This category rewards the entry that demonstrates the highest standards of storytelling, captivating readers from start to finish with a well-crafted plot, exceptional writing and engaging characters. It must be perfectly pitched for the interests and average reading ability of children aged five-to-nine. 

Note: Illustrated titles are eligible..


  • Storytelling: A story with a strong beginning, well-crafted and paced plot and satisfying ending 

  • Prose Clear, engaging and age-appropriate language

  • Characters: Compelling and convincing characters

  • World: Whether rooted in reality or steeped in fantasy, the author has created a rich, immersive and believable world that draws the reader in. 

  • Originality e.g. of plot/ world/ character/ style/ perspective

  • Diversity and respectful representation: People and experiences are portrayed authentically and with sensitivity, without stereotyping or generalising.

  • Design and layout: Clear, well organised and accessible pages, designed for readability. If used, illustrations or photographs that enhance the reading experience

  • Impact: A pleasurable reading experience overall that leaves a lasting impression