The Alligator's Mouth Award 
for illustrated early fiction 

in partnership with the Bright Agency and Gardners Books

Update 7th July 2022

Pippa Curnick Wins the Alligator's Mouth Award 2022

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● Indigo Wilde by Pippa Curnick is crowned the best book for 6-8-year-olds
● Live Awards Ceremony returns after two years hiatus

Pippa Curnick has won The Alligator’s Mouth Award 2022 with her book Indigo Wilde and the Creatures at Jellybean Crescent, published by Hodder Children’s Books.

Celebrating highly illustrated fiction, the award is run by The Alligator’s Mouth bookshop and the Bright Agency, in association with Gardners Books. Pippa Curnick was awarded The Alligator’s Mouth trophy during a special awards ceremony
at The Bright Agency on Thursday 7 th July, attended by publishers, authors and industry members.

Speaking about her win, author and illustrator Pippa Curnick said Indigo Wilde was about accepting other people's differences, and she was grateful to the judges for recognising this.

Sophie Henn, winner of the 2021 award with Pizazz (Simon & Schuster Children's UK), was a judge for the 2022 award, and commented; ‘It was super tough picking just one book from such a brilliant shortlist but in Indigo Wilde Pippa combines her brilliant text and glorious illustrations to such effect that you just can't help but jump in and be swept along on this hilarious and fantastical adventure! A wonderful winner! The Alligator's Mouth Award is truly special, celebrating the wonder that is illustrated fiction, an area that is often overlooked and even undervalued. But these books provide a vital link in a reader's journey, they support those who are struggling with reading and even convert non readers into readers. And they demonstrate that, when done well, combining pictures with words creates absolute magic.'

Alongside Sophie Henn, the panel of children’s book experts who picked the winning title included; the winner was selected by judges including; award-winning author Joseph Elliott; rapping teacher and literacy advocate MC Grammar; reading consultant & book blogger Jo Cummins (Library Girl & Book Boy); and co-owners of The Alligator’s Mouth children’s bookshop, Margaret Wallace-Jones and Tony West.

Margaret Wallace-Jones and Tony West commented: ‘Huge thanks to all the publishers, authors and illustrators who have contributed to this year's shortlist. It was a strong field with a worthy winner which embodies everything we are looking for in The Alligator's Mouth Award. Indigo Wilde is a wonderful, colourful bestiary of a book that children up and down the country will be thrilled to investigate. Indigo and her brother Quigley are funny, plucky and resourceful in a houseful of increasingly entertaining chaos.This is illustrated fiction at its brightest and best and we love it!’.

Videos of special readings and activities by the shortlisted authors and illustrators were
released on Twitter and can be viewed on YouTube here:

The award was founded in 2018 by The Alligator’s Mouth in partnership with The Bright
Agency with the aim of championing and celebrating highly illustrated fiction for children 
aged 6-8-years-old.

This year, the award is also working with Fun Kids, the UK’s only National radio station for 6-12 years old, and Coram Beanstalk, the national reading charity, to run a special competition giving school libraries a chance to win the longlisted titles. Fun Kids radio will also be doing live interviews with Pippa Curnick on the night of the award, to play on all Fun Kid radio platforms in the coming weeks.

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 children 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: / 020 8948 6775
The Bright Agency, Katie Blagden: / 020 7326 9140

Update 10th March 2022

Arabella Stein steps down as judge for the Alligator's Mouth Award

Arabella Stein is stepping down as a judge for The Alligator’s Mouth Award for highly illustrated early fiction. After serving for four years as a judge, Arabella is resigning due to the recent launch of Bright Literary, who will represent authors eligible for the award.


Arabella said; ‘Highly illustrated fiction is hugely important for children learning to read independently, and at Bright we have always championed the creators of these books. With the launch of Bright Literary, I feel that removing myself from the judging process is the best way to ensure impartiality for all authors and illustrators submitting to the competition. I’m sad to be stepping down, but thrilled that the Bright Agency will continue to support the Alligator’s Mouth Bookshop in running this important award, ensuring recognition for these wonderful creators, and celebrating the very best of these books.’

Arabella Stein is the Global Head of Publishing at the Bright Agency, and the launch of Bright Literary is the most recent division under her direction. She was pivotal in founding the Alligator’s Mouth Award in 2018 alongside Margaret Wallace-Jones and Tony West of The Alligator’s Mouth bookshop.

Previous Winners and Shortlists

WINNER 2021:

Pizazz by Sophy Henn

Simon & Schuster


WINNER 2020:

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

David Fickling Books


WINNER 2019:

Nice Work for

The Cat and the King

by Nick Sharratt

Alison Green Books

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