And The Winner Is.... CBI Book of the Year Awards 2019

At a ceremony in Dublins' Smock Alley Theatre; as part of the Dublin International Literature Festival; a crowd gathered for the announcement of the winner(s) of this years' Childrens Books Ireland Book of the Year Awards. 
For the first time in its' 29 year history, one book received a hat-trick of awards, taking not only the Book of the Year Award (overall winner), but also the EilĂ­s Dillon Award for a debut childrens' book and (my favourite award) the Childrens' Choice Award. And that book is:
author: Kelly McCaughrain
Walker Books (published 1 March 2018)
ISBN: 9781406375657
(from my review on the teen page of this blog:)
A gentle, quirky romance/coming-of-age novel lends a fresh and unique eye to the world and culture of young adults. The clever use of circus life allows difference in personalities and viewpoints to be easily woven into what could have been an all to typical tale. Each character is well-drawn and precisely defined without over-burdening description and how they relate to each other, their actions and interactions ring true. While the story builds, there are some pacing issues. But these develop into a nice flow and rhythm that create a story that needs to be read. The closeness of the family, its' position in the community and its' struggles to maintain itself are in the background, but glimmer out through the plot so the reader understands and automatically consumes its' relevance. It blends in themes of diversity, acceptance and inclusiveness with seamless facility. This book stands apart. Witty and intelligent, heartrending and revealing, it is a joy to read. 

“Kelly McCaughrain’s achievement in winning three awards is unprecedented, and we feel especially validated that our adult judging panel chose the same overall winner as the Children’s Choice, which was voted for by over 260 groups of children and young people all over the island of Ireland.” said Elaina Ryan, director of CBI.
It is a truly genuine, unique and insightful book that covers a lot of ground in terms of the feelings and concerns that young people are dealing with. Truly engaging and a joy to read. The fact that it was chosen by the kids involved in the shadowing scheme for the Childrens' Choice Award speaks volumes.
My heartfelt congratulations go out to Kelly McCaughrain for this incredible achievement.
But wait....there's more:
The Honour Award for Fiction went to Brian Conaghan for: 
Bloomsbury YA (published 14 June 2018)
ISBN: 9781408871539
(again from the teen page on this blog)
Filled with tension, humanity and a delicate, but irrepressible humour, Conaghan has surpassed himself in giving us an uncomfortable, compelling and true read. A strong, genuine voice chronicles a period of time in the life of a young carer, letting us see the determination, loyalty and love that drives him while the weight and cost of it all wears him down. Bold and beautifully written, this novel brings the reader in such an intimate orbit of this world that we actually feel the circumstances and their effects as if they were our own. Each character does not so much develop, as they do appear fully formed, demanding an empathy, understanding and that they be heard. The story also begs a lot of questions from the reader; questions about trust, obligation, what it takes for us to be human, friendship, loyalty and the pervasiveness of love and loss. But, in spite of its' challenging and heart-rending circumstances, it is not a depressing or difficult read. The flow of the tale carries the reader through with real affection and marvelous vignettes that bring laughter and heart. This book is a master class in observation and emotion. Simply stunning.
And it really is stunning.
Congratulations, Brian, for this incredible book that it compelling and wondrous.
And finally, the Honour Award for Illustration went to Aga Grandowicz for:
author: Rob Maguire  illustrator: Aga Grandowicz
Little Island (20 September 2018)
ISBN: 9781910411940
Just one look at it will demonstrate why this is an award winner! Dr Hibernica Finch may be a fictional zoologist, but the marvellous animal that can be seen throughout Ireland certainly are not. The illustrations are exquisite, subtle and beautifully illustrate a vast array of wildlife. From the delicate dragonfly to the proud, strong and graceful stag, these illustrations do not miss out the accuracy normally found in photographs. Fish, fowl, amphibian and mammal life all could walk off the pages of this stunning book. One for the entire family to love and to share. It is simply amazing.
Congratulations, Aga! What a beautiful book and a very worthy win!

And a final congratulations to all those shortlisted for the CBI Book of the Year Awards 2019. You are all winners in my book!
Here's the link for the Irish Times article, if you want to know more:


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