Red House Children's Book Award

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For the award given by the Child Study Association of America, see Josette Frank Award.

The Red House Children's Book Award is a set of annual literary prizes for children's books published in the U.K. during the preceding school year. It recognises one "Overall" winner and one book in each of three categories: Books for Younger Children, Books for Younger Readers, and Books for Older Readers.[a] The selections are made entirely by school children, which is unique among British literary awards.[1]

The Federation of Children's Book Groups owns and coordinates the Award, which it inaugurated in 1981 as the Children's Book Award. Its purpose has been "to celebrate the books that children themselves love reading."[1] Since 2001 it has been named for a sponsor, the mail order bookshop Red House[1] —a brand owned by bookselling company The Book People.

Process and latest rendition[edit]

The 2015 shortlist is scheduled to be announced 27 October 2014.[2]

The 2014 Overall winner was from the Older Readers category, announced in mid-February 2014: The 5th Wave, written by Rick Yancey and published by Penguin Books.[3]

Winners are determined by the votes of children on three category ballots composed by nominations from the same group. "Children from around the world" are eligible to participate in both stages.[4] At least in Britain, some children participate through book groups.[5]

The annual cycle approximately fits the British school year. Nominations are open from September to September, covering books published in the U.K. during the same twelve months. As of 23 September 2012, nominations for the 2014 awards were open although the publication of eligible books was only beginning. Nominations for 2013 had closed but the shortlists had not been announced.[4] The 2015 shortlist is scheduled to be announced 27 October 2014.[2]

The three ballots, or shortlists, comprise those ten books that garner the most nominations.[6] For 2012 there were four books on the Younger Children ballot and three each on the Younger Readers and Older Readers ballots.[7]


Currently the annual awards cover books first published in the U.K. during those twelve months beginning two Septembers ago (September 2010 for the 2012 awards).[4]

From 1992 to 2014 —the period of one Overall and three category awards[a]— 13 Overall winners have come from the Long Novel or Older Readers category, 6 from the Short Novel or Younger Readers category, 4 from the Picture Book or Younger Children category.[8]

  • Overall: The Boy in the Bubble by Ian Strachan (Methuen)

Winners of multiple awards[edit]

Prior to winning the 2012 Red House Award, Overall, A Monster Calls was named the 2011 British Children's Book of the Year.[5] Subsequently Ness and Kay as writer and illustrator won both annual children's book awards from the professional librarians, the Carnegie Medal and Greenaway Medal; that double award alone was an unprecedented sweep. In fact, no previous Children's/Red House Award winner (Overall) has won the Carnegie Medal and only one has won the Greenaway Medal for illustration: the inaugural Children's winner Mr Magnolia (Jonathan Cape, 1980), written and illustrated by Quentin Blake.

Authors with multiple Children's/Red House awards

Michael Morpurgo has won three Overall awards for Kensuke's Kingdom in 2000, Private Peaceful in 2004, and Shadow in 2011. He has also won category awards for The Wreck of the Zanzibar in 1996 and Out of Ashes in 2002.

Four other authors have won two Overall awards:

  • Roald Dahl 1983, 1989
  • Robert Swindells 1985, 1990
  • Jacqueline Wilson 1993, 1996
  • J. K. Rowling 1998, 1999

J. K. Rowling won the Long Novel category four years in succession, 1998 to 2001, for the first four Harry Potter books.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b From 1981 to 1991 there was only a single Children's Book Award. From 1992 to 2001 there were three award categories called Picture Book, Short Novel, and Long Novel; the current category names date from 2002. The official website calls for schoolchildren to nominate a "picture book, chapter book, or novel" (RHCBA, Nominate).


  1. ^ a b c RHCBA, About.
  2. ^ a b RHCBA, Home. Retrieved 2014-10-21.
  3. ^ "The 5th Wave wins Red House children's book award". Charles Green. 22 February 2014. Retrieved 2014-10-21.
  4. ^ a b c RHCBA, Nominate.
  5. ^ a b c "Children vote A Monster Calls best book of 2012". Charlotte Jones. 18 February 2012. Retrieved 2012-09-23.
  6. ^ RHCBA, Pick of the Year.
  7. ^ RHCBA, 2012 Shortlist. Current shortlist not yet available 2012-09-23.
  8. ^ RHCBA, Past Winners. Retrieved 2014-10-21.

External links[edit]