We are delighted to announce the four books that have been shortlisted for the first Derby Book Festival Children’s Picture Book Award, which aims to celebrate picture books that children can relate to and in which the diversity and challenges of modern life are represented.  A group of 12 Derby primary school teachers volunteered to select the books from the original longlist of nine.

Two of the shortlisted books are published by Little Tiger Press:  The Girls by Lauren Ace, illustrated by Jenny Løvlie and The Only Way is Badger by Stella J Jones, illustrated by Carmen Saldaña.  The other two books are Ruby’s Worry by Tom Percival, published by Bloomsbury, and Nimesh the Adventurer by Ranjit Singh, illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini, published by Lantana.

The winner will be decided by school children in Years 2 and 3 from six schools across the city, who will vote for their favourite.  Five copies of each book will be provided to the schools, thanks to the sponsorship of local businesswoman, Deborah Fern.  The Award is being run as a pilot in 2019 but it is planned to roll it out to schools across the city in 2020.

Di Smith, who came up with the idea for the Award and who has organised the Festival’s Education programme for the last five years, said: “The Award has really excited teachers in the city and we were overwhelmed by the number who volunteered to help with the shortlisting and give up a Saturday to do it.  Their in-depth consideration of the books, the issues raised by them and their understanding of how the children will react to them was fascinating to listen to and we feel sure that we will have a very worthy and inspiring winner of this year’s first Award.”

Liz Fothergill, Chair of Derby Book Festival said: “We have four beautifully illustrated, thought-provoking and moving picture books which will both inspire a child and help them to understand the issues and challenges of today’s modern world.  We have always aimed to have a book festival which brings Derby’s residents together in a love of books and inspires a new generation of readers to appreciate the joy that books and reading bring to our lives.  The Award goes a long way to help us achieve this.”

We will announce the winner on 1 May and the winning author and illustrator will be invited to Derby to meet the children during the summer term.

Derby Book Festival

29 May – 6 June 2020

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Derby Book Festival is a Charitable Incorporated Organisation registered with the Charity Commission for England & Wales Number 1159763