Waterstones Children’s Book Prize 2023: Shortlist Announced!

9 February, 2023

The shortlists for this year’s Waterstones Children’s Book Prize have been announced. First awarded in 2005, the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize highlights the best new and emerging talent in children’s writing and illustration.

There are three prize categories – Illustrated Books, Younger Readers and Older Readers. Each shortlist consists of six titles chosen by Waterstones booksellers.

Commenting on the shortlists, Florentyna Martin, Waterstones head of children’s, said: “Books have the magical power to aid personal development in safe, supportive spaces, whether readers are exploring on the page or visiting a bookshop.

“With the rise in mental health topics in children’s books, and studies showing the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and social media on young people’s wellbeing, it is notable that we see reflections on mental health and identity on the shortlists. Our booksellers have chosen a list of exceptional new writing that offers something for everyone.”

Congratulations to all the shortlisted authors and illustrators!

Cover shots of the six illustrated books shortlisted for the Waterstone's Children's Book Prize 2023

Illustrated Books

The Fairy Garden by Georgia Buckthorn, illustrated by Isabella Mazzanti (Ivy Kids Eco)

What Do You See When You Look at a Tree? by Emma Carlisle (Big Picture Press)

I Am NOT a Prince! by Rachael Davis, illustrated by Beatrix Hatcher (Orchard Books)

Gretel the Wonder Mammoth by Kim Hillyard (Ladybird)

The Station Cat by Stephen Hogtun (DK Children)

The Missing Piece by Jordan Stephens, illlustrated by Beth Suzanna (Bloomsbury Children’s Books)


Cover shots of the six Younger Readers titles shortlisted for the Waterstone's Children's Book Prize 2023

Younger Readers

The Book of Stolen Dreams by David Farr (Usborne Publishing)

Nora and the Immortal Palace by M. T. Khan (Walker Books)

Small! by Hannah Moffat, illustrated by Rory Walker (Everything with Words)

The Last Firefox by Lee Newbery, illustrated by Laura Catalán (Puffin)

Ajay and the Mumbai Sun by Varsha Shah, illustrated by Sonia Albert (Chicken House)

The Lizzie and Belle Mysteries: Drama and Danger by J. T. Williams, illustrated by Simone Douglas (Farshore)


Cover shots of the six Older Readers titles shortlisted for the Waterstone's Children's Book Prize 2023

Older Readers

All That’s Left In the World by Erik J. Brown (Holder Children’s Books)

Welcome to St. Hell: My Trans Teen Misadventure by Lewis Hancox (Scholastic)

The Cats We Meet Along the Way by Nadia Mikail (Guppy Books)

Ellie Pillai is Brown by Christine Pillainayagam (Faber & Faber)

If You Still Recognise Me by Cynthia So (Stripes Publishing)

Once Upon a Fever by Angharad Walker (Chicken House)

The winner of each category will be announced on 3oth March 2023. From these three category winners, one book will go on to be crowned the Waterstones Children’s Book of the Year.  Look out for our winner announcement.

Waterstones Children's Book Prize 2023 logo