Can You Tickle a Tiger? wins BookTrust Storytime Prize 2023

Published on: 26 April 2023

Families voted for the book to win this year's award after exploring the shortlist in a fun library experience.

The front cover of Can You Tickle a Tiger?

Can You Tickle a Tiger? by Gemma Cooper (Bobbie Brooks) and illustrator Carrie Hennon has been awarded the BookTrust Storytime Prize.

The award - which aims to find the best book for sharing with children aged 0-5 - was crowned the winner in a special virtual event this evening (Wednesday, 26 April).

Librarians and families who took part in BookTrust Storytime experiences at libraries across the country voted for Can You Tickle a Tiger? to take home the prize after exploring the shortlist of six books.

Carrie Hennon said: 'For me, knowing it is children and families who have enjoyed reading and interacting with our book that have voted, is the best approval, EVER!'

Gemma Cooper added: 'Carrie and I had so much fun creating the book. When we were developing ideas, we both had the same idea at the same time and shouted 'Tickle!' at each other! That idea influenced the bright illustrations and the rhyming words, as well as the tactile felt trails on every page, and we had great fun imagining which animals children would love to tickle. So to learn that children and families have voted for the book in this way is just wonderful.

'We are both delighted that 'Can You Tickle a Tiger?' has won the BookTrust 2023 Storytime Prize, and we appreciate all the important work that BookTrust and libraries do to support children in accessing stories and books in their local libraries.

'We hope that this prize rightly shines a spotlight on the amazing work that librarians do in supporting their communities and encouraging a love of reading for all.'

Inspiring families to visit the library

Now in its second year, BookTrust Storytime was designed to support libraries across England and Northern Ireland to inspire and engage families with children under the age of five to share stories and visit libraries as part of their family reading journeys.  

BookTrust provided libraries with six specially shortlisted books that are great for sharing with babies in children in their early years alongside a specially designed suite of resources, which libraries used to create a range of experiences to attract new families and introduce them to a fun, lively and inclusive library environment.

The resources included activity sheets to accompany the shortlisted books, materials that encouraged exploration of libraries and certificates and sticker books that librarians used to engage children and bring BookTrust Storytime to life.

Digital resources were also available and used by librarians flexibly to create interactive, memorable experiences for families that keep them returning to their local libraries.

The books on this year's BookTrust Storytime shortlist: Can You Tickle a Tiger, The Duck Who Didn't Like Water, Benjamin Zephaniah's Nature Trail, Red Lorry Yellow Lorry, The Horse That Jumped and Zoom: Farm Adventure

The books on this year's BookTrust Storytime shortlist

This year, 2,319 libraries and 145 English local authorities took part over nine months, creating an important boost for thousands of new families.

'The stories that are read at these sessions are all so nicely chosen. We always try to take the book away at the end of the session to share with Daddy after work.' - Parent at North Northants Library

One Library Manager from London said they had put together a programme of BookTrust Storytime events for more than two months, introducing it to a new audience and giving the library team an opportunity to meet with the community.

'The children have really enjoyed the three titles we've read so far and are enjoying the colouring sheets, stickers and photo frame at the events,' the Library Manager added. 'The stories are diverse and exciting, allowing the children to chat amongst themselves while we are all colouring together. Personally, I'm enjoying delivering these events in partnership with BookTrust - it's so lovely seeing the enjoyment the children are experiencing at these sessions.'

Meanwhile, Diana Gerald, Chief Executive of BookTrust said: 'BookTrust Storytime is part of our wider approach to offer families from low-income backgrounds multiple opportunities to share stories with their children throughout their early years, so they can enjoy the lifechanging benefits of reading.

In this second year, it's encouraging to see so many libraries working closely with local groups and their wider communities using the BookTrust Storytime shortlisted books and resources creatively to encourage new families into their libraries.

'A fantastic storytime experience needs brilliant librarians who are experts in supporting children and families and a fabulous selection of books that capture the imagination and curiosity of even the youngest children. We're incredibly grateful to all our library and local authority partners and all the shortlisted authors and illustrators for their continued support.

'Congratulations to Gemma and Carrie on their wonderfully interactive book Can You Tickle A Tiger?, a truly deserving winner of the BookTrust 2023 Storytime Prize which children and families will want to keep enjoying together.'

Find out more about BookTrust Storytime

Download the full press release

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