Oscar's Book Prize 2019 Shortlist

publication date: Apr 9, 2019

Created in honour of Oscar Ashton who passed away in 2012 at the age of three and a half from an undetected heart condition, Oscar's Book Prize is supported by Amazon and the National Literacy Trust, and searches for the best in children’s stories and stories Oscar himself would have loved. This year’s winner will be announced 9 May at a party hosted by the May Fair Hotel in central London.

The 2019 judging panel, comprising Children’s Laureate Lauren Child, Brigitte Ricou-Bellan, UK Director of Books at Amazon, Sarah Brown, president of global children’s charity Theirworld and executive chair of the Global Business Coalition for Education, and Oscar’s parents James Ashton and Viveka Alvestrand said of the shortlist:

The Way Home for WolfThe Way Home for Wolf by Rachel Bright and Jim Field 

(Orchard Books)

Judge Viveka Alvestrand says, “The illustrations of The Way Home for Wolf transport you right inside the book. You are standing there with the Northern Lights in front of you - it's breathtaking. It conveys that wonder and awe of nature beautifully.”

The Way Home For Wolf

How to be a LionHow to be a Lion by Ed Vere 

(Bloomsbury Children’s Books)

Judge Lauren Child says, “Ed understands how to pace a story, tell it beautifully, and make an important point about being true to yourself and loyal to your friends. It does not preach nor resort to sentimentality but yet a very clear point is made about how it is possible to deal with those who wish to bully and intimidate.”

How to be a Lion

Ruby’s WorryRuby’s Worry by Tom Percival (Puffin)

Judge Brigitte Ricou-Bellan says, “It has beautiful illustrations and brings to life behaviours or ideas which are not easy to discuss. It’s clever and the most original in many ways.”

Ruby’s Worry

Almost AnythingAlmost Anything by Sophy Henn 


Judge Sarah Brown says, “It reflects the concerns that little people have. So many children are reticent about having a go at things, or they give up if they aren’t good straight away. I couldn’t think of anything else like it.”

Almost Anything



Baby's First Bank HeistBaby’s First Bank Heist by Jim Whalley and Stephen Collins

(Bloomsbury Children’s Books)

Judge James Ashton says, “It had an edge to it. It is a smart and sassy story with some laugh out loud moments and vibrant illustrations.”

Baby's First Bank Heist

Childhood literacy is a cause dear to Oscar’s Book Prize with recent statistics showing just over a quarter (27 per cent) of five-year-olds in England starting primary school lacking the literary skills for their age. Yet, experts say that just ten minutes of reading every day at home can make a significant difference in their achievement levels. To help make bedtime reading more enjoyable for children and parents alike, Audible’s Narrator of the Year Clare Corbett has shared her top tips:

  • Take turns choosing a book
  • Create/play with the voices of the characters together
  • Both read little bits each - maybe one does the characters and one narrates
  • Read clearly and steadily (even if you have supper and wine ready downstairs!)
  • Talk about the world the book is in. Ask your child questions about their favourite bits of the book