Welsh-language shorlist for the Tir na n-Og Award 2023 revealed

Welsh-language shorlist for the Tir na n-Og Award 2023 revealed

Welsh-language shortlist revealed for Wales’ oldest children’s book awards – the Tir na n-Og Awards 2023

The Books Council of Wales revealed the Welsh-language shortlists for this year’s Tir na n-Og Awards on S4C’s progamme, Heno, on Thursday, 23 March. The awards celebrate the very best of stories from Wales and stories of Wales published in 2022.

This year’s shortlist celebrates the wide range of different formats published over the last year to inspire young readers. Including story and picture books, humorous rhymes for small children, a graphic novel, short stories and novels – there’s something for everyone.

The Tir na n-Og Awards are the oldest and most popular awards for children’s literature in Wales and are held every year by the Books Council of Wales, sponsored by CILIP Cymru Wales. They celebrate the talents of authors and illustrators who either create original works in Welsh, or who write about authentically Welsh themes or backgrounds through the medium of English.

Some of Wales’ leading authors and illustrators have won the award in previous years, including Manon Steffan Ros, Jac Jones, Caryl Lewis and Gareth F. Williams. The aim is to celebrate reading for pleasure and to inspire reading choices for young readers. Through the awards, children and young people can enjoy and be inspired by stories and writing from or about Wales.

The Welsh-language prize has two categories: Primary (age 4–11) and Secondary (age 11–18).

Primary Age Shortlist

Dros y Môr a’r Mynyddoedd, various authors, illustrated by Elin Manon (Gwasg Carreg Gwalch)
A beautiful collection of international Celtic stories. While each story is unique and different they all have one thing in common – the strong and determined female characters that lead each one.

Dwi Eisiau Bod yn Ddeinosor, Huw Aaron and Luned Aaron (Atebol)
A modern, funny and colourful book that’s full of fun, with an important message – you’re enough just as you are.

Enwogion o Fri: Nye – Bywyd Angerddol Aneurin Bevan, Manon Steffan Ros, illustrated by Valériane Leblond (Llyfrau Broga)
The perfect combination of words and pictures come together to tell the story of a shy young boy from South Wales, who succeeded in helping millions of people through his work to establish one of our national treasures.

Secondary Age Shortlist

Gwlad yr Asyn, Wyn Mason, illustrated by Efa Blosse Mason (Gwasg Carreg Gwalch)
A witty and unusual graphic novel, based on a stage play. It tells the story of a donkey that is used to spending all its time around people, but by the end she comes to question her own identity!

Manawydan Jones: Y Pair Dadeni, Alun Davies (Y Lolfa)
A fantasy adventure full of mystery that crosses the boundary between the real and magical worlds. A modern and fresh twist on the old tales of the Mabinogi, presented for a new generation.

Powell, Manon Steffan Ros (Y Lolfa)
A poignant, important and timely novel that shines a light on a difficult subject – Wales’ role in the slave industry. As we have come to expect from the author, it is the characters who are at the heart of the story throughout.


Independent panels of judges select the shortlists and decide on the winners for the Welsh and English awards each year. This year’s judges on the Welsh-language panel were Morgan Dafydd
(Chair), Sara Yassine, Francesca Sciarrillo, Sioned Dafydd (secondary) and Siôn Edwards (primary), who bring with them a wealth of experience and passion for children’s books.

The Chair of the Welsh-language Panel, Morgan Dafydd, said: Despite the cost of living crisis, from looking at this year’s provision we can see that the book industry continues to hold its ground and that creativity is flourishing. This year we saw a mixture of new names in the world of children’s books alongside more familiar ones. In my third year on the panel I can say with certainty that the standard is very high this year – and in truth it continues to rise every year.”

Helgard Krause, Chief Executive of the Books Council of Wales, said:Congratulations to everyone involved in creating the wonderful books on this year’s shortlist. It’s heartening to see original Welsh-language books in such a range of different formats that will appeal to young readers. I’m really looking forward to discovering which books will take the awards this year.

The English-language shortlist will be announced at 18:30 on Friday, 24 March on the Radio Wales Arts Show.

This year there will be a special category: the Readers’ Choice Award. This award is chosen by children and young people who take part in the Tir na n-Og shadowing scheme. Schools, libraries and other children’s reading groups can register to take part and be unofficial judges to choose a winner from the shortlisted books, with the guidance of the shadowing pack. You can find out how to register on the Books Council’s website.

The winning titles in each category will be announced on Thursday, 1 June at the Urdd Eisteddfod in Llandovery, Carmarthenshire (Welsh-language), and on Friday, 2 June on the Radio Wales Arts Show (English-language).

Bookshops will be holding Tir na n-Og Treasure Hunts over the Easter holidays with the chance for children aged 4–11 to win a £15 book token. Ask your local bookshop for details.

Further information about the awards and the shortlisted titles can be found on the Books Council’s website.

Make it YOUR World Book Day in 2023

Make it YOUR World Book Day in 2023

Make it YOUR World Book Day in 2023

Working in partnership to help more children than ever discover a love of books and reading

The charity World Book Day® is holding its annual celebration on Thursday, 2 March 2023, a day dedicated to ensuring all children can develop a love of reading.

World Book Day will give families and children a huge number of opportunities to mark the day in fun and affordable ways that are meaningful to them – in 2023, it’s YOUR World Book Day!

With reading for pleasure being the single biggest indicator of a child’s future success – more than their family circumstances, their parents’ educational background or their income – it has never been more important to ensure all children can develop a love of reading. World Book Day exists to encourage more children, particularly those from disadvantaged backgrounds, to benefit from a lifelong habit of reading for pleasure.

Supported by long-term sponsor National Book Tokens and working alongside publishers and booksellers, World Book Day distributes over 15 million £1/€1.50 book tokens across the UK and Ireland every year through schools, nurseries, libraries, prisons and other charities. There is no cost involved at all in claiming a £1 World Book Day book.

Cassie Chadderton, CEO of World Book Day commented: Our charity’s mission is to change lives through a love of books and reading. In 2023, as the cost of living crisis puts increasing pressure on families across the UK and Ireland, we are doing everything we can to ensure every child has access to a book at home. With reading for pleasure in decline and at its lowest levels since 2005, this is more important than ever.

“Last year over two million books were given to children by booksellers and publishers, and this year we can’t wait to celebrate with families, communities and schools and see how children make World Book Day their very own this year.”

Helgard Krause, Chief Executive of the Books Council of Wales, said: “Celebrating reading for pleasure and making books accessible to all is at the heart of our work at the Books Council of Wales. I’m so pleased that we’ll be working with our friends at World Book Day and the National Literacy Trust to make books available through their networks this year and I hope that children, young people and their families will find books to entertain and inspire them.”

Jonathan Douglas, CEO at the National Literacy Trust, said: “At the National Literacy Trust, we are committed to making sure every child has access to books, so they can discover the joys of reading. Our research found that having books at home is linked to higher reading frequency and reading enjoyment among children, and yet 1 in 10 children aged 8–18 from disadvantaged backgrounds said that they don’t own a single book of their own at home. We are proud to be working with our friends at World Book Day and the Books Council of Wales to help address this situation and get free books into the hands of children who need them the most.”

The Books Council of Wales will be working in partnership with World Book Day and the National Literacy Trust to distribute over ten thousand free books, in both Welsh and English, to food banks and community projects across Wales. The selection will include £1 World Book Day titles as well as other books for children and young adults to enjoy. Books will be delivered to food banks throughout 2023.

World Book Day activity packs
There is a wide range of educational materials, downloadable activity packs and online assets and tools available for teachers, parents, carers and beyond, to bring reading for pleasure to life for children in exciting and relevant ways www.worldbookday.com/celebrate-world-book-day/

In Wales the Books Council of Wales supports World Book Day, providing bilingual resources for schools, public libraries, bookshops, nursery settings and other organisations; they also commission a new Welsh-language £1 book each year.

Welsh-language or bilingual resources are available at llyfrau.cymru

Bookshops and Retailers
Booksellers across Wales will be taking part in World Book Day 2023, welcoming children, families, schools and local communities to choose a book and discover more about the exciting world of reading. A selection of Welsh-language titles is available to buy with the £1 token. This year’s new Welsh-language title is Gwisg Ffansi Cyw, by Anni Llŷn, which joins Lledrith yn y Llyfrgell, by the same author; Ha Ha Cnec! by author, illustrator and cartoonist Huw Aaron, and Stori Cymru – Iaith a Gwaith by Myrddin ap Dafydd.

The £1 World Book Day tokens can be redeemed for any £1 World Book Day book from Thursday, 16 February to Sunday, 26 March 2023 in bookshops, bookshop chains and participating retailers. Alternatively, they can also be used as a £1 contribution to any other book. The single-use digital token can also be downloaded from the World Book Day website.

Be sure to keep an eye on your local bookshop’s website and social media channels to stay up to date with what’s happening in your area. You can find your local independent bookshop on the Books Council of Wales’ website at Bookshops of Wales | Cyngor Llyfrau Cymru

Visit www.worldbookday.com for more information and come and join the celebration!



Make it YOUR World Book Day in 2023

Publishing success for families’ storybook

Stories of Wales and Africa: Publishing success for families’ storybook

Families and children from the North Wales Africa Society will see their own story in print this year as Y Lolfa prepares to publish The Fish Princess – a story created by the families through workshops with author Casia Wiliam and illustrator Jac Jones.

The project was coordinated by the BLAS programme at Bangor’s Pontio Arts Centre, which has a long-standing relationship with the North Wales Africa Society. It was one of a number of activities which received funding from the Books Council of Wales’ New Audiences Grant in spring 2022.

The Fish Princess was created during a series of workshops with Welsh and African artists, exploring traditional African and Welsh ideas and stories, and different storytelling formats. Children’s author Casia Wiliam then worked with the families to create a brand-new story, taking inspiration from the workshops and weaving African and Welsh traditions and ideas into the narrative. Once the story was complete, illustrator Jac Jones worked with the children and families to explore the characters and how they would look in the finished story.

Welsh publishing house Y Lolfa, with the support of a publishing grant from the Books Council of Wales, will publish the book in both Welsh and English, and it will be available to buy in the spring.

Dr Salamatu J Fada, Director of the North Wales Africa Society, said: “This is one project that brought both the Welsh culture, and some parts of the African cultures of Ghana and Nigeria specifically, together. The families all enjoyed developing the ideas with the guidance of the diverse facilitators who were involved in the project. We are immensely pleased with the process and can’t wait to see the published book. Diolch yn fawr.”

The project also created opportunities for Trainee Tutors to take part and develop their own facilitation skills for community and collaborative projects in the future. Olaitan Olawande and Marie-Pascale were Trainee Tutors as part of the scheme, working with the families to develop their story.

Olaitan said: “It was an amazing experience to see how families worked together to create a story. The input from different generations meant there were some new ideas and concepts that could be created. I think working with families and this process of storytelling allows for open conversations between families; it can provide a space for children and parents to share novel and pre-existing stories whilst also applying them to some real-life challenges. Imagination is limitless and the importance of family can be shown in the story-making process. The published book is one that will go down in history; as the saying goes, ‘it takes a village’ to make something truly amazing.”

Marie-Pascale said: “I’m happy to have been a part of this MARRIAGE OF CULTURES that led to so many smiles and to the cognitive involvement of our children: being tomorrow’s ADULTS that will understand the unifying BEAUTY OF DIVERSITY and uphold it.”

Author Casia Wiliam said: “Together, these families have created a brand-new tale that is full of old magic and fantasy. It weaves together Wales and Ghana, intertwining Welsh and African traditional ideas and narratives. It’s a special story, and I must admit that this has been one of the most fun and exciting projects I have been part of as an author. I can’t wait to hear how the families respond to the book when it is published in Welsh and English in the spring.”

Arwel Jones, Head of Publishing Development at the Books Council of Wales, said: “It’s been wonderful to see this project develop as one of the recipients of the New Audiences Grant. It started as a group of families and children exploring ideas and their imaginations to celebrate and bring together Welsh and African cultures through stories. By the spring there will be a finished book that will be published by Y Lolfa and available in bookshops for families across Wales to enjoy.”

The Books Council of Wales’ New Audiences Grant has awarded funding to 43 different projects to create new opportunities and develop new audiences within the publishing sector in Wales, thanks to support from Creative Wales.

The purpose of the grant is to strengthen and diversify the parts of the publishing industry the Books Council currently supports, and the grants specifically prioritise new publishing ventures, authors and audiences.

On the right track for a good story

Launching a free books scheme for Cambrian Line train passengers

Passengers traveling on the Cambrian Line will be invited to escape into a good book this autumn as the Books Council of Wales and Cambrian Railway Partnership join forces to offer free books to travellers and help the miles speed by.

This pilot programme with the Cambrian Railway Partnership, which will run throughout autumn and winter, celebrates the Books Council’s Quick Reads scheme, which offers a series of short, engaging books for readers of all tastes and reading abilities. Books will be available to collect at Aberystwyth and Machynlleth stations, for readers to either borrow and return either end of their journey, or to keep and continue reading at home.

Angharad Wyn Sinclair, Project Development Manager at the Books Council of Wales said: ‘We are thrilled to be working in partnership with the Cambrian Railway Partnership on this exciting pilot, introducing the Quick Reads titles to passengers and enriching their journeys with a good read! Taking some time out with a book as you travel is a great way to explore the world from the comfort of your train seat.’

Stuart Williams, Chair of the Cambrian Railway Partnership said: ‘We hope our customers will enjoy the books in the Quick Reads scheme, which can be easily picked up from displays in the ticket halls at both Aberystwyth and Machynlleth train stations, thanks to this new partnership with the Books Council.  Train journeys can provide an opportunity to switch off for a while and we hope that this scheme will help our passengers get more out of their train journeys.’

This year’s four new titles are available through the scheme, as well as titles from previous years.  The two new Welsh language titles are Dau Frawd, Dwy Gem: Stori’r Carabangos by Dylan Ebenezer, and Un Noson, by Llio Elain Madocks. The new English language titles are Return to the Sun by Tom Anderson, and The Replacement Centre by Fflur Dafydd.

The Quick Reads series is perfect for readers who may struggle to find the time for reading or who may be less confident in their reading abilities. Typically less than 100 pages long, the Quick Reads titles are designed to offer readers a short, engaging read – perfect for helping passengers make use of some downtime on their journey. Quick Reads is coordinated in Wales by the Books Council of Wales and supported by the Welsh Government.

Season’s Greetings 2022

Season’s Greetings 2022

The Books Council and the Distribution Centre will be closed from Thursday afternoon, 22 December 2022 and will re-open after the holidays on Tuesday, 3 January 2023.

We wish you all a happy and peaceful Christmas.


Reading Well for Teens

Reading Well for Teens

Reading Well for teens supports the mental health and wellbeing of young people between 13 and 18 years old, providing information, advice, and support to help them manage their feelings and cope with tough times.

The books have been chosen and recommended by leading health professionals and co-produced with young people.

The Reading Well scheme has been developed by The Reading Agency in partnership with public libraries across England and Wales, with the Books Council of Wales making a selection of books available in Welsh thanks to funding from the Welsh Government.

Among the 20 titles translated into Welsh are Frankie’s World by Aoife Dooley, a graphic novel offering a unique perspective on Autism, told with humour and heart, and Anxiety is Really Strange by Steve Haines and Sophie Standing, an engaging and highly original graphic medicine book, with in-depth analysis of where anxiety comes from, what it means for your body, and how to turn it into something positive.
Chief Executive of the Books Council of Wales, Helgard Krause, said: “4 in 5 young people reported the pandemic made their mental health worse. Reading Well for teens suggests recommended reading to help young people understand their feelings and boost your confidence. What’s unique about the Reading Well scheme is that all the books have been selected and recommended by experts and that the list is co-created by teens. It’s essential that we ensure these valuable resources are also available in Welsh.”
There are currently four Reading Well lists available, children; common mental health conditions; dementia and young people.

Titles in the Reading Well Books on Prescription scheme are available to borrow from public libraries. Health or social care professionals can also recommend the books on prescription as part of an individual’s treatment, or they can be purchased through bookshops, gwales.com and other websites.