Students help choose KPMG Children’s Books Ireland Awards winners

Elaina Ryan, CEO of Children’s Books Ireland with Maria Flannery, KPMG Ireland Partner and Allanah O’Donoghue, fifth class student from Patrick's Girls National School, Limerick, winner of the Reading Hero Award. (Pic: Julien Behal)

There was local representation amongst the 32 Cork schools that participated in the national Junior Juries programme for this year’s KPMG Children’s Books Ireland Awards, with the winners announced at a ceremony in Dublin on Wednesday last week in partnership with International Literature Festival Dublin.

Pupils from Ballindangan Readers in Mitchelstown, along with Riverstown National School, Glanmire and St Colman’s Community College in Midleton took part, as the judging panel read a record 158 titles from Irish-born or Ireland-based writers and illustrators, the biggest year so far in the history of the awards. Pupils from 13 schools in Waterford participated and included local schools Cappoquin Primary School and  Liosmór Mochuda National School.

Through the KPMG Children’s Books Ireland Awards Junior Juries programme young people in schools, libraries and book clubs shadowed adult judges in reading, discussing and assessing the shortlisted books. 


A total prize-fund of €16,000 has been awarded to this year’s winners. The KPMG Book of the Year Award went to ‘Catfish Rolling’ by Clara Kumagai. The Honour Award for Fiction went to ‘Treacle Town’ by Brian Conaghan. The Honour Award for Illustration went to ‘Three Tasks for a Dragon’ illustrated by PJ Lynch.

‘Wider Than the Sea’ by Serena Molloy) was awarded the Eilís Dillon Award for best début children’s book. The Judges’ Special Award went to ‘The Hare Shaped Hole,’ written by John Dougherty and illustrated by Thomas Docherty. While the KPMG Junior Juries Award went to ‘The Hare Shaped Hole,’ written by John Dougherty and illustrated by Thomas Docherty.

Both Scoil Ailbhe, Kilmallock and Caherelly National School (Kilmallock) were amongst the 13 schools from Limerick involved, while 10 schools and libraries in Tipperary took part.

Speaking at the ceremony, Elaina Ryan, CEO of Children’s Books Ireland, said: “This year’s award winners showcase the outstanding quality and variety of contemporary Irish children’s literature. The fact that so many of the winners and shortlistees are débuts is remarkable – the awards are an opportunity for us to celebrate both emerging and established creators and to connect them with their audiences.

“Through our Junior Juries programme, we have seen the joy and excitement these shortlisted books have sparked in over 12,700 young readers across Ireland. Today, in front of an audience of 600 excited readers, we’re proud to recognise the talent and hard work of these extraordinary writers and illustrators whose work will no doubt be such a formative part of so many young readers’ childhoods.”