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The Alligator's Mouth Award
in partnership with the Bright Agency and Gardners Books

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Update 16th Nov 2023

Judges Announced for the Alligator's Mouth Award 2024

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  • Elys Dolan returns as a Judge for the 2024 Award

  • Founder of BooksForTopics Alison Leach joins the award as a Judge

  The Alligator’s Mouth Award returns for a sixth year, to celebrate the very best in highly illustrated children’s fiction. Founder of BooksForTopics Alison Leach will be on the judging panel this year, alongside last year’s winner Elys Dolan. Elys won the 2023 award with Rex: Dinosaur in Disguise (Walker Books).


Joining them on the judging panel will be: Librarian and Bookseller rising star Zoey Dixon, award winning author/illustrator Sam Usher, and co-owners of The Alligator’s Mouth children’s bookshop, Margaret Wallace-Jones and Tony West. 


Alison Leach commented: ‘I'm delighted to be on the Alligator's Mouth Award 2024 judging panel. Young illustrated fiction plays a special role in many children’s reading journeys, bridging the gap between picture books and longer chapter books. 

Finding the right book at this stage can be a magical experience that sparks a lifelong love of reading. The Alligator's Mouth Award provides a brilliant platform for showcasing the most exciting and imaginative offerings that authors and illustrators bring to the table for this age group. It's a joy to be one of the judges for next year's award and I look forward to uncovering the gems among the selection that will positively impact children’s reading.’ 


The children’s book prize, launched by The Alligator’s Mouth and The Bright Agency in 2018, celebrates the best books for 6-8-year-olds, and champions authors and illustrators. Books wholesalers, Gardners, who offer independent bookshops a discount on the longlisted and shortlisted titles, will be continuing their support of the award as an official partner. 


Margaret Wallace-Jones and Tony West of The Alligator’s Mouth commented: ‘The judges for our 2024 Award bristle with talent and expertise - with the help of Elys (last year's wonderful winner) and with Sam, Zoey and Alison we will enjoy sifting through the contenders to select some of the best Young Illustrated Fiction to appear in this past year. Our judges understand the originality and imagination needed to create a brilliant story for children at the start of their reading journey. Bring it on!’


Submissions for the 2024 award close Friday 24th November 2023. The award is open to books first published in the English language on a children’s list by a UK publisher between 1st October 2022 and 31st December 2023. To enter the awards, publishers are invited to submit highly illustrated fiction aimed at readers aged 6-8, with illustrations on the majority of internal spreads. 


The longlist will be announced in March 2024, and the shortlist will be announced in May 2024. The winner of the award will be announced in July 2024 and they will receive The Alligator’s Mouth Award trophy. 


For further details please visit:

  Submission guidelines and entry forms can be downloaded here:

  (If you have any issues downloading the files, please email for assistance)

  Key timings:

  • Submissions open Monday 23rd October 2023

  • Submissions close Friday 24th November 2023

  • Longlist announced March 2024

  • Shortlist announced May 2024

  • Winner announced July 2024

Previous Winners and Shortlists

WINNER 2023:

Rex: Dinosaur in Disguise by Elys Dolan (Walker Books)

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WINNER 2022:

Indigo Wilde & the Creatures at Jellybean Crescent by Pippa Curnick

(Hodder Children's Books)


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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