Children’s literature awards

children's literature awards

Why should teachers follow children’s literature awards, prizes and shortlists?

Following a selection of established annual children’s literature awards, medals and prizes is a good way to decide which books to pick when purchasing new book stock for your school library, or which new books to buy for your children. Book award shortlists are also ideal for generating discussion and talking points in book clubs, encouraging reading for pleasure and finding suitable authors to book for school visits. Keeping track of books nominated for awards is also an informed method for teachers in primary and secondary schools to ensure that they always have lists of recently published titles to suggest to parents who ask for new reading recommendations.

Leading UK Children’s Literature Awards

  • Awesome Book Awards – awarded to the “new fiction authors for young readers aged between 7 and 10”, and chosen by pupils across the South East.
  • Berkshire Book Award – “The Award is for books written for 11-14-year-olds and participation is open to all young teens living or studying in Berkshire.”
  • Blue Peter Book Awards – The Blue Peter Book Awards, affiliated with the iconic children’s television show, commend outstanding children’s literature in two categories, recognizing captivating storytelling and exceptional non-fiction that inspires young readers.
  • Branford Boase Award – “for an outstanding first novel to a first-time writer of a book for young people.”
  • British Book Awards (Nibbies) – includes categories for children’s fiction, children’s illustrated and non-fiction, and audiobooks.
  • CLiPPA – The CLPE Poetry Award – an award for poetry published for children. There’s a well-developed shadowing program for schools and a shadowing competition where schools are invited to send their performances of poetry on the current shortlist.
  • Costa Children’s Book Award – (2022, no longer running.)
  • Coventry Inspiration Book Awards – awarded to books for children and young people aged 4 to 18. Includes five categories, each containing eight books: What’s the Story, Telling Tales, Hooked on Books, Simply the Book & Rapid Reads.
  • Cybils – Children’s and Young Adult Bloggers Literary Awards.
  • The Doncaster Illustrator and Author Prize – the Doncaster Illustrator and Author Prize shortlist is compiled by pupils from local schools who read and discussed some of their favourite new releases.
  • English Association Prizes – including the English 4-11 Picture Book Awards and the Margaret Mallett Award for Children’s Non-Fiction.
  • Excelsior Award – “the only nationwide book award for graphic novels and manga – where kids aged 11-18 decide the winner.”
  • FCBG Children’s Book Award – Organised by the Federation of Children’s Book Groups, this prestigious award celebrates the best in children’s literature, with categories spanning various age groups to honour books that captivate and engage young readers across different stages of development.
  • Grampian Children’s Book Award – a book award for pupils in S1-S3 to promote literacy, reading for pleasure, and a love of books.
  • Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize – ran between 1967 and 2016. The shortlists are still a good source of reading for pleasure ideas.
  • Hans Christian Andersen Awards – Named after the acclaimed Danish author, the Hans Christian Andersen Awards recognize outstanding contributions to children’s literature globally, honouring authors and illustrators whose work continues Andersen’s legacy of storytelling that transcends cultural boundaries.
  • Inclusive Books for Children awards  – for new babies and toddler, picture books and children’s fiction books that include ethnic minority, disabled, neurodiverse or LGBTQIA+ characters.
  • Indie Book Awards – these awards feature categories for children’s fiction and picture books judged by panels of independent booksellers.
  • Information Book Award – Administered by the School Library Association (SLA), the Information Book Award highlights excellence in non-fiction literature for children, acknowledging books that provide informative and engaging content, and fostering a love for learning and exploration.
  • James Cropper Wainwright Prize – The James Cropper Wainwright Prize celebrates outstanding contributions to nature writing, recognising authors who skilfully illuminate the beauty and significance of the natural world in their works, fostering a deeper connection between literature and the environment.
  • Juniper Book Awards – “designed to improve literacy, facilitate debate and encourage reading for pleasure among pupils at upper Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 3“. A useful book award to follow, schools can take part by reviewing the books and voting for their favourite from the shortlisted titles. Highly recommended for middle schools, book clubs in years 7&8 and more able upper primary children.
  • Kelpies Prize for Writing – “launched in 2004 to find the best new Scottish writing for children.”
  • Klaus Flugge Prize – for “the year’s best new picture book“.
  • Lancashire Book of the Year – The best 12-14 age group books, “voted for by Year 9 students in high schools around the county.”
  • Little Rebels Award – this award “celebrates children’s fiction which challenges stereotypes, promotes social justice and advocates for a more peaceful and fairer world“.
  • Lollies  – (Laugh Out Loud book awards). Lollies (Laugh Out Loud Book Awards) brings joy to young readers by honouring the funniest books in children’s literature, promoting the importance of humour in fostering a love for reading.
  • National Book Awards (Books Are My Bag Reader Awards, run by the National Book Tokens)
  • National Book Awards Children’s Book of the Year – archived (no longer running).
  • NE Book Awards  – including the NEBA “to enthuse their younger readers in Years 7 and 8” and NETBA to “engage and challenge” YA readers.
  • Nero Book Awards – launched in 2023 an expert panel of judges celebrates “outstanding writing by great authors living in the UK and Ireland“. Includes a Children’s Fiction category.
  • Nottingham Children’s Book Award – “to foster a love of books and reading … children vote for their favourite.”
  • Oscar’s Book Prize –
  • Redbridge Children’s Book Awards – including the Children’s Book Award “for school students aged 10 to 12 years old” and the Teenage Book Award “for school students aged 13 to 16 years old”.
  • Roald Dahl Funny Prize – The Roald Dahl Funny Prize pays homage to the comedic genius of Roald Dahl, celebrating books that bring laughter and delight to young readers through humorously crafted narratives.
  • Salford Children’s Book Award – selected by pupils in Salford secondary schools.
  • Scholastic Graphic Novel Prize – ‘celebrates the UK and Ireland’s favourite graphic novels’ and ‘will celebrate the fantastic depth and breadth of titles within the genre as well as the authors and artists that create them.’
  • Scottish Teenage Book Prize – run by the Scottish Book Trust, this award is a great source of new fiction ideas for KS3 and KS4 school libraries.
  • Sheffield Children’s Book Award – “launched in 1988 to encourage children and young people to read.” The winners are selected by Sheffield school children via libraries and local schools.
  • Shropshire Bookfest Book Awards – The Shropshire Bookfest Book Awards offers recognition to exceptional children’s literature, encouraging a culture of reading and literary appreciation among young audiences in Shropshire.
  • Southern Schools Book Award – Teachers, librarians and students select the best YA fiction books (targeted at Year 9) published that year.
  • Southwark Book Awards – chosen by secondary school pupils in Southwark.
  • Spark Children’s Book Awards – Spark Children’s Book Awards shines a spotlight on outstanding children’s books, particularly those from diverse communities which appeal to reluctant readers, acknowledging the literary achievements that captivate young minds and ignite a passion for reading.
  • Cumbria County Council runs the Spellbinding Book Awards, with two categories – Spellbinding Primary and Spellbinding Secondary. The winning books are chosen by pupils who go to school in Cumbria. With lots of videos, features and resources, this is a great award for KS2 and KS3 book clubs to follow.
  • Stockport Children’s Book Awards – “celebrate new children’s fiction and increase parents, teachers and school librarians’ awareness of quality new children’s fiction.” There are three categories: ‘best picture book’ for EYFS/KS1, ‘best read for juniors’ in LKS2, and ‘best read for Juniors’ in UKS2.
  • Stockton Children’s Book of the Year (SCBY) – this children’s literature award is aimed at “pupils in Years 5 and 6 … to demonstrate the pleasure of reading and literature.”
  • Staffordshire’s Young Teen Fiction Book Award – aimed at pupils in KS3 aged 11-14.
  • The Adrien Prize – The Adrien Prize is a literary accolade that recognises excellence in literature, providing a platform for authors whose works contribute significantly to the world of storytelling.
  • The Alligator’s Mouth Awardfor illustrated early fiction. The Alligator’s Mouth Award is dedicated to illustrating early fiction, acknowledging the creative synergy between engaging storytelling and captivating illustrations that make early reading a delightful experience.
  • The Bookbug Picture Book Prize – The Bookbug Picture Book Prize fosters a love for reading in the early years by celebrating picture books that enchant and engage young readers, promoting the joy of storytelling.
  • The Diverse Book Awards – The Diverse Book Awards champions diversity in literature, honouring books that authentically represent diverse perspectives and voices, contributing to a more inclusive and enriching reading experience.
  • Tir na n-Og Awards – one of the most established and well-respected awards for children’s literature in Wales. There are three categories: “Welsh-language Primary (ages 4-11)”, “Welsh-language Secondary (ages 11-18)”, and “Best English-language book with an authentic Welsh background for primary or secondary age children (4-18)”.
  • UKLA Book Awards – The UKLA Book Awards recognize outstanding contributions to children’s literature, emphasizing the importance of literature in enhancing literacy skills and nurturing a lifelong love for reading.
  • Wales Book of the Year – run by Literature Wales, this award features English and Welsh language shortlists and includes a children’s and young people award.
  • Waterstones Children’s Book Prize – The Waterstones Children’s Book Prize celebrates exceptional writing and storytelling in children’s literature, acknowledging authors and illustrators who captivate readers with their creativity and imagination.
  • Waterstones Children’s Laureate – The Waterstones Children’s Laureate is a prestigious honour bestowed upon an exceptional author or illustrator, recognizing their significant contribution to children’s literature and their commitment to inspiring young readers.
  • YA Book Prize – ‘launched in 2014 to celebrate great books for teenagers and young adults’.
  • Young People’s Book Prize – run by the Royal Society, “to promote literacy in young people and to inspire them to read about science.”
  • Yoto Carnegies (formerly Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals) – also includes a shadowing scheme and resources for schools. Carnegie shortlists can be purchased from our website.
  • Young Quills Award – run by the Historical Association, this is an award “to recognise good historical fiction writing” and shortlists novels aimed at both primary-aged pupils and secondary-aged pupils. Highly recommended for KS3 libraries.

Worldwide children’s literature awards and shortlists

  • Alex Awards – The Alex Awards recognize outstanding books written for adults that have special appeal to young adults, bridging the gap between adult and YA literature.
  • Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award Website – The Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award Website celebrates young adult literature, honouring exceptional books that authentically capture the experiences and voices of teenagers.
  • Ann Connor Brimer Book Award – The Ann Connor Brimer Book Award acknowledges outstanding Canadian literature for children and young adults, promoting the richness of Canadian storytelling.
  • Andre Norton Award for YA Science Fiction – The Andre Norton Award for YA Science Fiction recognizes outstanding young adult science fiction and fantasy works, honouring the legacy of acclaimed author Andre Norton.
  • Aurealis Awards – The Aurealis Awards celebrate the best in Australian speculative fiction across various categories, including science fiction, fantasy, and horror.
  • Australian Children’s Laureate – The Australian Children’s Laureate program appoints a prominent Australian author or illustrator to advocate for children’s literature and promote a love of reading.
  • Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards – The Boston Globe–Horn Book Awards highlight excellence in children’s and young adult literature, acknowledging outstanding writing and illustration.
  • California Young Reader Medal – The California Young Reader Medal encourages recreational reading among young people by recognizing outstanding literature in various categories.
  • Canadian Library Association Book of the Year for Children Award – The Canadian Library Association Book of the Year for Children Award honours the best in Canadian children’s literature, celebrating the diversity and creativity of Canadian authors.
  • Charlotte Zolotow Award  – The Charlotte Zolotow Award recognizes picture books with outstanding writing that effectively addresses the needs and interests of young children.
  • Children’s Book Council of Australia Awards – The Children’s Book Council of Australia Awards celebrate excellence in Australian children’s literature across various categories, including picture books, novels, and information books.
  • Children’s Books Ireland Awards – the leading children’s literature awards in Ireland. Includes categories for books of the year, fiction, illustration, first children’s book, special award and juries award.
  • Children’s Literature Association Phoenix Award – The Children’s Literature Association Phoenix Award honours books of high literary quality that have been overlooked by contemporary readers.
  • Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children’s Book Award – The Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children’s Book Award recognizes outstanding literature for young readers, promoting a love of reading in Vermont.
  • Dromkeen Medal – The Dromkeen Medal acknowledges outstanding contributions to the world of children’s literature, celebrating individuals who have significantly enriched the lives of young readers.
  • Gelett Burgess Awards – The Gelett Burgess Awards celebrate excellence in children’s literature, recognizing books that entertain and educate young readers.
  • Golden Kite Awards – The Golden Kite Awards honour excellence in children’s literature, recognizing outstanding writing and illustrating in various categories.
  • Jane Addams Children’s Book Award – The Jane Addams Children’s Book Award acknowledges books that promote peace, social justice, and international understanding for young readers.
  • Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal – The Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal honours an author or illustrator whose books have made a substantial and lasting contribution to children’s literature.
  • Marsh Award for Children’s Literature in Translation – The Marsh Award for Children’s Literature in Translation recognizes the exceptional translation of children’s literature into English.
  • Massachusetts Children’s Book Award – The Massachusetts Children’s Book Award encourages reading for pleasure among the youth by recognizing outstanding children’s books.
  • National Book Awards (National Book Foundation, USA) – The National Book Awards by the National Book Foundation in the USA celebrate outstanding literary achievements across various genres, including young people’s literature.
  • Newbery Medal – The Newbery Medal is one of the most prestigious awards in children’s literature, honouring the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.
  • New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards – The New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards celebrate excellence in New Zealand children’s literature across various categories.
  • Notable Books for Children, by ALSC. Notable Books for Children, by ALSC, curated by the Association for Library Service to Children, highlights the best in children’s literature each year.
  • NSK Neustadt Prize for Children’s Literature – The NSK Neustadt Prize for Children’s Literature recognizes outstanding contributions to children’s literature and is awarded by the University of Oklahoma.
  • Parent’s Choice Awards – The Parent’s Choice Awards, though closed in 2022, historically recognised the best in children’s media and toys, including books.
  • SIBA Children’s Book Award – The SIBA Children’s Book Award acknowledges outstanding children’s literature in the Southern United States.
  • Sydney Taylor Book Award – The Sydney Taylor Book Award recognizes exceptional books portraying the Jewish experience for young readers.
  • The E.B. White Read Aloud Awards – The E.B. White Read Aloud Awards celebrate books that embody the qualities of E.B. White’s writing, encouraging reading aloud as a shared activity.
  • The Golden Baobab African Children’s Literature Award – The Golden Baobab African Children’s Literature Award recognizes outstanding children’s literature from Africa, promoting diverse narratives for young readers.
  • YRCA [Young Reader’s Choice Awards] – The YRCA (Young Reader’s Choice Awards) empower young readers by allowing them to vote for their favourite books across various categories.

This page of children’s literature awards was last updated on Jul 3, 2024 @ 6:54 pm.

Have we missed something?

If there’s an award that you think should be featured on this page, let us know using the contact form on our website, and we’ll have a look!

If you found this page useful, you might also want to look at our list of children’s writing competitions, our rundown of the CILIP Carnegie Medal 2021 shortlisted books, and our recommended children’s and YA literature blogs to follow.

About Tom Tolkien

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Tom Tolkien is a highly qualified (BA Hons, PGCE, QTS) children's literature expert and teacher with over 25 years of experience. He has led inset courses, developed curriculum materials, spoken at conferences, advised on longlisting for several international children's literature literature awards and written for educational publishers including contributing to a BETT award-nominated app. Social profiles: Twitter | Linkedin

This resource was last updated on July 3rd, 2024 and first published in 2012.