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Bright launches new children’s book award

Bright have partnered with The Alligator’s Mouth independent bookshop to launch a new award for highly illustrated children’s fiction.

The Alligator’s Mouth Award will celebrate the best books published in the UK from the last year for readers aged 6-8, and champion authors and illustrators for highly illustrated children’s fiction.

Bright’s Director and Managing Agent Arabella Stein will be joining the judging panel, alongside renowned illustrator Axel Scheffler, Margaret Wallace-Jones and Tony West (co-owners of The Alligator’s Mouth), acclaimed poet Joseph Coelho, children’s literature expert Andrea Reece, and teacher and blogger Ben Cooper.

Outside The Alligator’s Mouth bookshop, left to right: Margaret Wallace-Jones, Tony West and Arabella Stein

The judging panel have shared their enthusiasm for The Alligator’s Mouth Award:

Arabella Stein:

‘We are absolutely delighted that Bright is partnering with The Alligator’s Mouth on such an exciting new award. We’re so thrilled to be supporting an award that celebrates such an important, and flourishing, area in the market. Highly illustrated fiction offers a wonderful format for storytelling which not only beautifully marries art and text, but also acts as a crucial bridge in children’s reading journey as they progress from picture books to fiction.’

Axel Scheffler:

‘I welcome this new prize aimed at young readers and celebrating books that might have slipped the attention of other prizes. My knowledge of children’s books (apart from the ones I have illustrated) has been greatly enhanced in the last 10 years as I have been reading to and with my daughter. I feel very honoured to be a judge for this prize which will be awarded by my local children’s book shop.’

Margaret Wallace-Jones and Tony West:

‘Lifelong readers are made between the ages of 6-8. Lately there has been a wonderful flowering of entertaining, highly illustrated books for this age group. Our favourites sell brilliantly for us and we know that they make children into readers because parents, teachers and children tell us so. Recent examples are Dave Pigeon by Swapna Haddow and Sheena Dempsey, The Cat and the King by Nick Sharratt, Swashbuckle Lil by Elli Woollard, Mango and Bambang by Polly Faber and Clara Vulliamy, and Knighthood for Beginners by Elys Dolan. We love these books, would like to see more, and want to celebrate the valuable contribution these authors and illustrators make to developing a nation of thoughtful readers.’

Some of Margaret and Tony’s favourite highly illustrated titles for children.

Andrea Reece:

‘I am delighted to be a judge for the new Alligator’s Mouth Award. Often a first chapter book is the one that makes a child a reader, by allowing them to read on their own, by letting them discover for themselves that world of adventure and imagination. Some of the best, most inventive children’s books are being written for this age group and it’s exciting to see the resurgence in illustrated younger fiction over the last couple of years. It’s great to have this new award to acknowledge the talent of the authors and illustrators creating these very special works of literature.’

To enter the awards, publishers are invited to submit short illustrated children’s books which have been published between September 2017 and September 2018. Submissions will open in September 2018 and close in November 2018. The shortlist will be announced in April 2019, and the winner will be announced in June 2019. Further details on how to submit will be released over the summer.

You can find all the details regarding The Alligator’s Mouth Award here


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