fiction’, ‘The Honour Award for Illustration’, ‘The Eilís Dillon Award’ (for a first children’s book), ‘The Judges Special Award’, and ‘The Junior Juries Award’, the winner of which is chosen by hundreds of Junior Juries, composed of young readers all over Ireland.

Previous winners have included Sarah Crossan for One, John Boyne for The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas; Sheena Wilkinson for Grounded, Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick for There and Hagwitch and Oliver Jeffers for Once upon an Alphabet. One author – Kelly McCaughrain walked away with three of the seven awards last year for her first published book.

Books

Children's Book Awards 2019 – The Winners

Flying Tips for Flightless Birds

Flying Tips for Flightless Birds

Award

The CBI Book of the Year Award, The Eilís Dillon Award for a first Children’s Book, The Children’s Choice Award (now ‘The Junior Juries Award’)

Author

Kelly McCaughrain

What’s it about?

Last year, for the first time ever, the same book won not one but three awards. Flying Tips for Flightless Birds is about two trapeze artists in a circus who also happen to be twins - Finch and Birdie Franconi. When Birdie suffers a life-altering accident, Finch teams up with a geeky new kid, Hector Hazzard, to form an all-boys double act and save the family circus school. Together they navigate typical teenage problems, the demands of friends and family and all important - first love. 

The Weight of a Thousand Feathers

The Weight of a Thousand Feathers

Award

Honour Award for Fiction 

Author

Brian Conaghan

What’s it about?

Penned by award-winning author Brian Conaghan, The Weight of a Thousand Feathers, follows the fate of 17-year-old Bobby Seed who’s not only looking after his terminally ill mother, but attempting to raise his younger brother, finish school and develop a relationship with a girl. The book is narrated by Bobby in a convincing, authentic and a very human voice that clearly appeals to young people.

‘This is a brave, masterful and powerful look at the lengths to which we’ll go for someone we truly love,’ said critics. 

Dr. Hibernica Finch’s Compelling Compendium of Irish Animals

Dr. Hibernica Finch’s Compelling Compendium of Irish Animals

Award

Honour Award for Illustration

Author

Aga Grandowicz

What’s it about?

Dr Hibernica Finch’s Compelling Compendium of Irish Animals won an award last year for illustration. It’s full of sensitively drawn images of Irish animals such as the fox, the hedgehog and red squirrel for example, and this, along with its quirky, playful tone, contributes to its unique appeal. The animals are introduced to the reader by Dr Hibernica, a fictitious Irish zoologist who travels the country, noting facts about Irish wildlife. Presented in the form of field notes, it makes for fascinating reading. 

The Great Irish Weather Book

The Great Irish Weather Book

Award

Judges’ Special Award

Author

Joanna Donnelly and Fuchsia MacAree

What’s it about?

The Great Irish Weather Book proved extremely popular with children in Ireland last year. The Children’s Books Ireland judges were also clearly impressed, awarding it the Judges Special Award. From satellites to storms, clouds to climate change and Hurricane Ophelia to the Beast from the East, Irish weather phenomena of all kinds are explained by meteorologist Joanna Donnelly, while Fuchsia MacAree’s illustrations are colourful and lively. Colourful, easy-read and playful in tone, it’s also highly informative.    

Books

Get Involved

Has your school, library group or book club registered to become part of Junior Juries?

The KPMG Children's Books Ireland Awards Junior Juries are designed to encourage children and young people to read widely and to engage with reading in an innovative and exciting way. Some Juries will also get a chance to attend the KPMG Children's Books Ireland Awards in 20 May 2020 and to announce the Junior Juries’ Award.

Register today on the CBI website.

Get involved

Further information