2019 Irish Book Awards Shortlist

The shortlists for the 2019 An Post Irish Book Awards have been announced. There are three categories specifically for books for youth. Here are the shortlists in those categories:


123 Ireland! Boot: Small Robot Big Adventure

123 Ireland! by Aoife Dooley

Boot: Small Robot, Big Adventure by Shane Hegarty, illustrated by Ben Mantle

Don't Worry, Little Crab The President's Surprise

Don’t Worry Little Crab by Chris Haughton

The President’s Surprise by Peter Donnelly

The high five by Niall Breslin Tiny and Teeny by Chris Judge

Take Five by Niall Breslin, illustrated by Sheena Dempsey

Tiny and Teeny by Chris Judge



Family Fun Unplugged Gordon's Game

Family Fun Unplugged by Peter Cosgrove

Gordon’s Game by Gordon D’Arcy and Paul Howard

Lily at Lissadell The Lost Tide Warriors (Storm Keeper, #2)

Lily at Lissadell by Judi Curtin

The Lost Tide Warriors by Catherine Doyle

Shooting For the Stars: My Journey to Become Ireland's First Astronaut A Strange Kind of Brave

Shooting for the Stars: My Journey to Become Ireland’s First Astronaut by Norah Patten, illustrated by Jennifer Farley

A Strange Kind of Brave by Sarah Moore Fitzgerald



All the Bad Apples All the Invisible Things

All the Bad Apples by Moira Fowley-Doyle

All the Invisible Things by Orlagh Collins

The M Word Other Words for Smoke

The M Word by Brian Conaghan

Other Words for Smoke by Sarah Maria Griffin

Perfectly Preventable Deaths Toffee

Perfectly Preventable Deaths by Deirdre Sullivan

Toffee by Sarah Crossan


Review: The Best at It by Maulik Pancholy

The Best at It by Maulik Pancholy

The Best at It by Maulik Pancholy (9780062866417)

Rahul just wants to be the best at something, anything. But he’s skinny and the target of Brent, one of the biggest bullies at school. He’s also carrying the secret that he’s gay. Brent taunts Rahul into trying out for the football team, which ends up with Rahul not making the team and nursing a hurt ankle. Meanwhile, Brent has figured out Rahul’s secret when Rahul looks a bit too long at Justine in class. Rahul’s best friend Chelsea tries to get Rahul to understand how amazing he is, even if he’s not the best at something. As Rahul searches for his niche, he finds himself getting more anxious and his nightly rituals are less soothing. Whatever Rahul discovers about himself he also realizes that his Indian-American family and his friends will be there to cheer him on, no matter who he is.

Pancholy, an Indian-American actor, has written a compelling and heart-wrenching middle grade novel that deserves applause. He captures the angst of a kid who is different from the straight white kids in his school and who is trying desperately to fit in with them. Pancholy grapples in this book with many large themes, all of which fit with Rahul’s story. There is the bullying of LGBTQIA+ children at school. He addresses racism in casting and racism towards anyone brown-skinned or non-white. He takes these issues on directly, showing how standing up to bullies and racism is the best course of action.

Rahul is a great protagonist. He has support from an extended family as well as a best friend. It is a joy to see a middle grade book with a gay protagonist who is supported and loved by his family and friends. In fact, the book shows that sometimes it is the child who is torn up about coming out while their family and friends may have known for some time.

A great read from a multi-talented debut middle-grade author. Appropriate for ages 9-12.

Reviewed from e-galley provided by Knopf Books for Young Readers.