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Costa Children's Book Award 2021

Congratulations to Manjeet Mann, winner of the Costa Children's Book Award 2021! Read on for more about her fascinating verse novel, The Crossing and the other three fantastic books from this year's shortlist. Plus we have news about the award and some previous award winners too.

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Winner and Shortlist
Previous Costa Children's Winners

Costa Children's Book Award 2021: Costa Children's Book Award 2021

Winner: The Crossing

A trailblazing new novel about two teenagers from opposite worlds; The Crossing is a profound story of hope, grief, and the very real tragedies of the refugee crisis. Natalie's world is falling apart. She's just lost her mum and her brother marches the streets of Dover full of hate and anger. Swimming is her only refuge. Sammy has fled his ...

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Shortlisted Books

The Winner of Costa Children's Book Award, 2021, is The Crossing by Manjeet Mann, published by Penguin Children's Books.

The judges said: ‘We all agreed this brilliant book is a wonder and will enrich all who read it.’

A powerful, often heart wrenching narrative poem, the premise of this fascinating book is two teenagers from opposite sides of the world who form a connection through odd circumstances. Our expert reviewer, Tricia Adams said "This is such a profound story of hope, grief, and strength -  I do recommend it to all. Be aware you will weep, too." Read Tricia's full review here, and download the first chapter of the story.

The Shortlist for the Costa Children's Book Award included:

Maggie Blue and the Dark World by Anna Goodall (Guppy Books)

The Midnight Guardians by Ross Montgomery (Walker Books)

The Boy Who Made Everyone Laugh by Helen Rutter (Scholastic UK)

There were 194 entries for the Costa Children's Book Award, and this year the judges were:

Gill Edwards, Owner, The Little Ripon Bookshop

Smriti Halls, Author

Lucas Maxwell, School Librarian, Writer and Podcaster

In summary, the judges said: ‘This shortlist encompasses books with enormous courage, humour and hope and will have readers hooked.’

The winner of the Children's Book Category 2020 was Voyage of the Sparrowhawk, Natasha Farrant's thrilling rollercoaster of an adventure full of emotion and heart. The judges said ‘We loved everything about this remarkable, special, delightful book – pure heavenly escapism and a purely joyful read.’ You can download an extract and read our full review here.

The winners of the five categories of the Costa Book Awards - First Novel, Novel, Biography, Poetry and Children’s Book - were announced on BBC Radio 4's Front Row on Tuesday 4 January 2022 and each received a £5,000 prize. The category winners then go forward into the competition to win the overall Costa Book of the Year 2021 which will be announced on Tuesday 1st February 2022, and the overall winner will receive a £30,000 prize. 

2021 marks the 50th year of the Awards. Originally established in 1971, Costa Coffee has been running the UK’s most prestigious book prize since 2006.

About Costa Children's Book Award

The Costa Book Awards is the only prize which places children’s books alongside adult books in this way. It is one of the UK's most prestigious and popular literary prizes and recognises some of the most enjoyable books of the year, written by authors based in the UK and Ireland. Since their launch in 1971, the awards have rewarded a wide range of excellent books and authors across all genres.

You can read more about the winning books in the other categories on our sister site, LoveReading - Costa Book Awards 2020.

For more information visit and keep up with the latest news @CostaBookAwards

Costa Children's Book Award Archive

Click on a year below to view past years from this award.