Waterstones Children’s Book Prize 2012 Winners announced !

Aardman Pirate Artist Strikes Picture Book Gold



Jonny Duddle, a concept artist for the new Aardman Animation film, The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists staring Hugh Grant and Salma Hayek, has won one of the most valuable and prestigious children’s book awards in the country, for his picture book The Pirates Next Door.

Announced at an evening ceremony on Wednesday 28th March at Waterstones Piccadilly, The Pirates Next Door was crowned overall winner of the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize 2012, after winning the ‘Best Picture Book’ category earlier in the evening. Fending off stiff competition from two other category winners (‘Best Fiction for 5-12s’ and ‘Best Book for Teenagers’), it was a good day for Duddle – whose vivid tale of a family of swashbuckling pirates who move to the quiet seaside town of Dull-On-Sea – claimed the top prize on the same day as the film’s release.

Pirates are something of a preoccupation for Duddle: this is his second picture book pirate adventure, following the success of his first, The Pirate Cruncher. His inspiration came, in part, from the year the author spent working on a square-rigger vessel, and his work as an artist on the Pirates of the Caribbean computer game.

The Waterstones Children’s Book Prize celebrates new and emerging talent in children’s writing. Announcing the award, Melissa Cox, Children’s Buyer at Waterstones, described the book as a thoroughly deserving winner: “The Pirates Next Door is full of the anarchic wit and invention children love in a picture book. It’s fresh and fun and has been a huge hit in Waterstones’ shops across the country, and had an incredible reception from booksellers, parents and, most importantly, children. Jonny is a huge new talent in the picture book field.”

Earlier in the evening, last year’s Waterstones Children’s Book Prize winner, Sita Brahmachari, presented Liz Pichon with the award for ‘Best Fiction for 5-12s’ for her “hilarious” account of a boy’s daily travails in The Brilliant World of Tom Gates; and Jenny Downham picked up the ‘Best Book for Teenagers’ gong for her uncompromising novel of teenage love and family loyalty, You Against Me, which deals with the issue of date rape.

Melissa Cox went on to say: “It was tough picking the category winners, with six excellent books in each. Liz Pichon’s The Brilliant World of Tom Gates won for 5-12s with its perfect marrying of text and illustrations, proving ever popular with children. It’s terrifically funny – it had us all in stitches!”

“We awarded Jenny Downham’s You Against Me the prize for ‘Best Book for Teenagers’ for its unique story, sensitively told. Downham is not afraid to tackle risky, topical themes, and she does so with poise and skill.”

The importance and high calibre of children’s publishing was commented on by James Daunt, Waterstones’ Managing Director: “The books we read in our formative years are of crucial importance. Our prize recognises this fact, championing exciting new writing and illustration and bringing the classics of the future to a huge audience.”

As category winners, Duddle, Pichon and Downham each received a cheque for £2,000 with Duddle, as the overall winner, picking up an additional £3,000, making this one of the most valuable prizes for children’s writing in the UK. The winning authors will also see a significant boost in sales, and the promise of an ongoing commitment to their writing career from all 295 Waterstones branches nationwide.

Notes on the three category winners for 2012:

Winner of the ‘Waterstones Children’s Book Prize’ and ‘Best Picture Book’:

The Pirates Next Door by Jonny Duddle (Templar Publishing)

The Jolley-Rogers – a pirate family, are moving to Dull-on-Sea, a quiet seaside town where rumours spread quickly. Defying the grown-ups, Matilda from next door decides to become friends with the youngest pirate son. When the Jolley-Rogers leave, the town discovers they were wrong to assume the worst – the pirate clan have buried treasure in everyone’s gardens.

About the Author

Jonny Duddle is an illustrator and concept artist. He wrote and illustrated the hugely successful picture book, The Pirate-Cruncher, which was longlisted for the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal. He also illustrated the cover for Nation by Terry Pratchett, which was shortlisted for Best Children’s Illustrated Book at the English Association Book Awards. As a leading computer games illustrator, Jonny’s work has been used by Sony, Warner Brothers, Vista and Universal. He also lectures in Animation and VFX at Staffordshire University. Jonny lives in Mold, North Wales with his wife and young family.

Winner of ‘Best Fiction for 5-12s’:

The Brilliant World of Tom Gates by L. Pichon (Scholastic)

Tom Gates never means to get into trouble but somehow trouble always seems to find him. When he’s not winding up his sister, he’s busy practising with his band, Dog Zombies, or doodling in his exercise book. With so many distractions, who can blame him for not concentrating in class? Written in diary style (complete with doodles) this is a story about family life, the perils of school and how best to wind up your annoying older sister. The Brilliant World of Tom Gates is also the winner of the Roald Dahl Funny Prize, 2011.

About the Author

Liz Pichon studied graphic design at Middlesex Polytechnic and Camberwell School of Art in London. Her work has been used on many different products all over the world, from beach towels for Marks & Spencer to record covers for Jive Records. Liz has previously written picture books for children including, My Big Brother Boris, which won the Smarties Book Prize Silver Award. The Brilliant World of Tom Gates is Liz’s first fiction book for older children. Liz lives in Brighton with her husband and children.

Winner of ‘Best Book for Teenagers’:

You Against Me by Jenny Downham (David Fickling Books)

Mikey and Ellie come from two very different worlds; one lives in a high rise block of flats, the other in a luxurious house with a garden behind a security gate. When Mikey’s sister claims that Ellie’s brother assaulted her, their two worlds collide. Each is forced to choose where their loyalties lie – and to decide whether blood ties are stronger than all-consuming teenage love.

About the Author

Jenny Downham was an actress for many years before concentrating on writing full-time. Her debut book Before I Die received widespread critical acclaim and has sold over 250,000 copies world-wide. Jenny has two sons, and lives in London.

The complete 2012 shortlist: 

Picture Books:

1.      No! by Marta Altés (Child’s Play)

2.      I Don’t Want to be a Pea! by Ann Bonwill & Simon Rickerty (Oxford University Press)

3.      The Pirates Next Door by Jonny Duddle (Templar Publishing)

4.      A Bit Lost by Chris Haughton (Walker)

5.      I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen (Walker)

6.      Good Little Wolf by Nadia Shireen (Jonathan Cape)

Fiction 5-12

7.      The Windvale Sprites by Mackenzie Crook (Faber and Faber)

8.      Muncle Trogg by Janet Foxley (Chicken House)

9.      Sky Hawk by Gill Lewis (Oxford University Press)

10.  The Brilliant World of Tom Gates by L. Pichon (Scholastic)

11.  Milo and the Restart Button by Alan Silberberg (Simon & Schuster)

12.  Claude in the City by Alex T. Smith (Hodder Children’s Books)


13.  You Against Me by Jenny Downham (David Fickling Books)

14.  Being Billy by Phil Earle (Penguin)

15.  Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson (Simon & Schuster)

16.  My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece by Annabel Pitcher (Orion)

17.  Divergent by Veronica Roth (HarperCollins Children’s Books)

18.  Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys (Penguin)

Previous winners of the prize include: The Diamond of Drury Lane by Julia Golding; Ways to Live Forever by Sally Nicholls; Thirteen Treasures by Michelle Harrison; The Great Hamster Massacre by Katie Davies and last year’s winner Artichoke Hearts by Sita Brahmachari.

The Waterstones business is the UK’s leading high street bookseller, operating through 295 shops across the UK and Ireland, employing over 4,000 people. The majority of these shops are operated under the Waterstones brand, but the company also owns and operates the famous booksellers Hatchard’s in London and Hodges Figgis in Dublin. Waterstones is the only national specialist book retailer of scale in the UK, with the average sized shop merchandising a range of around 30,000 individual books, with 200,000 titles in the largest shop. Waterstones was acquired by A&NN Group, an investment subsidiary of the family trust associated with international investor and businessman, Alexander Mamut, from HMV Group PLC on 29th June 2011.

The Waterstones Children’s Book Prize 2012 was announced on Wednesday 28th March at an evening reception held at Waterstones Piccadilly, the biggest book shop in Europe.

For further information, please visit: www.waterstones.com/wcbp



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