Five children’s books were shortlisted today for the prestigious Oscar’s Book Prize, an annual programme showcasing the best under-fives book of the year. The prize is awarded in memory of Oscar Ashton and in partnership with Amazon, the London Evening Standard and the National Literacy Trust. Oscar Ashton was 3 and a half when he passed away from an undetected heart condition in December 2012. His parents, James Ashton and Viveka Alvestrand, launched the prize to commemorate him – a hunt for the best pre-school book of the year.

Now in its fifth year, Oscar’s Book Prize continues to reward the brilliant creativity of early-years literature and highlight the importance of reading with children.

Shortlisted books this year are:

  1. Lucie Goose by Danny Baker and Pippa Curnick
  2. There’s a Pig Up My Nose by John Dougherty and Laura Hughes
  3. Sunk! by Rob Biddulph
  4. The Secret of Black Rock by Joe Todd Stanton
  5. That Bear Can’t Babysit by Ruth Quayle and Alison Friend

The judging panel includes Brigitte Ricou-Bella, UK Director of Books at Amazon, TV and radio presenter Katie Derham as well as Julia Eccleshare, Children’s Director of the Hay Festival, and Oscar’s parents, James Ashton and Viveka Alvestrand.

Boosting literacy amongst children and young people is a key part of our Amazon in the Community programme. Figures from the National Literary Trust revealed that last year, over a quarter (27.2%) of five year olds did not have the literacy levels expected for their age by the time they started primary school. That’s why in addition to supporting Oscar’s Book Prize, we also partner with Beanstalk, a national literacy charity committed to helping children who struggle with their reading ability and confidence that aims to help 18,000 children by the end of 2018.

The winning author will receive a £5,000 prize from Princess Beatrice, the patron of Oscar’s Book Prize, at an award ceremony due to be held at St James’ Palace later this year.