BookTrust Storytime Prize 

This prize, which is now in its third year, celebrates and promotes the best books for sharing with young children and is run in association with the CILIP Youth Libraries Group.

A child enjoying a BookTrust Storytime session at their library

The families and librarians involved in BookTrust's ambitious BookTrust Storytime pilot chose their favourite new book for sharing with babies and young children.

The Whales on the Bus by Katrina Charman and illustrator Nick Sharratt was picked as the winner of the BookTrust Storytime Prize 2021, based on how families and young children responded to a shortlist of six books during special library sessions.

This fun new take on a familiar rhyme was praised for its appealing cast of characters, its bright and bold illustrations, the way it introduces new words and its ability to get the whole family joining in with a singalong.

Read the full news story

Enjoy Katrina Charman and Nick Sharratt reading The Whales on the Bus below:

Discover the shortlisted books

There were six books in total nominated for the Storytime Prize this year. Alongside winner The Whales on the Bus were:

  • Arlo the Lion who Couldn't Sleep by Catherine Rayner (Macmillan)
  • I Really, Really Need a Wee! by Karl Newson and Duncan Beedie (Little Tiger Press)
  • Lenny and Wilbur by Ken Wilson-Max (Alanna Max)
  • No! said Rabbit by Marjoke Henrichs (Scallywag Press)
  • Octopus Shocktopus by Peter Bently and Steven Lenton (Nosy Crow)

Arlo the Lion who Couldn't Sleep by Catherine Rayner (Macmillan)

A perfect bedtime book, Arlo, The Lion Who Couldn’t Sleep is tenderly illustrated in watercolour as always by Rayner, giving readers gentle pages to fall into and inspire soft, reassuring dreams.

I Really, Really Need a Wee! by Karl Newson and Duncan Beedie (Little Tiger Press)

A funny book that relates the universal experience of needing a wee and not being able to find anywhere to go, I Really Really Need a Wee reminds readers of the importance of going before you leave the house.

Lenny and Wilbur by Ken Wilson-Max (Alanna Max)

This illustration-led picture book, about the special bond between one boy and his dog, is packed with activities that will be familiar to many preschoolers. Bright, bold and reflective of a culturally diverse family, the illustrations exude warmth and fun.

No! said Rabbit by Marjoke Henrichs (Scallywag Press)

No! said Rabbit contains a subtle comment about all the things we expect toddlers to do in their day, and how, sometimes, it might feel like a never-ending stream of "musts" to them. It's a lovely book, with Henrichs' appealing and slightly scribbly illustration.

Octopus Shocktopus by Peter Bently and Steven Lenton (Nosy Crow)

It’s both a cosy and silly read, perfect for bedtime and any other time of the day when a story is needed.

The Whales on the Bus by Katrina Charman and Nick Sharratt (Bloomsbury)

The bold visual style and nice big text means that the book is accessible both for adults reading and children looking at the pages, and the fact that this is a classic nursery rhyme is great for parents looking for something new yet recognizable at the same time. 


Meet the judges

This year's judges are:

  • Jake Hope
  • Ben Lawrence
  • Amy Mckay
  • Jenny Hawke
  • Mobeena Khan
  • Anjali Patel
  • Alex Willmore

BookTrust Storytime Prize 2022

Submissions are now open for the BookTrust Storytime Prize 2022. Click here for details and submissions form.

Previous years' prizes

Storytime Prize 2019

Emily Gravett won the first ever BookTrust Storytime Prize for her beautiful book Cyril and Pat - enjoy her reading the story and meet the other nominated books here.

Storytime Prize 2020

The 2020 prize was won by Libby Walden and Jacqui Lee for their brilliant interactive book This is Owl. Find out what else was nominated here.

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Looking for something fun as a family? Enjoy storytime with our free online books and videos, play games, win prizes, test your knowledge in our book-themed quizzes, or even learn how to draw some of your favourite characters.

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