Ten titles are competing for the Children’s Books Ireland Awards. The shortlist includes four books published by independent Irish publishers, three written in Irish, and three verse novels.
There are books for all ages, including picture books and young-adult novels.
The winners of the competition, sponsored by KPMG, will be announced on May 19.
The judges read 98 books submitted by publishers. Groups of children and young people will decide the winner of the Junior Juries Award.
As well as the top prize there are awards for fiction and illustration, the judges’ special award and the Eilís Dillon award for a first children’s book.
Children’s Books Ireland chief executive Elaina Ryan said it is celebrating the 30th year of the awards and the quality of the shortlist is as high as ever.
Previous winners include Kelly McCaughrain for Flying Tips for Flightless Birds; Deirdre Sullivan and Karen Vaughan for Tangleweed and Brine; and Sarah Crossan for One.
For younger readers, The Hug is a story of two creatures in need of a hug — a tortoise with a hard shell and a hedgehog with prickly pins.
For older readers, Nóinín is a gripping verse novel that depicts the online grooming of a shy teenage girl and the slow build-up to a shocking crime, with rich imagery, poetic language, and references to Irish myth lending resonance to a modern tale of the dangers of social media.
The awards are open to authors and illustrators, with books published between January 1 and December 31 each year, who were born in Ireland, are permanently resident in the country or are Irish citizens.
The shortlisted titles are:
All The Bad Apples — Moïra Fowley-Doyle
Madame Badobedah — written by Sophie Dahl and illustrated by Lauren O’Hara
Mór agus Muilc — based on a traditional tale told by John Óg Hiúdaí Neidí Ó Colla and illustrated by Kim Sharkey
Nóinín — Máire Zepf
The Deepest Breath — Meg Grehan
The Hug — written by Eoin McLaughlin and illustrated by Polly Dunbar
The Tide — written by Clare Helen Welsh and illustrated by Ashling Lindsay
The Star-Spun Web — Sinéad O’Hart
Toffee — Sarah Crossan
Scúnc agus Smúirín — written by Muireann Ní Chíobháin and illustrated by Paddy Donnelly