Isla McGuckin from Portsalon has been shortlisted for the 2024 KPMG Children’s Books Ireland Awards for her book ‘April’s Garden.’

The shortlist for the 34th annual awards was announced today by RTÉ broadcaster Rick O’Shea at a special event in the Crescent Arts Centre in Belfast.

Isla McGuckin is a writer and mum-of-two born and raised in urban Yorkshire, and is now based in coastal Donegal.

Her book ‘April’s Garden’, published by Graffeg, is illustrated by Catalina Echeverri and is an inventive, colourful story exploring a mother and daughter’s search for a new home. The story focuses on April, who has been housed in temporary accommodation with her mother, and is a book aimed at helping children dealing with big life changes.

April’s Garden is Isla’s second book after her first book, Pink Like a Girl, about infertility.

April’s Garden by Isla McGuckin (left) illustrated by Catalina Echeverri (right)

The shortlisted titles of the KPMG Children’s Books Ireland Awards will compete for six prizes at the KPMG Children’s Books Ireland Awards ceremony, held 22nd May in partnership with the International Literature Festival Dublin.

These include the KPMG Children’s Books Ireland Book of the Year Award, as well as honours for fiction, illustration and the Junior Juries’ Award which will be decided by young readers across the island of Ireland.

Children’s Books Ireland is inviting schoolchildren from across Ireland to join their nationwide judging panel of young readers. Participating school groups, library groups and book clubs are invited to select suitable titles from the shortlist and collectively vote for their favourite book.

Elaina Ryan, CEO of Children’s Books Ireland said: “This is the only Irish awards dedicated to celebrating books created for children and it’s the biggest year we’ve had yet! We need readers of all ages to get involved to crown their winner of the KPMG Junior Juries Award.

“This is a great way for schools, libraries and book clubs to get stuck into reading, exploring the shortlist with our free Junior Jury print and digital resource packs. There will even be a chance for some groups to win sets of the shortlisted books, attend the Awards ceremony in May or even welcome one of the shortlisted authors or illustrators along for a visit! It’s a brilliant programme and there’s still time to register on our website.”