The Alligator's Mouth Award for illustrated early fiction 

in partnership with Bright Illustration Agency and Gardners Books

Update 27th May 2021

Shortlist Announced for the Alligator's Mouth Award 2021


  Five books have been shortlisted for The Alligator’s Mouth Award 2021, which champions authors and illustrators of highly illustrated children’s fiction. Now in its third year, the children’s book prize created by The Alligator’s Mouth children’s bookshop and The Bright Agency, celebrates the best books for 6-8-year-olds.

The line-up of books features themes of wildlife, fantasy, family relationships, as well as
humour. The full shortlist for The Alligator’s Mouth Award 2021:



  • Claude at the Palace written and illustrated by Alex T. Smith, published by Hodder Children's Books

  • Pizazz written and illustrated by Sophy Henn, published by Simon & Schuster Children's UK



  • Zombierella: Fairy Tales Gone Bad written by Joseph Coelho, illustrated by Freya Hartas, published by Walker Books

The shortlist was selected by a judging panel of children’s book experts including: author Smriti Halls; author-illustrator Adam Stower (winner of The Alligator’s Mouth Award 2020); book blogger and primary school librarian Jo Clarke (Book Lover Jo); primary school headteacher and book blogger Simon Smith; co-owners of The Alligator’s Mouth children’s bookshop, Margaret Wallace-Jones and Tony West; and Arabella Stein, Director at The Bright Agency.

Jo Clarke commented: 'I‘m a huge fan of illustrated fiction, so it was an absolute honour to be asked to sit on the judging panel for The Alligator's Mouth Award. As a school librarian I see the important role illustrated fiction plays every day in giving confidence to newly independent readers and helping to encourage reading for pleasure. This award plays a vital role in celebrating the very best books for 6-8 years old and this year's shortlist contains a stellar line up of authors and illustrators. All of these nominated books are guaranteed to enthral and entertain younger readers.’

Books wholesaler Gardners returns as an official partner of the award, and are offering
independent bookshops across the UK a 50% discount on all the longlisted titles until the end of July 2021.

Nigel Wyman, Head of Business Development at Gardners said: ‘Whittling such a fantastic longlist to just five is no easy task as they are all so strong, but this has resulted in a wonderful and varied shortlist for 2021.’

Tony West and Margaret Wallace-Jones said: ‘This fantastic shortlist of exciting, engaging and innovative books is a wonderful way to help children spread their reading wings and to celebrate spring and new beginnings. Huge thanks to the authors and illustrators for producing books guaranteed to cheer us up. We are so thrilled with our 2021 shortlist; congratulations to everyone involved.’

Arabella Stein commented: ‘It was a very real challenge to narrow down our fantastic
longlist to just five books – and a reflection on the outstanding publishing in highly
illustrated fiction in the last year! Congratulations to all the authors, illustrators and


The winner will be announced in July 2021.

Keep up to date with the awards at and on Twitter by following #AlligatorsAward

About The Alligator’s Mouth Children’s Bookshop
The Alligator’s Mouth is an independent bookshop in Richmond-on-Thames. Our mission is to connect children with the best and most exciting books and encourage them to become lifelong readers.

About The Bright Agency
The Bright Agency is a collective of specialist agents, working across all areas of children’s publishing and representing the best in global talent. Dedicated to discovering, developing and promoting exceptional creative talent in children’s publishing.

About Gardners Books
Gardners Books is a leading international wholesaler of books, eBooks, music and film to retailers around the world. Gardners enthusiastically supported the inaugural Alligator's Mouth Award and joins us for the second time as an official partner.

Contact Details:
The Alligator’s Mouth: / 0208 9486775
The Bright Agency, Katie Blagden: / 0207 326 9140

Alligator's Mouth Award Shortlist 2021

Alligator's Mouth Award Shortlist 2021

£35.95Regular Price£28.76Sale Price

Previous Shortlists


WINNER 2020:

King Coo The Curse of the Mummy's Gold by Adam Stower


WINNER 2019:

Nice Work for

The Cat and the King

by Nick Sharratt

Alison Green Books

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