Cyril and Pat by Emily Gravett crowned winner of first ever BookTrust Storytime Prize

Published on: 20 November 2019 Author: Catriona Wightman

The prize has been set up to celebrate the best books for sharing with young children.

The front cover of Cyril and Pat and author-illustrator Emily Gravett

Emily Gravett has been crowned the winner of the first ever BookTrust Storytime Prize for her picture book Cyril and Pat.

The £5,000 award, set up to celebrate the best books for sharing with 0-5 year-olds and run in partnership with the Youth Library Group, was presented to Emily by neuroscientist and television personality Paul Howard-Jones at BookTrust's Annual Lecture at the Natural History Museum in London today.

Cyril and Pat is a charming, rhyming tale about friendship against the odds, which celebrates independent thought and the joy of difference.

'I'm SO excited that Cyril and Pat has won the very first BookTrust Storytime Prize,' Emily said. 'I'm doing a little dance right now (but may have stopped by the time you read this - I'm not that fit!), but I promise I shall still be dancing on the inside.

'When I imagine my books out in the world, I like to imagine them being shared, whether that's as part of a cosy bedtime, or in a classroom or library group, so I'm extra proud that Cyril and Pat has won a prize whose very ethos is to find the best books for sharing. Hurrah!'

The shortlist for the Storytime Prize was chosen by a panel of children's book experts including Baroness Floella Benjamin and illustrator James Mayhew along with librarians and consultants Amy McKay, Alison Brumwell, Jake Hope, Joy Court and Julia Hale.

Public librarians from nine English regions along with Wales and Northern Ireland then enjoyed the seven books with children, families and carers over the summer holidays to find the best book for sharing.

An illustration from Cyril and Pat by Emily Gravett

Illustration: Emily Gravett

Cyril and Pat triumphed in a hotly-contested field that also included Billy and the Beast by Nadia Shireen, Cake by Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet, Amazing by Steve Antony, Little Owl, Little Owl, Can't You Sleep by Jo Lodge, Hat Tricks by Satoshi Kitamura and If All The World Were by Joseph Coelho and Allison Colpoys.

Suzanne Carnell, from Cyril and Pat's publisher Two Hoots, said she was 'so thrilled' that Emily had won the prize.

'Two Hoots is immensely proud to be Emily's publisher, and Cyril and Pat bears all the hallmarks of her genius: witty, unexpected, beautifully drawn and full of fun,' she said.

'What a brilliant new award this is: the importance and joy of sharing books should be celebrated, and it gives me particular pleasure that libraries are at the heart of this prize.'

Meanwhile, BookTrust's CEO Diana Gerald said she is 'delighted' to announce that Emily is the winner.

'BookTrust set up this prize to give credit to the wonderful authors and illustrators that create the books that give families so much pleasure, before children can read themselves or even talk,' she said.

'We know, and this year's Annual Lecture by Paul Howard-Jones confirms, that these early reading experiences inform children's whole lives and pave the way to them becoming readers with all the benefits that brings - so thank you to all the publishers and creators that make reading so much fun!"

Download the full press release

Find out more about the BookTrust Storytime Prize

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