The Alligator's Mouth Award for illustrated early fiction 

in partnership with the Bright Agency and Gardners Books

Update 18th November 2021

Judges Announced for the Alligator's Mouth Award 2022

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MC Grammar and Sophy Henn join the judging panel for the children’s book prize, alongside author Joseph Elliott and blogger Jo Cummins

The Alligator’s Mouth Award returns for a fourth year, to celebrate the very best in highly illustrated children’s fiction. Rapping teacher and literacy advocate MC Grammar will be on the judging panel this year, alongside last year’s winner Sophy Henn. Sophy won the 2021 award with Pizazz (Simon & Schuster Children's UK).

Joining them on the judging panel will be: award-winning author Joseph Elliott; primaryteacher, reading consultant & book blogger Jo Cummins (Library Girl & Book Boy); co-owners of The Alligator’s Mouth children’s bookshop, Margaret Wallace-Jones and Tony West; and Arabella Stein, Director at The Bright Agency.

MC Grammar commented: ‘As a lifelong reader, being blessed with the opportunity to
celebrate such a brilliant bunch of books is an honour. Reading is the key to discovering the world around us and beyond – a realm where there’s a book for every child, to take them anywhere. Whether it’s a quest for new knowledge; an adventure into their imagination; or simply finding a friend, someone just like them with the right words at the right time – we learn, we laugh, and we live many lives through our favourite characters’ eyes. It’s just magical; and I can’t wait to share this year’s spectacular selection with the world.’


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 offered independent bookshops a discount on the longlisted and shortlisted titles last year, will be continuing their support of the award as an official partner.

This year the award is also working with Fun Kids, the UK’s only National radio station for 6-12 years old, and its podcast Book Worms, a bi-monthly podcast dedicated to books. There will be a special competition running across these platforms, giving children a chance to win books.

Margaret Wallace-Jones and Tony West of The Alligator’s Mouth commented: ‘We're
thrilled that it's Alligator Award time again, and this line up of judges brings together an amazing group of people who truly understand and celebrate the importance of reading for pleasure in this age group. We're so proud to see the award growing, and we're expecting some fantastic submissions this year.’

Arabella Stein of the Bright Agency commented: ‘With the award now in its fourth year, we are very excited to be joined by four more incredible judges with such a range of experience and talent to bring to bear on the selection. We can’t wait to read the submissions, and I’m personally very much looking forward to the publishers’ offerings this year.’

Nigel Wyman from Gardners commented: ‘The work the Alligator’s Mouth Award does championing authors and illustrators in this key middle grade category is simply stellar, so we are delighted to be supporting their campaign for the fourth consecutive year. This age is such an important time in child development, this award is perfect for fuelling budding bookworms with hand-picked illustrated fiction. We can’t wait to see the successful titles this year!’

Submissions for the 2022 award close Friday 26th November 2021. The award is open to books first published in the English language on a children’s list by a UK publisher between 1st October 2020 and 31st December 2021. 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 2022, and the shortlist will be announced in May 2022. The winner of the award will be announced in July 2022 and they will receive The Alligator’s Mouth Award trophy.

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

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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