Last week we celebrated as Ed Vere was announced the winner of Oscar’s Book Prize 2019 for his courageous tale, How to be a Lion.
The £5,000 cash prize was awarded to Vere by the prize’s royal patron Princess Beatrice who said to the prize’s entrants, “Thank you for the joy that you bring to young people every single day. We live in such a crazy, hectic world and for a young person it can be a minefield. So, to shower them with something so joyful, I am thrilled to be a part of this prize.”
The tale by Vere, an award-winning children’s author and illustrator, of an unlikely friendship, celebrates individuality and showcases how the power of words can be most powerful of all, highlighting the importance of summoning the courage to speak up for yourself.
Chosen from a shortlist of five titles in a search for the best book for under-fives, Oscar’s Book Prize is a celebration of children’s literature that Amazon, alongside the National Literacy Trust and the London Evening Standard, proudly support.
According to the author, the idea for the book came in the election season of autumn 2016 whilst on a book tour in America. He commented, “Children’s books have the ability to stay with us all our lives, and if we’re going to teach the next generation to be compassionate and empathetic we have to start very young.”
Oscar’s Book Prize was created in memory of Oscar Ashton, a boy who passed away at the age of three and a half from an undetected heart condition. Honouring Oscar’s expansive imagination, the award searches for the best in children’s stories and stories Oscar himself would have loved. The prize is now in its sixth year running.
This year’s judging panel included Children’s Laureate Lauren Child, Brigitte Ricou-Bellan, UK Director of Books at Amazon, Sarah Brown, president of global children’s charity Theirworld and executive chair of the Global Business Coalition for Education, and Oscar’s parents James Ashton and Viveka Alvestrand.