2020 An Post Irish Book Awards Shortlists

The shortlists for the 2020 An Post Irish Book Awards have been announced. The awards cover a wide range of genres and ages. I’ll focus on the youth and teen awards here, and you can find the entire list on the Irish Times website. Here are the shortlisted titles in the youth and teen categories:


The Dead Zoo by Peter Donnelly

The Great Irish Farm Book by Darragh McCullough, illustrated by Sally Caulwell

The Haunted Lake by PJ Lynch

What We’ll Build by Oliver Jeffers

While We Can’t Hug by Eoin McLaughlin, illustrated by Polly Dunbar

Will You Be My Friend? by Sam McBratney, illustrated by Anita Jeram


The Boldness of Betty by Anna Carey

Break the Mould: How to Take Your Place in the World

Break the Mould by Sinéad Burke, illustrated by Natalie Byrne

Girls Play Too: Inspiring Stories of Irish Sportswomen by Jacqui Hurley, illustrated by Sinead Colleran, Rachel Corcoran, Jennifer Farley, Jennifer Murphy and Lauren O’Neill

Is There Anybody Out There?

Is There Anybody Out There? by Dara Ó Briain

The Miracle on Ebenezer Street

Miracle on Ebenezer Street by Catherine Doyle

The Story of Croke Park by Mícheál Ó Muircheartaigh, illustrated by Graham Corcoran


The Falling in Love Montage by Ciara Smyth

The Gone Book

The Gone Book by Helena Close

Hope Against Hope

Hope Against Hope by Sheena Wilkinson

On Midnight Beach

On Midnight Beach by Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick

Queen of Coin and Whispers by Helen Corcoran

Savage Her Reply

Savage Her Reply by Deirdre Sullivan, illustrated by Karen Vaughan

Donut Feed the Squirrels by Mika Song

Cover image of Donut Feed the Squirrels

Donut Feed the Squirrels by Mika Song (9781984895837)

Norma and Belly are squirrels who live in a large tree together. When Norma tries to make pancakes for breakfast, she burns them so badly that not even Belly can eat them. Then they smell something even sweeter coming from a food truck nearby: donuts! They try collecting nuts to trade for a donut, but the man in the truck squirts them with water instead. It’s time for a cunning plan that will need bravery, dexterity, cooking skills and a getaway car! They leave a real mess behind, but also one great idea that inspires a new donut flavor: sweet chestnut.

This graphic novel for elementary-aged readers is a real treat! The entire story is told in dialogue that is minimal and full of silliness. This creates a fast read, speedy and racing ahead of the reader, keeping on great pun in front. The book is full of squirrel ingenuity too and a sense that great ideas can come from anywhere, as well as a skilled getaway driver.

Screamingly funny at times and wildly silly, this graphic novel’s illustrations use white space cleverly. The expressions on the squirrels’ faces are marvelously emotive, their ears and eyebrows moving around, their mouths often open in surprise, and their eyes always thinking of something new to do.

Nutty and sweet, this is a marvelous read sure to appeal to those who love furry critters with their donuts. Appropriate for ages 7-11.

Reviewed from e-galley provided by Random House Graphic.