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Alligator's Mouth Award longlist announced

last updated 20 March 2019

Bright and The Alligator’s Mouth reveal the longlist for their new children’s book award at The London Book Fair

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

We were delighted to reveal the longlist for the first year of The Alligator’s Mouth Award at The London Book Fair last week. Bright Director Arabella Stein, Margaret Wallace-Jones and Tony West of The Alligator’s Mouth bookshop, and Nigel Wyman from Gardners joined to celebrate the announcement at the fair and share the ten brilliant longlisted titles.

And what a superb longlist it is! The eclectic mix of books feature lots of humour, with slapstick comedy, madcap plots and humorous characters, alongside other prominent themes including friendship, the natural world, fantasy, and diversity.

title At The London Book Fair, left to right: Arabella Stein, Tony West, Margaret Wallace-Jones and Nigel Wyman.

We have been delighted by the response for the new children’s book award, with so many fantastic submissions from publishers; coverage in trade publications The Bookseller and BookBrunch; and support from book wholesalers Gardners who are offering independent bookshops across the UK a 50-60% discount on all ten longlisted titles throughout March, April and May.

title Coverage of the longlist announcement in The Bookseller Daily at The London Book Fair

The judging panel for the award includes renowned children’s illustrator Axel Scheffler, children’s poet Joseph Coelho, children’s literature expert Andrea Reece, teacher and blogger Ben Cooper, Margaret Wallace-Jones, Tony West and Arabella Stein.

Founders of the award commented on the reaction to the longlist and the judging process so far:

Arabella Stein:

“The response to the longlist announcement has been terrific and seeing the children’s book industry get behind the award with such enthusiasm. The quality of submissions we had to select from was outstanding; our longlist features ten stand-out titles, all of which marry great storytelling with fun, engaging illustrations. I very much look forward to sharing the shortlist announcement in May.”

Tony West and Margaret Wallace-Jones:

“We have been delighted by the range and quality of submissions for the award and we’ve hugely enjoyed discovering new authors and illustrators. Every book on the longlist has earned its place and will help children become readers. We look forward to a lively discussion about the shortlist.”

The full longlist for The Alligator’s Mouth Award 2019:

Dave Pigeon (Racer!) written by Swapna Haddow and illustrated by Sheena Dempsey (Faber & Faber)

Knights and Bikes written by Gabrielle Kent and illustrated by Rex Crowle & Luke Newell (Knights of)

Lyttle Lies: The Stinky Truth written and illustrated by Joe Berger (Simon & Schuster)

Mr Penguin and the Fortress of Secrets written and illustrated by Alex T. Smith (Hachette Children’s Books)

Nice Work for the Cat and the King written and illustrated by Nick Sharratt (Alison Green Books, Scholastic Children’s Books)

Nothing to See Here Hotel written by Steven Butler and illustrated by Steven Lenton (Simon & Schuster)

Rabbit and Bear: Attack of the Snack written by Julian Gough and illustrated by Jim Field (Hachette Children’s Books)

Sam Wu is NOT Afraid of Sharks! written by Katie & Kevin Tsang and illustrated by Nathan Reed (Egmont)

The Legend of Kevin written by Philip Reeve and illustrated by Sarah McIntyre (Oxford University Press)

Trouble in New York: The Travels of Ermine (who is very determined) written by Jennifer Gray and illustrated by Elisa Paganelli (Usborne Children’s Books)


The shortlist will be announced on Wednesday 8th May and the winning book will be announced at an award ceremony in London on Thursday 13th June.

Keep up to date with the award at and on Twitter by following #AlligatorsAward.

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