Toppsta - Childrens Books – Reviews

Children's Book Awards 2021: Shortlists and Winners


I get my book recommendations from many different sources - Toppsta reviewers, friends of my children, parents, teachers (particularly on Twitter), librarians and more but I'm always intrigued to see which children's books win awards (and who judges them too). All too easy we default to the known authors like David Walliams or Julia Donaldson but there are thousands of award-winning books to try. 

Here's a list of the key children's book awards in the UK with links to shortlists and winners.

Children's Book Awards 2021: Shortlists and Winners
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An annual award to recognise the enjoyment of reading judged by a panel of expert across the industry. Costa Book Awards Website.

2020 Costa Book Award Winner

The 2020 Costa Children's Book award was won by Voyage of the Sparrowhawk - Natasha Farrant

The overall winner of the Costa Book Awards will be announced on 26th January 2021.

Dates for the 2021 awards are TBC

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The CILIP Carnegie Medal is awarded annually by CILIP for an outstanding book written in English for children and young people. The CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal is awarded annually by CILIP for a book with exceptional illustrations.

Books are nominated by CILIP members plus external bodies such as Booktrust, CLPE, National Literacy Trust and more. After nominations are published, each book is read by every member of the judging panel − 14 children's and youth librarians representing all regions of CILIP's Youth Libraries Group. From these nominations the judging panel will decide the long and shortlists and finally, the 2020 Medal winners, based on the official medals criteria. 

2020 CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Winners

2020 CILIP Carnegie Medal: Lark by Anthony McGowan

2020 Kate Greenaway Medal: Tales from the Inner City by Shaun Tan

2021 Key Dates

Longlist announcement - 18 February 2021

Shortlist announcement - 18 March 2021

Winners announcement - 16 June 2021

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The British Book Awards (aka The Nibbies) is the most important awards for the trade and has been running since 1990. Alongside traditional categories such as fiction and non-fiction there are also awards for best bookshop, best publisher and more. Since 2019, Children's Book of the Year prize has been split into two for Fiction and Non-Fiction/Illustrated. 

2020 British Book Awards Winners

British Book Awards Children's Fiction Book of the Year was A Good Girl's Guide to Murdeby Holly Jackson.

British Book Awards Children's Illustrated/ Non-Fiction Book of the Year was The Smeds and The Smoods by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Axel Scheffler.

2021 Key Dates

Shortlist announcement - 19th March 2021

Winners announcement - 13th May 2021

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This is the only national award voted solely by children. Members of the Federation of Children's Book Groups vote on the longlist and then any children can vote on the shortlist. There are three categories: Books for Younger Children, Books for Younger Readers and Books for Older Readers. FCBG Website.

2020 FCBG Children's Book Award Winners

2020 Overall Winner: D-Day Dog by Tom Palmer

Book for Younger Children: The Runaway Pea by Kjartan Poskitt and Alex Willmore

Book for Younger Readers: Mutant Zombies Cursed My School Trip, by Matt Brown, illustrated by Paco Sordo

Book for Older Readers:On the Come Up by Angie Thomas

Dates for the 2021 awards are TBC

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The Blue Peter Awards are an annual celebration of the best authors, the most creative illustrators and the greatest reads for children. The 2020 Blue Peter Awards judges Meryl Fernandes, Joseph Coelho and Jean Menzies, will choose the shortlist and then children read the titles and vote for their favourites. 

2021 Awards Key Dates

Shortlist Announced - 5th November 2020

Winners Announcement - 4th March 2021

2020 Blue Peter Awards Winners

Blue Peter Best Story: Wildspark by Vashti Hardy

Blue Peter Best Book with Facts: Rise Up: Ordinary Kids With Extraordinary Stories by Amanda Li and Amy Blackwell

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The Waterstones Children's Book Prize is an annual award, voted for by Waterstones booksellers and divided into three categories: Illustrated Books, Younger Fiction and Older Fiction. The Waterstones Children's Book Prize Website.

2020 Waterstones Children's Book Prize Winners

Best Illustrated Book and the Overall Waterstones Children's Book Award: Look Up by Nathan Bryon, illustrated by Dapo Adeola

Best Book for Younger Readers: High Rise Mystery by Sharna Jackson

Best Book for Older Readers: Bearmouth by Liz Hyder

Dates for the 2021 awards are TBC

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Three separate awards determined by age group, created to celebrate the very funniest and most engaging books in children’s fiction. A panel of experts vote on the Longlist and then children can vote on the shortlist. The panel was chaired by Michael Rosen in 2020.

2020 Lollies Winners

Announced on 6th February 2020.

Best Laugh Out Loud Picture Book: Ten Fat Sausages by Michelle Robinson and Tor Freeman

Best Laugh Out Loud Book for 6-8s: The World's Worst Children 3 by David Walliams, illustrated by Tony Ross

Best Laugh Out Loud Book for 9-13s: I Bet I Can Make you Laugh by Joshua Seigal and Friends, illustrated by Tom Wesson

2021 Lollies Key Dates

April 2020 - Shortlist announcement

Early 2021 - Winners Announced

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An annual award for an outstanding first novel to a first time writer of a book for young people. Judged by a team of industry experts.

2020 Branford Boase Winner

The winner of the 2020 Branford Boase award was Bearmouth by Liz Hyder

Dates for the 2021 awards are TBC

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Now in its seventh year, the Sainsbury's Children's Book Awards (run with Booktrust) aims to celebrate some of the best titles in children's publishing. Winners are chosen by a panel of experts.

2020 Sainsbury's Children's Book Awards Winners

Activity Book: Draw With Rob by Rob Biddulph

Baby and Toddler: Don't Tickle the Dinosaur by Sam Taplin, illustrated by Ana Martin Larranaga

Favourite Characters:Oi See it! Say it! by Kes Gray, illustrated by Jim Field

Fiction: Anisha, Accidental Detective by Serena Patel, illustrated by Emma McCann

Learning & Development: Do You Love Bugs? by Matt Robertson

Picture Book:Mabel and the Mountain by Kim Hillyard

Children's Classic: Where's Spot by Eric Hill

Dates for the 2021 awards are TBC

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Famous independent bookseller Foyles chooses its Books of the Year in three categories: fiction, non-fiction and children's. The books are chosen through a combination of Foyles bestsellers, staff vote and reader response.

2020 Foyles Children's Book of the Year

The winner of the 2020 Foyles Children's Book of the Year was The Wolf's Secret by Nicolas Digard & Myriam Dahman, illustrated by Julia Sarda Portabella

Dates for the 2021 awards are TBC

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The little rebels children's book award

The Little Rebels Children’s Book Award is a prize for radical fiction aimed at children aged 0-12. 

The award is given by the Alliance of Radical Booksellers and was established in conjunction with Letterbox Library.

2020 Little Rebels Award

The winner of the 2020 Little Rebels Children's Book Award was The Boy Who Loved Everyone by Jane Porter and Maisie Paradise Shearring

Dates for the 2021 awards are TBC

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Annual award to the best young adult book written by an author living in the UK or Ireland. Judged by a panel of industry experts.

2020 YA Book Prize Winner

The winner of the 2020 YA Book Prize was Meat Market by Juno Dawson

Dates for the 2021 awards are TBC

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The Royal society young people's book prize

The Young People's Book Prize aims to promote literacy in young people and to inspire them to read about science. It also supports the writing of excellent, accessible STEM books for under-14s. 

The winner is selected by judging panels made up of young people at schools across the country from a shortlist curated by an adult judging panel. 

2020 Shortlist

Astrophysics for Young People in a Hurry by Neil Degrasse Tyson

Cats React to Science Facts by Izzi Howell

The Everyday Journeys of Ordinary Things by Libby Deutsch & Valpuri Kerttula

Gut Garden by Katie Brosnan

In the Key of Code by Aimee Lucido

How to Win a Nobel Prize by by Prof. Barry Marshall & Bernard Caleo

Dates for the 2021 awards are TBC


Now in their 11th year these awards set out to increase teachers knowledge of newly published books which they can share with pupils. These are the only awards judged entirely by teachers.

2020 UKLA Book Award Winners

3-6 category winner: Mixed by Arree Chung

7-10+ category winner: The Eleventh Trade by Alyssa Hollingsworth

11-14+ category winner: No Fixed Address by Susan Nielsen

Information books category winner: Counting on Katherine by Helaine Becker, illustrated by Dow Phumirak

Key Dates for 2021

Shortlist announcement: March

Winner announcement: July  

Children's Book Awards 2021: Shortlists and Winners


Established in 1995, this award celebrates picture books for all ages. The winners are selected by the Editorial Board of English 4–11, the journal for primary teachers published jointly by The English Association and the United Kingdom Literacy Association (UKLA), from a shortlist selected by a panel of teachers and their students, and primary specialists. 

The winning books celebrate the unique partnership of picture and text and showcase books where words and images are of equal importance.

2020 English Picture Book Awards Winners

Non-Fiction 4-7 years: A Million Dots - Sven Völker 

Fiction 4-7 years: The Suitcase - Chris Naylor-Ballesteros 

Non-Fiction 7-11 years: Rise Up! Ordinary Kids with Extraordinary Stories - Amanda Li & Amy Blackwell

Fiction 7-11 years: Through the Wall -Jonathan Standing 

Dates for the 2021 awards are TBC

Children's Book Awards 2021: Shortlists and Winners

Tir Na n-og awards

The Tir Na N-Og awards are organised annually by the Books Council of Wales and celebrate both Welsh language books and children's books with an authentic Welsh background.

2020 Tir Na N-Og Award Winners

The winner of the 2020 Tir Na N-Og English Language award was Storm Hound by Claire Fayers

Dates for the 2021 awards are TBC

Children's Book Awards 2021: Shortlists and Winners
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The Klaus Flugge Prize is, awarded to the most promising and exciting newcomer to children’s picture book illustration. It honours publisher Klaus Flugge, a supremely influential figure in picture books who, over his long career nurtured many top illustrators including David McKee, Tony Ross, Ruth Brown, Satoshi Kitamura and Chris Riddell.

2020 Klaus Flugge Winner

When Sadness Comes to Call by Eva Eland

Key Dates for 2021

Longlist Announcement: 16 February

Shortlist Announcement: 19 May 

gandys children's travel book of the year

The Gandys Children's Travel Book award is part of the Edward Stanford Travel Writing Awards celebrating the best travel writing.

2020 Gandys Children's Travel Book of the Year

The 2020 winner was Fire Girl, Forest Boy by Chloe Daykin

Dates for the 2021 awards are TBC

Children's Book Awards 2021: Shortlists and Winners

15th January 2021

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