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Children's Literature: Prizes and Awards

A Library Services Subject Guide


There are many prizes and awards for children's literature. The books shortlisted for such awards are of the highest quality and reading them is a good way to increase your knowledge of children's books in general.  Prize lists are also a good place to start if you want to find out about books published in previous decades, and achievement awards for authors and illustrators are useful in identifying the highly-regarded authors and illustrators, both national and international. 

Our Favourites

The Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals are awarded by CILIP and judged by librarians. The Carnegie Medal (established in 1937) is for excellence in writing, and the Kate Greenaway Medal (established in 1952) for excellence in illustration. Often described by authors and illustrators as "the one they want to win", they are the gold standard in literature and illustration for children and young people. We have a complete collection of all the Carnegie Medal and Kate Greenaway Medal winners in the Library.

The Children’s Book Award (previously the Red House Children’s Book Award) is the only national book award voted for entirely by children. Founded in 1980 by the FCBG’s Pat Thomson to celebrate books that children themselves love reading, it has three age categories and an overall winner. The winners are normally announced in February and past recipients have included J.K. Rowling, Patrick Ness, Andy Stanton, Malorie Blackman, Anthony Horowitz and Oliver Jeffers.

The UKLA Children's Book Award is the only national book award judged by teachers. Founded in 2008 to encourage teachers to increase their professional and personal knowledge of high quality children's books, enhance literacy teaching and promote reading for pleasure in the classroom, there are three age categories. The award is announced each July at the UKLA conference.

The Children's Laureate

The UK's current Children's Laureate is illustrator Cressida Cowell. 

Cressida will hold the title until 2022 and is the 11th person to receive the honour, which is awarded every two years to an eminent writer or illustrator of children's books to celebrate outstanding achievement in their field.

The idea for the Children's Laureate originated from a conversation between (the then) Poet Laureate Ted Hughes and children's writer Michael Morpurgo (himself an Honorary Graduate of BGU). Children’s Laureates often take the opportunity to promote a particular theme in children's literature.

Previous winners: