Winners of the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize 2024 announced

Posted on Friday, March 22, 2024
Category: Book Awards

Winners of the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize 2024 announced

Pari Thomson, author of Greenwild: The World Behind The Door, is the Overall Winner of the Waterstones Children's Book Prize for her debut fantasy adventure, as voted for by Waterstones booksellers.

Bea Carvalho, Waterstones Head of Books, said, "Pari Thomson's debut enchanted our booksellers with its sweeping escapism and standard-setting lyrical worldbuilding. At once a fast-paced adventure story and a heartfelt entreaty to care for the natural world, Greenwild is a timeless fantasy tale of friendship, mystery, and the magic and beauty to be found in nature."

Pari said that Kew Gardens helped inspire her story: "I am lucky enough to live near Kew Gardens in London, a place full of sparkling glasshouses and carnivorous plants and lily pads big enough to take a nap on. I have always felt that nature was a little bit magic - and Kew made me ask, what if it was true? What if the natural world all around us was brimming with magic? Greenwild is the answer to that question. Because nature IS magic, if only you look closely enough."

As well as being named Overall winner of the Waterstones Children's Book Prize 2024, Greenwild also won the Younger Reader's Category, with the two other category winners being The Search for the Giant Arctic Jellyfish by Chloe Savage (Illustrated Books) and Kayvion Lewis' Thieves' Gambit (Older Readers).

Now in its 20th year, the Waterstones Children's Book Prize has launched the careers of many much-loved authors and illustrators, including Rob Biddulph, Kiran Milwood Hargrave and Katherine Rundell.  The prize is £5,000 and the promise of ongoing commitment to the winner's writing and illustrating career.

Winning Titles

Overall Winner:  Greenwild is a beautifully illustrated magical door fantasy, filled with thrilling adventures and unmissable characters that will have young readers spellbound. When her daring and charismatic journalist mother vanishes during a work assignment, Daisy runs away from boarding school to find her. Behind a hidden doorway in Kew Gardens she finds another world, filled with plants and bursting with magic, but Daisy soon realises that this beautiful realm is under threat. She must band together with a botanical genius, a boy who can talk to animals, and a cat with an attitude to find her mother and to save this verdant paradise as well as her own world.

Illustrated Category Winner: The Search For The Giant Arctic Jellyfish is a moving tale of grit, endurance and self-belief to inspire young explorers and dreamers. Beautifully illustrated and filled with the wonder and magic of science and nature, Chloe Savage's stunning picture book chronicles a redoubtable scientist's quest to locate the titular sea creature.

Nick Campbell, Waterstones children's buyer, described The Search For The Giant Arctic Jellyfish as "a unique story about insatiable curiosity, taking us on an expedition that we long to believe took place". He added, "It is full of fascinating illustrations that children will pore over and return to, from cutaways to evocative landscapes, and of course the elusive jellyfish that grown-ups never quite spot (or do they?). Infused with mystery, beauty and wit, it is a tale that will spark questions and ignite young imaginations."

Older Readers Category Winner:  Thieves' Gambit is a breathtakingly fast paced and hugely entertaining adventure. Filled with high stakes action, double-crossing enemies and surprising twists, it will hook even the most reluctant reader. Seventeen-year-old Rosalyn Quest was raised by a legendary family of thieves with one rule: trust no one. When her mother is kidnapped, her only chance to save her is to win the Thieves' Gambit - a deadly competition for the world's best thieves, where the victor is granted one wish.

Lucy Jakes, Waterstones children's team, said, "Thieves' Gambit is escapism at its finest! Set at an unrelenting pace, it is a riotously fun action adventure, full of unexpected twists and turns and daring heists. The writing is cinematic, the dialogue snappy, and the romance swoon-worthy. I would defy anybody not to have an absolute blast reading it."