The annual prize for the best children’s picture book is now in its eighth year and is awarded in memory of Oscar Ashton, who died aged three-and-a-half of an undetected heart condition in 2012.
Among the shortlisted authors is Gruffalo creator Julia Donaldson who is nominated alongside illustrator Sara Ogilvie for The Hospital Dog and Smriti Halls who is nominated twice.
The Londoner was shortlisted with Steve Small for I’m Sticking With You and with David Litchfield for Rain Before Rainbows. Also nominated are Tom Percival for Meesha Makes Friends, Lu Fraser and Kate Hindley for The Littlest Yak and Yasmeen Ismail for Would You Like A Banana.
Oscar’s father James Ashton, the prize’s chairman and co-founder, said: “I’m absolutely thrilled we can double the value of Oscar’s Book Prize.
“From talking to our past winners, I know for them it is not all about the money but these authors and illustrators deserve huge thanks for inspiring the next generation of readers.
“Substantially increasing the prize is our way of saying thank you, while at the same time I hope focusing attention on the brilliant books published in this segment of the market for children and their carers to share.”
The winner of the award, supported by Amazon, the National Literacy Trust and the Evening Standard, will be announced by its patron HRH Princess Beatrice in a livestreamed ceremony on May 11.
Amazon Director of EU Books Simon Johnson said the entries were “a pleasure to read” and “packed full of important educational messages”.
National Literacy Trust Chief Executive Jonathan Douglas said the award was “a fantastic celebration of early year’s literature”.
He said: “The shortlist of entries to this year’s prize is incredible. Congratulations to all authors, it has been a tough year for many, but your work has brought joy to many families and is helping children on their way to becoming readers.”
For more information go to Oscarsbookprize.co.uk