BookTrust Storytime Prize 2021

The BookTrust Storytime Prize 2021 was won by Katrina Charman and Nick Sharratt for their book The Whales on the Bus.

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 in 2021. 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

The BookTrust Storytime judges in 2021 were:

  • 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.

This year's Storytime Prize

Want all the information about the latest Storytime Prize? Head this way to stay up to date with this year's award...

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