The CBI Book of the Year Awards

The CBI Book of the Year Awards


The CBI Book of the Year Awards (formerly the Bisto Awards) are the leading annual children’s book awards in Ireland. Now in their 24th year, the awards  are made annually by Children’s Books Ireland to authors and illustrators born or resident in Ireland and are open to books written in Irish or English.  The shortlist for the awards is announced annually in March and the winners are announced in May.

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:

The  Book of the Year Award

The Eilís Dillon Award for a first children’s book

The Honour Award for Fiction

The Honour Award for Illustration

The Special Judges’ Award

The Children’s Choice Award

Each year CBI assembles a panel of judges who have considerable expertise and interest in books for children. The panel operates independently of CBI. A number of Junior Juries are also selected to decide the Children’s Choice Award.

Criteria for Excellence

1. Literary/artistic – an excellent children’s book is extremely well conceived, structured and written or illustrated (or both).

2. Respect – an excellent children’s book appeals to an audience of children or young people, without patronizing or exploiting that audience.

3. Engagement – an excellent children’s book entertains and engages the sustained interest of its intended readers.

4. Experience – an excellent children’s book offers its readers a stimulating and satisfying aesthetic, imaginative, intellectual or emotional experience that goes beyond the banal and the obvious, and develops or challenges the reader’s inner life, sense of self, or understanding of and engagement with the world.

To be eligible for the  Book of the Year, books must be written or illustrated by an Irish person or someone who is normally resident in Ireland. Books may be in Irish or English.