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The Alligators Mouth Award Shortlist 2023

last updated 01 June 2023


Five books have been shortlisted for The Alligator’s Mouth Award 2023, which champions both authors and illustrators of highly illustrated children’s fiction. Now celebrating its fifth year, the children’s book prize created by The Alligator’s Mouth children’s bookshop and The Bright Agency, celebrates the best books for 6-8-year-olds.

The shortlist was selected by a judging panel of children’s book experts, including author-illustrator Pippa Curnick, winner of the 2022 award with Indigo Wilde and the Creatures at Jellybean Crescent (Hodder Children’s Books); who commented: “Being a part of the judging team for this fantastic award was such an honour. There were so many outstanding books to choose from, and each had their own unique brilliance that made them special. The shortlist has some real gems, and I’m sure each and every one will be loved by children and adults alike.”

The full shortlist for The Alligator’s Mouth Award 2023:


Marv and the Pool of Peril written by Alex Falase-Koya, illustrated by Paula Bowles, published by Oxford University Press.


Mike Falls Up written by Candy Gourlay, illustrated by Carles Ballesteros, published by Little Tiger.


Princess Minna: The Enchanted Forest written by Kirsty Applebaum and illustrated by Sahar Haghgoo, published by Nosy Crow.


Rex: Dinosaur in Disguise written by Elys Dolan, illustrated by Elys Dolan, published by Walker Books.


Rudy and the Wolf Club written by Paul Westmoreland and illustrated by George Ermos, published by Oxford University Press.

As well as Pippa Curnick, the shortlist was selected by judges; Children’s author Nizrana Farook; primary school teacher and children’s book consultant ‘The Reader Teacher’ Scott Evans; and co-owners of The Alligator’s Mouth children’s bookshop, Margaret Wallace-Jones and Tony West.

Tony West and Margaret Wallace-Jones of The Alligator’s Mouth said: “This is our fifth year celebrating exciting and funny illustrated fiction that helps children become confident readers. The Alligator’s Mouth Award continues to highlight the excellent publishers, authors and illustrators who create these brilliant books, which should be in all school libraries far and wide. We hope you enjoy our 2023 longlist.”

Books wholesaler Gardners returns as an official partner of the award and are offering a 20% discount on all ten longlisted titles for a limited time.

This year the award is also working with Fun Kids, the UK’s only National radio station for 6-12 years old, and Coram Beanstalk, the national reading charity, to run a special competition giving school libraries a chance to win the longlisted titles. The competition is live until midnight Friday 2nd June, and schools can find out more and enter via the Coram Beanstalk site here.

The winner will be announced at a special awards ceremony in July 2023.

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

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