The Readings Children’s Book Prize


Matilda Woods wins the Readings Children’s Book Prize 2020

The winner of this year’s Readings Children’s Book Prize is The Girl, The Cat & the Navigator by Matilda Woods! This thrilling high-seas tale will enchant readers of ages 7–12 years.

The judging panel commented: “Reminiscent of a classic folktale, this versatile and beautifully packaged book features vivid illustrations from artist Anuska Allepuz. … We were unanimous in our love for this book. Woods has crafted a timeless fairytale that pays tribute to bravery, kindness, and the power of making your own family.”

You can read the full judges' report here.

Congratulations again to the five authors who were shortlisted alongside Woods: Remy Lai (Pie in the Sky), Bren MacDibble (The Dog Runner), Helen Milroy (Wombat, Mudlark & Other Stories), Renée Treml (Sherlock Bones and the Natural History Mystery), and Edwina Wyatt (The Secrets of Magnolia Moon).

This is the second time Woods has been shortlisted for this prize. Her first book, The Boy, the Bird & the Coffin Maker, was shortlisted in 2018, and we are pleased to offer both titles in one specially priced pack for $26.95 (was $29.98).

About the Readings Children’s Book Prize

The Readings Children’s Book Prize was established in 2014 and celebrates exciting new contributions to Australian children’s literature from early career authors and illustrators. The judges consider books written for children aged 5 to 12. The prize is awarded to the book which we believe children will love best.

Previous winners of the Readings Children’s Book Prize include Julie Hunt (2014), Trace Balla (2015), J.C. Jones (2016), Karen Foxlee (2017), Jo Sandhu (2018) and Carly Nugent (2019).

Eligibility Guidelines for 2021

  • The Readings Children’s Book Prize is open to a work of published fiction, written for children aged 5–12 .
  • The author must be an Australian citizen or hold permanent residency at the time of entry.
  • To be eligible for the Prize, the author should have published no more than three children’s books in this category (Junior/Middle Fiction for ages 5-12). Picture books and YA novels are not eligible and will not be counted. A series published within a 12-month period is considered as one book.
  • Second or subsequent books in a series will not be considered.
  • Graphic novels, or illustrated narratives, are eligible for entry.
  • Books of co-authorship, including books written by an author and illustrator, will be eligible.
  • If the winning book has been written by an author and an illustrator it will be judged on a case by case basis as to whether they will jointly win the Prize and share the prize money (if available that year).
  • Books published only in e-book form are not eligible to be entered.
  • Self-published works are not eligible to be entered.
  • The work must be published or distributed in Australia through an Australian publisher or the Australian publishing wing of an international publisher as recognised by Readings. Please note that these categories of publisher do not include digital or print-on-demand printers or publishers based in Australia.
  • Entries must be published in English.
  • Authors must be living at the date of publication.
  • Authors who win the Readings Children’s Book Prize will no longer be eligible for this Prize in future years.
  • To be eligible for the 2021 Prize, books must have been first published between 1 January 2020 and 31 December 2020.
  • Authors who are employed by Readings during the judging period for each year are not eligible for the Prize. For the 2021 Prize round, this period is from 1 January 2020, through to 30 April 2021.

Entry Guidelines for 2021

There is no process for entering the Prize. The judging panel will decide on eligible titles and invite respective publishers to submit no more than three reading copies of the nominated book for Prize consideration throughout the eligibility period. Further copies may be requested if the book is shortlisted.


Enquiries should be directed to the Prize Manager Bronte Coates at