The Alligator's Mouth Award 
for illustrated early fiction 

in partnership with the Bright Agency and Gardners Books

Update 12th May 2022

Shortlist Announced for the Alligator's Mouth Award 2022

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Shortlist for The Alligator’s Mouth Award 2022 announced


  • Dapo Adeola, Swapna Haddow and Sheena Dempsey among authors and illustrators of the five longlisted titles 

  • Official partner Gardners offer independent bookshops up to 50% discount on shortlisted titles 

  • Fun Kids Radio and Coram Beanstalk partner with the award to run school’s competition, open now

  Five books have been shortlisted for The Alligator’s Mouth Award 2022, which champions both authors and illustrators of highly illustrated children’s fiction. Now in its fourth 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 shortlist was selected by a judging panel of children’s book experts, including award-winning author Joseph Elliott, who commented: “With all that's going on in the world right now, the power of books is more important than ever. Children's books entertain, inspire, and provide a safe space to escape to, which is often exactly what we need. The books on this list are exceptional, and it's a joy to be able to celebrate them all.” 

The full shortlist for The Alligator’s Mouth Award 2022:


  • Bad Panda written by Swapna Haddow, illustrated by Sheena Dempsey, published by Faber Children’s. 

  • Indigo Wilde and the Creatures at Jellybean Crescent written and illustrated by Pippa Curnick, published by Hodder Children’s Books. 

  • Kate on the Case written and illustrated by Hannah Peck, published by Piccadilly Press. 

  • Space Detectives written by Mark Powers, illustrated by Dapo Adeola, published by Bloomsbury. 

  • The Girl Who Talked to Trees, written by Natasha Farrant, illustrated by Lydia Corry, published by Zephyr, Head of Zeus. 

  Alongside Joseph Elliott, the shortlist was selected by judges including: author-illustrator Sophy Henn, winner of the 2021 award with Pizazz (Simon & Schuster Children's UK); 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. 

Tony West and Margaret Wallace-Jones of The Alligator's Mouth said: “We're so happy to announce this fantastically entertaining shortlist. These books are witty, exciting and beautiful to look at, and we know that they will thrill and enchant children. This is how lifelong readers are made - congratulations and thanks to the hugely talented and creative authors and illustrators for producing such brilliant books.”

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. The competition is live until Friday 27th May, and schools can find out more and enter via the Coram Beanstalk site here: 

The winner will be announced at a special awards ceremony in July 2022.

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

WIN The Alligator's Mouth Award Longlist for your school!
  Coram Beanstalk, The Alligator's Mouth Book Shop and The Bright Agency are offering schools the opportunity to win a set of the ten books longlisted for The Alligator’s Mouth Award 2022, which champions both authors and illustrators of highly illustrated children’s fiction. Now in its fourth 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.

To nominate a UK based school to win a set of these ten longlisted books for their school library, just complete the short entry form before midnight on Friday 27th May.

Enter Here

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

No product


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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