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Nine children’s books – described as "original and satisfying books that demonstrate the confidence that exists in children’s writing" - have been shortlisted for the 2004 Nestlé Smarties Book Prize.

The books were selected by a panel of five judges, who are last year’s winner Sally Gardner and journalists Libby Purves, Mark Lawson, Geraldine Brennan, chaired by Julia Eccleshare.

Julia commented: "In a strong set of entries, these books stood out for the sheer quality and originality of their story-telling.

"This year’s list is a healthy mix of new voices and well-established authors including past Nestlé Smarties winners Geraldine McCaughrean and Eva Ibbotson."

"The judges were particularly impressed by the authors’ confidence in experimenting with new ideas, styles and forms of story-telling. Without a doubt, this shortlist shows the high quality of contemporary writing for children today," she said.

The shortlist now goes to the toughest critics of all, the Nestlé Smarties children’s judging panel. Schools around the UK will take part in the judging process to decide the winners, who will be announced on Wednesday December 8th at a ceremony at the British Library.

This is the 20th anniversary of the Nestlé Smarties Book Prize, which celebrates the very best in children’s literature. An estimated half a million schoolchildren have been involved in choosing over one hundred books which have been awarded prizes in one of the UK’s longest-running children’s book awards.

The 2004 Nestlé Smarties Book Prize shortlist is:

Age 5 and under
Mini Grey: Biscuit Bear (Jonathan Cape)
Neal Layton: Bartholomew and the Bug (Hodder)
Liz Pichon: My Big Brother Boris (Scholastic)

Age 6 – 8
Malorie Blackman: Cloud Busting (Doubleday)
Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell: Fergus Crane (Doubleday)
Geraldine McCaughrean: Smile! (OUP)

Age 9 – 11
Eva Ibbotson: The Star of Kazan (Macmillan)
Sally Grindley: Spilled Water (Bloomsbury)
Mal Peet: Keeper (Walker)


Notes to editors:

The Nestlé Smarties Book Prize is sponsored by Nestlé UK Ltd, one of the UK’s largest food manufacturers and a major supporter of charities that help children and teenagers.

For further information please contact:
Penny Clifton/Gemma Merton
Spreckley Partners Ltd
Tel: 020 7388 9988

Hannah Rutland, Booktrust
Tel: 020 8516 2986

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of Spreckley Partners in the following categories: Children & Teenagers, Entertainment & Arts, Women's Interest & Beauty, Education & Human Resources, for more information visit