The shortlist for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize have been announced for 2012. Six books are shortlisted in each of three categories – picture books, fiction for 5 to 12 year olds, and books for teens.

Rabbityness is a debut picture book by author/illustrator Jo Empson

Rabbityness is a debut picture book by author/illustrator Jo Empson

The Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize was first awarded in 2005 by the bookchain that shares its name (though for the first two years of the Prize’s existence it was know as the Ottakar Children’s Book Prize before those stores were rebranded). Uniquely, the Prize is only open to authors who have published no more than three books, with the aim of uncovering hidden talent in children’s writing.

Much of the initial media attention has focused on Geoff Rodkey, whose debut novel The Chronicles of Egg: Deadweather and Sunrise has been nominated in the 5 to 12 category. Rodkey is an Emmy-nominated screenwriter whose writing credits included the animated series Beavis and Butt-head and comedy film Daddy Day Care. 

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