About the Award

The CBI Bisto Award Leabhar-Ghradaim CBI Bisto's are the leading annual Children's Book Awards in Ireland. Now in their 18th year, the awards have been sponsored since their inception by Bisto (Premier Foods). The Awards are made annually by Children's Books Ireland to authors and illustrators born or resident in Ireland. The award is open to books written in Irish or English.

There are a total of five awards. CBI Bisto Book of the Year Award Prize: €10,000 prize and a perpetual trophy and framed certificate: CBI Bisto Honour Awards Prize: Three Honour (previously Merit) Awards share a prize fund of €6,000 and each prize winner receives a framed certificate. The Eilís Dillon Award (awarded to a first time writer for children) Prize: €3,000 prize, a trophy + framed certificate.

2010 Award Winners Bisto Children's Book of the Year Awards

MARIE-LOUISE FITZPATRICK WINS 20TH BISTO CHILDREN'S BOOK OF THE YEAR '09/'10 FOR "THERE" Author and illustrator Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick has won the 20th Bisto Children's Book of the Year for her picturebook There.

The results of the twentieth Bisto Children's Book of the Year Awards were announced today, Monday 24 May 2010 at a ceremony in The Hugh Lane Gallery. Marie-Louise was present to accept the award and was presented with a cheque for €10,000 by Senator David Norris, Sean Brett, Marketing Controller Premier Foods and Chairperson of the Judging Panel, Maire Uí Mhaicín.

This is the third time that Marie-Louise has picked up this prestigious award, winning in 2001 and 2003 for her two other nominated picture books You, Me and the Big Blue Sea and Izzy and Skunk

Four other awards were made

• Bisto Honour Award - Solace of the Road by Siobhan Dowd
• Bisto Honour Award for Illustration - There by Marie Louise Fitzpatrick
• Eilís Dillon Award - Third Pig Detective Agency by Bob Burke
• Children's Choice Award - Chalkline by Jane Mitchell

Also Shortlisted

An Greasaí Bróg agus na Síoga- Caitríona Hastings and Andrew Whitson

Colm and The Lazarus Key - Kieran Mark Crowley

Gluaiseacht - Alan Titley

Lincoln and His Boys - Pj Lynch

The Eyeball Collector- FE Higgins

The Gates- John Connolly

2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | Winners 1990 -2005

bog_child_cover2009 Winners and Shortlists

Bisto Book of the Year Award 2009

Siobhan Dowd for Bog Child

The story of Fergus’ journey of self-discovery as he struggles to make sense of his personal, familial, and societal situation, as well as the voice of a bog child that comes to him in his dreams. To journey through this layered narrative is to be confronted with not only the frailty of life but also the redemptive qualities of love: unsettling yet optimistic, this is radiant prose that sings of the pain and beauty of the human condition.Published by David Fickling ISBN: 9780385614269 (HBK) 9781862305915 (PBK)

anilas_journey_coverEilis Dillon Award for a first children's book

Anila's Journey by Mary Finn

A story of a half-Indian, half-Irish girl whose journey down the Ganges is also a journey into her past. Sensitively told in gracefully lyrical prose, this meticulously researched coming-of-age novel vividly creates a sense of place and history in order to detail the life and relationships of its central character

Published by Walker Books

ISBN: 9781406306590 (PBK)

highway_robberry_coverJudges Special Recognition Award

Highway Robbery by Kate Thompson

Chosen for special recognition by the judges as an example of a exceptional stand alone novel for emerging readers.

A story told by a young beggar boy who is asked to look after a horse for a mysterious man. Atmospheric and evocative, this deceivingly slight tale is a well measured intertextual metanarrative built around a clever conceit. The creation of a natural storyteller, this aesthetically pleasing production will appeal – particularly – to newly confident readers.

Pubished by The Bodley Head ISBN: 9780061730344 (HBK)

Bisto Honour Award for Illustration

teh_great_paper_caper_coverOliver Jeffers for The Great Paper Caper

The story of its animal characters’ investigation into the gradual disappearance of their forest home. Intelligently absurd, every part of this stylish literary work, from its peritextual elements to its deceptively simple verbal and visual texts, challenges and entertains the reader. This is the work of an author who is in complete command of the picture book format.

Published by Harper Collins

ISBN: 9780007182299 (HBK) 9080007182336 (PBK


creature_of_the_night_coverBisto Honour Award for Writing

Kate Thompson for Creature of the Night

The story of Bobby’s attempt to return to his old life in the city after moving to a cottage in the countryside, which is the scene of supernatural happenings. Distinguished by the lightness and integrity of its storytelling, this unsentimental tale depicts unpleasant yet redeemable characters and suggests that the inner struggle to understand oneself can be redemptive.

Published by The Bodley Head ISBN: 9780370329307 (PBK)

2008 Bisto Book of the Year

london_eye_coverLondon Eye Mystery by Siobhan Dowd (right)

The detective story of brother and sister Ted and Kate’s attempt to solve the siobhan_dowdmystery of their cousin Salim’s disappearance. Enthralling at the level of story, this convincingly written narrative draws the reader in with its beautifully stylish and textured language, its clever and light use of symbolism, and its unpatronising humour so as to emphasize the importance of connecting with others in life. A traditionally structured novel, this is a sustained and fully realised thriller for young readers.

Published by David Fickling

Ellis Dillon Award

thing_with_finnThe Thing with Finn by Tom Kelly

The story of a young boy named Danny and his journey of self-discovery in the aftermath of the death of his twin-brother Finn. Cathartic and redemptive, this incredibly courageous narrative is told with such sensitivity that it manages to poignantly sustain pathos through moments of great humour. To journey through this layered narrative – in the company of a character who is sure to haunt the imagination long after the book has been read – is to recognise this unique publication as a modern classic.

Published by Macmillan Children’s Books

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Honour Awards

Black Book of SecretsThe Black Book of Secrets by FE Higgins

A work that contains the dark secrets of the inhabitants of the remote village of Pagus Parvus . Subtly reminiscent and worthy of a writer like Dickens, this strikingly original and superbly plotted tale introduces readers to two of the most memorable literary protagonists of recent times, apprentice Ludlow Fitch and pawnbroker Joe Zabbidou. Grim but not pessimistic, this is uncommon storytelling,offering a liberating but hopeful exploration of the complexities of human nature.

Published by Macmillan Children’s Books

way_back_home_jpgThe Way Back Home by Oliver Jeffers
A picture book that tells the story of the relationship between a boy and a friendly Martian, who meet after the boy crash-lands on the moon while flying his aeroplane. The stylish quality of the illustration is the principal characteristic that defines this aesthetically pleasing literary artifact. Told from a child’s perspective, and developed through the structural dualism of strangeness and familiarity, the work’s deceptively simple verbal and visual texts are an enchanting celebration of the transformative power of the imagination. Published by Harper Collins Children’s Books


wilderness_jpgWilderness by Roddy Doyle
A work that tells the stories of brothers Tom and Johnny, on an adventure-holiday in Finland, theirhalf-sister Gráinne, at home in Ireland, and their respective mothers. Poetically weaving together alternating but parallel narratives, this is a work that concerns itself with both physical and psychological journeys into wildernesses: those places and situations where one confronts desolation and truth. Categories of adult and children’s fiction aside, this is a rarity in publishing: a novel in the true sense of the word, a work that transcends itself. Published by Scholastic Children’s Books


Other Shortlisted Books for 2008
alchemyst_jpgThe Alchemyst by Michael Scott

A fantasy adventure narrative that follows the destiny of 15-year-old twins, Josh and Sophie Newman, who are the subjects of an ancient prophesy. Of its kind but different, this flamboyantly stylish work succeeds in weaving a mesmerizing and energetic plot around a structurally impressive mythological framework. Although intertextually complex, it is a story whose vivid descriptions of worlds and events enable the fantasy and the realism to connect. Published by Doubleday Children’s Books

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Discover Art by Jessica O'Donnell

A unique and aesthetically pleasing publication that introduces its readers to the impressive collection of art exhibited at Dublin City Gallery, The Hugh Lane. In a clear and lively style, this well-researched work manages not only to inform its readers about modern and contemporary art history but also to present its information in a way that children will enjoy by suggesting fun activities and practical projects to fire the imagination. Published by Dublin City Gallery, The Hugh Lane

Gaiscioch na Beilte Uaine le Caitriona Nic Sheain agus Andrew Whitson

A retelling of an old Irish story about a warrior who, to prove himself a worthy suitor, must gaisiochcomplete a number of trials. Although it enchantingly tells its story through a verbal text that poetically imbues the narrative with a magical atmosphere, it is the distinctive and quintessential character of the visual text that makes this picture book a beautiful work of art. This is a story that will continue to be retold as it is read and reread by both children and adults alike. Published by An Snathaid Mhor

The Last of the High Kings by Kate Thompson

A work of fantasy that centres on the choice Jenny, daughter of JJ Liddy, must make between a life in the world of humans and a life in the world of Tír na nÓg. Distinguished by the psychological depth of its characterization, its impressive use of dialogue, and – above all – the ease of its storytelling, this is fiction that not only explores the complexities of family life in an unsentimental and honest manner but also emphasizes the fact that fantasy, at its most accomplished, exists in a symbiotic relationship with reality.

Published by The Bodley Head

Ttitanic_jpgitanic 2020: Bk. 1 by Colin Bateman
A futuristic tale that chronicles the adventures and discoveries of stowaway Jimmy Armstrong, aboard a new, and supposedly unsinkable, Titanic. Though it convincingly develops relationships between its central characters through episodes of humour and sadness, this well-conceived narrative is characterized, chiefly, by the adventurousness of the twists and turns in its plot, the subtlety of its cultural and literary references, and the innovative nature of its storytelling. Published by Hodder Children’s Books

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JOHN BOYNE (right) for The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (Definitions)john_boyne

Dublin born author, John Boyne has won the CBI Bisto Book of the Year '06/'07 for his book The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. Mr. Boyne was presented with the newly commissioned Bisto Book of the Year Trophy and a cheque for euro10,000..

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamasis John's first book written for children tells the story of a nine year old boy struggling to understand what is happening around him in Auschwitz during World War II. The nove lhas been shortlisted for many literary awards including the British Books Awards.

This year's Eilís Dillon Award went to Siobhan Dowd, author of A Swift Pure Cry. Siobhan was presented with a specially commissioned glass sculptureand a cheque for euro3,000.

In A Swift, Pure Cry, Shellis, at once a disaffected teenager and a surrogate mother to her younger siblings finds that growing up in impoverished rural Ireland in 1984 isn't easy. An inept alcoholic father, a silver-tongued boyfriend and a well meaning but naïve priest do as much damage as good. Yet alongside the gritty misery there's redemption in this compelling, dark tale.

Three CBI Bisto Honour Awards (E2,000 & framed certificate) wesiobhán_parkinson re also presented to:

Oliver Jeffers, author and illustrator of The Incredible Book Eating Boy :

Éilís NíDhuibhne, for Hurlamaboc

Siobhán Parkinson (right) for Something Invisible.

Also shortlisted for this year's awards were Jon Berkeley for The Palace of Laughter (Circus Trilogy), Eoin Colfer for Artemis Fowl and the Lost Colony, illustrator P.J.Lynch for A Christmas Carol, Colmán Ó Raghallaigh for An Táin and KateThompson for The Fourth Horseman.

An eagerly anticipated event on the Irish literary calendar, the CBI Bisto Book ofthe Year Awards are presented annually in recognition of excellence in writing and/or illustration of books for young people. The awards are administered byCBI, the national organisation for children's books and sponsored by Bisto(Premier Foods Ireland). Over the last three years the total prizefund for the awards has more than doubled, with a current total prize fund of E19,000 as compared to E7,000 in 2005.

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2004- 2005 Cbi Bisto Awards 

The CBI Bisto Book of the Year

Annan-Water.jpg Kate Thompson
Annan Water
Published by The Bodley Head

Eilís Dillon Award

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Siobhán Ní Shíthigh
Illustrator: Seán Seosamh Mac an tSíthigh

The Bisto Merit Awards

Illustrators: Corrina Askin, Alan Clarke and Emma Byrne

Oliver Jeffers (author/ Illustrator)
Niamh Sharkey


Kate MacLachlan LOVE MY ENEMY Andersen Press
Olwyn Whelan

Sam McBratney & Anita Jeram (Illustrator)

2003 - 2004  CBI Bisto Awards

The CBI Bisto Book of the Year

Wings-over-delft.jpg Aubrey Flegg
Wings Over Delft
The O'Brien Press

Eilís Dillon Award

Alan Titley Amach An Gúm

The Bisto Merit Awards

Kate Thompson Origins The Bodley Head
Anita Jeram You Can do it Sam Walker Books
Niamh Sharkey
(author/ Illustrator)
The Ravenous Beast Walker Books


Carlo Gebler August '44 Egmont Books Ltd
PJ Lynch
The Been Man of Orn Walker Books
Mary Murphy
(author/ illustrator)
I Kissed the Baby Walker Books
Siobhan Parkinson Kathleen and the Celtic Knot Pleasant Company Publications
Mary Murphy
(author/ illulstrator)
Little Owl and the Star Walker Books

2002 - 2003 CBI Bisto Awards

The CBI Bisto Book of the Year - Joint Winners


Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick
You, Me and the Big Blue Sea

alchemists_apprentice.jpg Kate Thompson
The Alchemist's Apprentice
The Bodley Head


The Bisto Merit Awards Matthew Sweeney
Colmán Ó Raghallaigh
Fox Bloomsbury

The Cartoon Saloon (illustrators) An Tóraíocht Cló Mhaigh Eo

Gerard Whelan War Children O'Brien Press
Eilís Dillon Award Grace Wells Gyrfalcon O'Brien Press
Shortlist Eoin Colfer Artemis Fowl, The Arctic Incident Puffin Books
  Malachy Doyle Who is Jesse Flood? Bloomsbury
  Siobhán Parkinson The Love Bean O'Brien Press

2001 - 2002 CBI Bisto Awards Back to top

The CBI Bisto Book of the Year


Kate Thompson

The Beguilers

The Bodley Head


The Bisto Merit Awards Eoin Colfer Artemis Fowl Puffin

Carlo Gébler Caught on a Train Egmont

Colmán Ó Raghallaigh
The Cartoon Saloon (illustrators)
An Sclábhaí Cló Mhaigh Eo
Eilís Dillon Award Gillian Perdue Adam's Starling O'Brien Press
Shortlist Trevor J. Colgan The Stretford Enders Away Red Fox
  Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick (author / illustrator) I'm A Tiger Too Wolfhound Press
  P.J.Lynch (illustrator) Ignis Walker Books
  Austin McQuinn
(author / illustrator)
This Will Take Forever Zero to Ten
  Martin Waddell Give it to Joe! Walker Books

2000 - 2001 CBI Bisto Awards

The CBI Bisto Book of the Year


Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick

Izzy and Skunk

Blackwater Press


The Bisto Merit Awards Eoin Colfer The Wish List O'Brien Press

Martina Murphy Dirt Tracks Poolbeg Press

Martin Waddell The Orchard Book of Ghostly Stories Orchard Press
Eilís Dillon Award Patrick Deeley The Lost Orchard O'Brien Press
Shortlist Malachy Doyle
Niamh Sharkey (illustrator)
Tales from Old Ireland Barefoot Books
  Jim Halligan and John Newman
Fowl Deeds Wolfhound Press
  Adrienne Kennaway (illustrator) This is the Tree Frances Lincoln
  Michael Mullen An Bóthar Fada Coiscéim
  Siobhán Parkinson Call of the Whales O'Brien Press

1999 - 2000 CBI Bisto Awards

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The CBI Bisto Book of the Year


Marilyn Taylor

Faraway Home
O'Brien Press


The Bisto Merit Awards Mary Arrigan Siúloid Bhreá An Gúm

Marilyn McLaughlin Fierce Milly Mammoth/Egmont

Mark O'Sullivan Silent Stones Wolfhound Press
Eilís Dillon Award Marilyn McLaughlin Fierce Milly Mammoth/Egmont
Shortlist Eoin Colfer Benny and Babe O'Brien Press
  Louise Lawrence The Crowlings Collins
  Larry O'Loughlin Is Anybody Listening? Wolfhound Press
  Gabriel Rosenstock
Piet Sluis (illustrator)
Paidín Mháire Mhuigín An Gúm
  Niamh Sharkey Jack and the Beanstalk Barefoot Books
  Bill Wall The Boy Who Met Hitler Mercier Press
  Gerard Whelan Out of Nowhere O'Brien Press

1998 - 1999 CBI Bisto Awards

The CBI Bisto Book of the Year


Niamh Sharkey

Tales of Wisdom and Wonder

Barefoot Books


The Bisto Merit Awards Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick The Long March Wolfhound Press

Siobhán Parkinson The Moon King O'Brien Press

Gabriel Rosenstock
Piet Sluis (illustrator)
An Rógaire agus a Scáil An Gúm
Eilís Dillon Award Caitríona Hastings Dea-Scéala Cló Iar-Chonnachta
Shortlist Pat Boran
Stewart Curry (illustrator)
All the Way from China Poolbeg Press
  Sam McBratney Bert's Wonderful News Walker Books
  Tom McCaughren Ride a Pale Horse Anvil Press
  Mary Murphy Please Be Quiet Methuen
  Niamh Sharkey (illustrator) The Gigantic Turnip Barefoot Books

1997 - 1998 CBi Bisto Awards

The CBI Bisto Book of the Year


Gerard Whelan

Dream Invader

O'Brien Press


The Bisto Merit Awards Soinbhe Lally The Hungry Wind Poolbeg Press

P.J. Lynch When Jessie Came across the Sea Poolbeg Press

Siobhán Parkinson Four Kids, Three Cats, Two Cows, One Witch (maybe) O'Brien Press
Eilís Dillon Award Ed Miliano It's a Jungle Out There Wolfhound Press
Shortlist Mairéad Ashe FitzGerald
Stephen Hall (illustrator)
The World of Colmcille, also known as Columba O'Brien Press
  Dan Kissane
Angela Clarke (illustrator)
Jimmy's Leprechaun Trap O'Brien Press
  Dan Kissane
Angela Clarke (illustrator)
The Eagle Tree O'Brien Press
  Larry O'Loughlin
John Leonard (illustrator)
The Gobán Saor Blackwater Press
  Mark O'Sullivan Angels Without Wings Wolfhound Press
  Mark O'Sullivan White Lies Wolfhound Press

1996 - 1997 CBI Bisto Awards

The CBI Bisto Book of the Year


Siobhán Parkinson

Sisters ... No Way !

O'Brien Press


The Bisto Merit Awards Cliodhna Cussen and Cormac Ó Snodaigh An Eala Dubh Coiscéim

Maeve Friel The Lantern Moon Poolbeg Press

Gerard Whelan The Guns of Easter O'Brien Press
Eilís Dillon Award Gerard Whelan The Guns of Easter O'Brien Press
Shortlist Dan Kissane
Aileen Johnston (illustrator)
The Eagle Tree O'Brien Press
  P.J. Lynch (illustrator) The King of Ireland's Son Poolbeg Press
  Ré Ó Laighléis Gafa Comhar
  Colmán Ó Raghallaigh Drochlá Ruairí Cló Mhaigh Eo
  Colmán Ó Raghallaigh Róisín ar Strae An Gúm
  Mark O'Sullivan More than a Match Wolfhound Press

1995 - 1996 CBI Bisto Awards

The CBI Bisto Book of the Year


P.J. Lynch

The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey

Poolbeg Press


The Bisto Merit Awards Mary Beckett Hannah or Pink Balloons Marino Books

Ré Ó Laighléis Sceoin sa Bhoireann Cló Iar-Chonnachta

Frank Murphy Lockie and Dadge O'Brien Press
Eilís Dillon Award Frank Murphy Lockie and Dadge O'Brien Press
Shortlist Marita Conlon McKenna Safe Harbour O'Brien Press
  Benedict Kiely The Trout in the Turnhole Wolfhound Press
  Paul Muldoon The Last Thesaurus Faber and Faber
  Siobhán Parkinson All Shining in the Spring O'Brien Press
  Gabriel Rosenstock
Piet Sluis (illustrator)
Naomh Pádraig agus Crom Dubh An Gúm
  Martin Waddell John Joe and the Big Hen An Gúm

1994 - 1995 CBI Bisto Awards

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In 1994 the Eilís Dillon Award was established for an author or illustrator of an outstanding first book.

The CBI Bisto Book of the Year


Elizabeth O'Hara

Blaeberry Sunday

Poolbeg Press


The Bisto Merit Awards Rose Doyle Goodbye Summer, Goodbye Attic Press

P.J. Lynch Catkin Poolbeg Press

Ré Ó Laighléis Ecstasy agus Scéalta Eile Cló Iar-Chonnachta
Eilís Dillon Award Mark O'Sullivan Melody for Nora Wolfhound Press
Shortlist Maeve Friel Distant Voices Poolbeg Press
  Tom McCaughren In Search of the Liberty Tree Children's Press
  Kate Thompson Switchers Aran

1993 - 1994 CBI Bisto Awards

In 1993 the Bisto Merit Awards replaced the category awards.

The Bisto Book of the Year


Jane Mitchell

When Stars Stop Spinning

Poolbeg Press


The Bisto Merit Awards Sam McBratney The Chieftain's Daughter O'Brien Press

Elizabeth O'Hara The Hiring Fair Poolbeg Press

Máirín Johnston The Pony Express Attic Press
Shortlist Mary Arrigan Lá le Mamo An Gúm

Siobhán Parkinson Amelia O'Brien Press

Maria Quirk-Walshe Searching for a Friend Attic Press

1992 - 1993 CBI Bisto Awards

The Bisto Book of the Year


Marita Conlon-McKenna

The Blue Horse

O'Brien Press


Information Book Mairin Uí Chomain
Deiri and Bébhinn Ó Meadhra (illustrators)
Tamall sa Chistin An Gúm
Teenage Fiction Sam McBratney Put a Saddle on the Pig Methuen
Historical Fiction Morgan Llywelyn Strongbow O'Brien Press
Shortlist June Considine View from a Blind Bridge Poolbeg Press

Margrit Cruickshank A Monster called Charlie Poolbeg Press

Maeve Friel The Deerstone Poolbeg Press

Mairéad Ní Nuadháin Cois Trá An Gúm

1991 - 1992 CBI Bisto Awards

The Bisto Book of the Year


John Quinn

The Summer of Lily and Esme

Poolbeg Press


Historical Fiction Marita Conlon-McKenna Wildflower Girl O'Brien Press
Picture Book Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick The Sleeping Giant Brandon Books
First Children's Novel Yvonne MacGrory The Secret of the Ruby Ring Children's Press

No shortlist was complied in 1991

1990 - 1991 CBI Bisto Awards

The Bisto Book of the Year


Eilís Dillon

The Island of Ghosts

Faber and Faber


Best Emerging Author Morgan Llywelyn Brian Boru O'Brien Press
Book for Young Readers Martin Waddell Grandma's Bill Simon and Schuster
Illustration P.J. Lynch Fairy Tales of Ireland Collins
Shortlist Marita Conlon-McKenna Under the Hawthorn Tree O'Brien Press

Don Conroy The Celestial Child Kildanore

Michael Mullins The Long March Poolbeg Press

Eilís Ní Dhuibhne The Uncommon Cormorant Poolbeg Press

Joan O'Neill The Daisy Chain War Attic Press

Finola Sumner Double the Boys Poolbeg Press


CBI Bisto Book of the Decade Award 1980 - 1990

Fiction Category


Run with the Wind; Run to Earth; Run Swift, Run Free

Tom McCaughren, Jeanette Dunne (illustrator)

Wolfhound Press

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