The CBI Book of the Year Awards (formerly the Bisto Awards) are the leading annual children’s book awards in Ireland. Now in their 29th year, the awards are made annually by Children’s Books Ireland. The CBI Book of the Year Awards identify, honour and promote excellence in books for young people by Irish authors and illustrators. The awards are the most prestigious in Ireland and offer one of the few opportunities for national and international recognition of Irish authors and illustrators. Excellence in children’s books is the over-arching criterion and there are a total of six awards made:
CBI Book of the Year Award
Honour Award for Fiction
Honour Award for Illustration
Eilís Dillon Award (for a first children’s book)
The Judges’ Special Award
The Children’s Choice Award
The awards are open to authors and illustrators born or resident in Ireland and to books written in Irish or English. The shortlist for the awards is announced annually in March and the winners are announced in June. Each year CBI assembles a panel of judges who have considerable expertise and interest in books for children. The panel operates independently of CBI. Young book club members or Junior Juries from around the country decide the Children’s Choice Award.
The Judging Panel review all eligible titles and examine them according to the criteria for the award. The shortlist of approximately 10 titles is announced in March at the Belfast Children’s Festival and the winners are announced at a ceremony in May as part of the International Literature Festival Dublin.
Established in 2005, the CBI Shadowing Scheme is a unique programme for schools and libraries, designed to encourage awareness and enjoyment of the CBI Book of the Year Awards. Participating classes and junior book clubs make their own selection of suitable titles from the books shortlisted for the CBI Awards in March, using a specially devised activity pack to guide them in their reading. At the end of this process each group is asked to collectively vote for their favourite book. CBI then announces the Children’s Choice Award during the official prize ceremony in May.