The Readings Children’s Book Prize


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.

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. 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). Find all of their winning books here.

The Readings Children’s Book Prize in 2019

The winner of the 2019 Readings Children’s Book Prize is Carly Nugent for The Peacock Detectives.

Carly’s book was chosen from a shortlist of six, and she will receive prize money of $3000.

Staff judges for this year include Leanne Hall (Readings Kids), Pilgrim Hodgson (Readings Kids), Freya Howarth (Readings St Kilda) and Bianca Looney (Readings Kids).

Our 2019 guest judge is Zana Fraillon. She is a passionate advocate for human rights and often explores such themes in her books for children and teens. In 2018, she won the Amnesty CILIP Honour award for her young adult novel, The Bone Sparrow, which also won the inaugural Readings Young Adult Book Prize. Her latest work is the picture book Wisp.

For the full judges' report, click here.

Eligibility Guidelines for 2020

  • 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 2020 Prize, books must have been first published between 1 January 2019 and 31 December 2019.
  • Authors who are employed by Readings during the judging period for each year are not eligible for the Prize. For the 2020 Prize round, this period is from 1 January 2019, through to 30 April 2020.

Entry Guidelines for 2020

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