best books for kids, best children's book authors, best new books for kids, best chapter books for kids, Waterstones prize,

Best New Children’s Authors: Waterstones Children’s Book Prize

Discover Hidden Talent in Children’s Authors

The shortlist for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize have been announced for 2012 and it’s a great place to discover new and wonderful children’s books! The Prize is only open to authors who have published three books or less, with the aim of uncovering hidden talent in children’s writing. The Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize was first awarded in 2005 by the bookchain that shares its name.

Six books are shortlisted in each of three categories – picture books, fiction for 5 to 12 year olds, and books for teens. What do you think of this children’s book award? Does it make you want to try out new children’s book authors?

I am personally glad to see Wonder by R. J. Palacio on the short list! I was shocked that it didn’t win a Schneider Award or a Newbery Honor! Are there any books that tempt you for your kids?

Best Picture Books

Lunchtime by Rebecca Cobb

Rebecca Cobb is an illustrator turned picture book author. This is her third picture book that she’s both written and illustrated.


Rabbityness by Jo Empson

Rabbityness was up  for the Kate Greenaway Medal 2013, the UKLA Book Awards 2013. It was a Finalist of the Peoples Book Prize 2012/2013 and was included in ‘The Independent’ Books of the Year 2012: Children’s books aged under 9. 


Oh No George! by Chris Haughton

Chris talks about the inspiration behind his book, two years in the making!, including the need to Google images for “guilty dogs” in his blog post.


The Worst Princess by Anna Kemp & Sara Ogilvie

The Guardian describes The Worst Princess as “… a must for any family bored of the norm.” In this case, Princess Daisy teams up with the dragon to put an obnoxious prince in his place! She gets to be the knight, not the dressed up helpless princess that needs help!

I love princess books about strong and capable girls who don’t need rescuing! I’ll have to add this one to my list!


The Journey Home by Frann Preston-Gannon

Author Frann Preston-Gannon won the Sendak Fellowship, a residency program exclusively for artists who tell stories with illustration. Fellows will participate in weekly conversations and informal talks with Mr. Sendak, as well as a host of visiting artists, editors, publishers, directors, writers, and playwrights. Now that he’s gone, I wonder if the fellowship will continue?


Can You See Sassoon? by Sam Usher

Shortlisted for:
Red House Children’s Book Award 2013

Nominated for:
‘Read it Again!’ – Cambridge Libraries Award
Greenaway Prize 2012 – Longlist

Best Fiction for 5 to 12 year olds

The Wolf Princess by Cathryn Constable

Atticus Claw Breaks the Law by Jennifer Gray

Meet Atticus Grammatticus Cattypus Claw, the world’s greatest cat burglar. He’s a tabby who spells trouble. And he’s been hired by the fiendish Jimmy Magpie to steal all the jewels in Littleton-on-Sea.

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Yay! Wonder just won a Cybil for best Middle Grade Fiction!! I’ve been rooting for Wonder all through Newbery season!

The Secret Hen House Theatre by Helen Peters

Helen Peters is the author of The Secret Hen House Theatre. She grew up on an old-fashioned farm in Sussex, surrounded by family, animals and mud. Helen lives with her husband and children in London, and she can still hardly believe that she now gets to call herself a writer.

The Chronicles of Egg: Deadweather and Sunrise by Geoff Rodkey

Barry Loser: I Am Not A Loser by Jim Smith

Jim Smith has written the funniest books since Diary of a Wimpy Kid!

Best Teen (YA) Books

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman

Seraphina wins a Cybil in the Fantasy and Science Fiction category!

Skin Deep
 by Laura Jarratt

This is, in a couple of words, absolutely stunning. Debut author Jarratt takes a subject which is genuinely original, throws in a huge amount of extra baggage for the characters to deal with – and one especially shocking plot twist – and weaves one of the most compelling young adult romances I’ve had the pleasure of reading for a long, long time. from Book Bag

by S.J. Kincaid

… it was while living beside a haunted graveyard in Scotland, that she realized that she wanted to be a writer. Her debut, Insignia, came out in July of 2012.

Throne of Glass 
by Sarah J. Maas

She wrote this book when she was just 25-years-old!

Ketchup Clouds
 by Annabel Pitcher

How she came up with the story:

Originally, I set out to write a love story about a girl and two boys, but I didn’t want it to be some sort of cheesy, high-school romance … Zoe has a dark and terrible secret that she needs to get off her chest, but she is afraid of getting into trouble. To alleviate her guilt while remaining anonymous, she decides to tell her story to a death row inmate because he has done something equally bad so will hopefully be sympathetic.

Geekhood: Close Encounters of the Girl Kind 
by Andy Robb

On the face of it, Geekhood is about surviving divorce from the point of view from the people that are always stuck in the middle.

Click on image to view at Amazon, or here for Barnes and Noble.

best books for kids, best children's book authors, best new books for kids, best chapter books for kids, Waterstones prize,

By Mia Wenjen, PragmaticMom


  1. Alexandra

    Such lists are really helpful, I note down the titles and when in a bookstore I know exactly what to get! Thanks for sharing 🙂
    Alexandra recently posted…An amazing app – Kids’ Vocab from MindSnacksMy Profile

  2. What a great range of books! It’s always exciting to see new ideas in the book world!
    maryanne recently posted…Craft-Themed Birthday Party for a Seven-year-old!My Profile

  3. Thanks again for doing the research and coming up with a new source of children’s books. I do notice that many of these books are up for other awards. Is it the quality of the book or the successful marketing that has the greater influence?

    • Hi Barbara,
      I truly think that it’s the quality of the books but the books do need a little buzz to get noticed. For this award because the author has to have three books or less, the playing field is smaller so I think quality matters most.
      Pragmatic Mom recently posted…Pi Day!My Profile

  4. Asianmommy

    Looks like a great list–thanks!
    Asianmommy recently posted…The Epic Adventures of Princess MoonfaceMy Profile

  5. Ann

    I don’t know any of these books! It is a great concept for a book award and I can’t wait to check out a bunch of these especially the picture books!

  6. I’ve just finished reading the Secret Hen House Theatre – it was brilliant. Very different from Wonder … there are some tough choices to be made with this competition!!

  7. Great titles there. I must admit that I haven’t come across any of these books.
    Viren recently posted…Email Marketing To ArchitectsMy Profile

    • Hi Viren,
      Some of the titles have won other awards but many are new to me too! It’s a fun way to discover new great books, don’t you think? I do recommend Wonder by R J Palacio if you want to try a great chapter book from the list and Emma from My Book Corner also recommends Secret Hen House Theater.
      Pragmatic Mom recently posted…Let’s Go Fly a Kite!My Profile

  8. Jeanette Nyberg

    So glad to see Wonder on there, too. These will be fun to check out, and I am a big fan of the ‘guilty dog’ look.
    Jeanette Nyberg recently posted…On the Go! Travel Activities for KidsMy Profile

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