A Kind of Spark & Grumpy Fairies scoop Waterstones Children’s Book Prizes!


We are so excited that Elle McNicoll and Bethan Stevens won top prizes at this year’s Waterstones Children’s Book Prize 2021, as reported here in The Bookseller.

Lauren Gardner’s author, Elle McNicoll has been named overall winner of the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize 2021 for her debut novel A Kind of Spark and Paul Moreton’s author, Bethan Steven’s debut picture book Grumpy Fairies won the illustrated book category and was published by Frances Lincoln.

Stevens commented: “I’m so thrilled that The Grumpy Fairies has won the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize illustrated book category, I can’t quite believe it’s true! It has been such a privilege to have been included on the shortlist with so many other talented authors and illustrators and it means so much to me that more readers will get to enjoy the antics of the grumpy fairies as a result of the award.”

McNicoll is a Scottish and neurodivergent author who wrote her debut novel because she grew tired of the lack of inclusivity and representation in children’s books. She said winning the prize was “absolutely staggering” adding: “I will never say ‘I can’t’ again. To know that booksellers chose A Kind of Spark, out of an incredible shortlist like this, it is the highlight of my debut. I’m so grateful to Waterstones for their support and I’m proud and extremely emotional to see Addie join past winners.”

Her story follows 11-year-old Addie as she campaigns for a memorial in memory of the witch trials that took place in her hometown. Confronted with resistance against the memorial and unjust prejudice against herself, Addie must figure out how to make her voice heard.

The prize is voted for solely by booksellers. Florentyna Martin, the retailer’s children’s buyer, said: “We have fallen in love with Addie, whose courage and determination are a guiding light, often reminding the world that kindness must prevail wherever we go. Elle McNicoll is undoubtedly an outstanding new talent in children’s books and will inspire readers young and old for generations to come.”

The chain is offering an exclusive edition of A Kind of Spark, which also won the younger reader’s category, featuring a letter by the author to her younger self and the first chapter from her second book Show Us Who You Are (Knights Of).