The Readings Children’s Book Prize


Jo Sandhu wins the 2018 Readings Children’s Book Prize

Jo Sandhu has been named the winner of this year’s Readings Children’s Book Prize for her thrilling prehistoric adventure, Tarin of the Mammoths: The Exile. As the winner, Sandhu will receive $3,000 in prize money.

Kim Gruschow, Chair of the judging panel, says: ‘Jo Sandhu’s captivating and cinematic middle-fiction novel, set 30,000 years ago in Lapland, Finland is a fitting winner. This is an action-packed and unputdownable Stone Age epic for ages 8 to 12 that is guaranteed to have readers on the edge of their seats.‘

You can read the full judges’ report here.

Tarin of the Mammoths: The Exile is the first book in a trilogy and we’re delighted to offer all three books in a specially priced pack for $39.99 (was $50.97).

Congratulations again to the five authors who were shortlisted alongside Sandhu: Jessica Townsend, Tamara Moss, Matilda Woods, Jaclyn Moriarty and Campbell Whyte. You can read individual judges' comments for each of the shortlisted titles here.

The Readings Children’s Book Prize in 2019

The Readings Children’s Book Prize was established in 2014 and recognises the best new Australian books written for children aged 5 to 12. The Prize celebrates books that families love reading together, and aims to raise the profile of debut and on-the-rise Australian authors that we believe could make an important contribution to the rich variety of Australian publishing. The Prize is awarded to the book which we believe children will love best.

Every year, a shortlist of six titles is selected by a revolving panel of Readings staff. Once the shortlist has been decided, a guest judge then joins the panel to select a winner. In 2019, the winning author will receive prize money of $3000.

2019 judges include Leanne Hall (Readings Kids), Pilgrim Hodgson (Readings Kids), Freya Howarth (Readings St Kilda) and Bianca Looney (Readings Kids).

Eligibility Guidelines for 2019

  • 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.
  • Books published only in e-book form are not eligible to be entered.
  • Self-published works are not eligible to be entered.
  • 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 2019 Prize, books must have been first published between 1 January 2018 and 31 December 2018.
  • Authors who are employed by Readings during the judging period for each year are not eligible for the Prize. For the 2019 Prize round, this period is from 1 January 2018, through to 30 April 2018.

Entry Guidelines for 2019

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