Goodnight Everyone, a charming tale about a little bear trying to stay awake as night falls, is Ireland’s best children’s book.
Picture credit: Chris Haughton, winner of the 27th CBI book of the year award, with pupils from Scoil San Carlo, Leixlip, and King’s Hospital School, Palmerstown, at Smock Alley Theatre, Dublin. Picture: Sasko Lazarov
Irish picture-book maker Chris Haughton won the 27th Children’s Book Ireland Book of the Year award as well as the award for illustration.
Judges said the Dublin-born illustrator’s use of cut-outs was particularly effective and the star maps added “a mystic dimension” to the captivating story.
“Chris Haughton’s vibrant illustrations combine perfectly with deceptively simple narrative in this mesmerising bedtime tale,” said the judges.
It is Mr Haughton’s fourth book and he always tries to simplify and reduce the words to communicate to the youngest children.
The London-based artist uses colour to draw attention to what he wants readers to observe.
“What I am most excited about with this book is that it is told through actions which would be acted out rather than read, so I would hope a small child can understand without any language at all,” he said.
The winner of the Children’s Choice award went to Peadar Ó Guilín for his young-adult novel The Call, a story about Irish children who are hunted by bad faery folk.
The carnivorous Sídhe are magical beings who were, in a distant past, banished from Ireland to live in a hellish netherworld.
Seeking revenge, the Sídhe kidnap Ireland’s youth via the Call, the dreaded, unexpected moment when an adolescent disappears from Earth to land in a dreamlike, horrific underworld.
Judges said the story, which follows the travails of a number of teenagers, does not flinch from exploring the price of survival.
The Children’s Choice award is chosen by shadowing groups who read and judged the 10 shortlisted titles and voted for their favourite.
The Eilís Dillon award for a first children’s book was won by Belfast man Paul Gamble for The Ministry of Strange, Unusual and Impossible Things.
“Get ready for a rollercoaster of zaniness, adventure, and hilarity! This debut novel by Paul Gamble skilfully juxtaposes the fantastical, thoughtful, comic, and mundane,” said the judges.
The relentlessly curious Jack, on a mission to find his missing friend, is recruited into the secret Ministry of Strange and Unusual and Impossible Things (Ministry of SUITS) which deals with all the weird creatures and objects in the world.
“Enhanced by witty footnotes and explanatory subsections, this deliciously imaginative and immersive novel is a joy to read,” said the judges.
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