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Boy in the Striped Pyjamas voted favourite winner of Bisto Book Awards

John Boyne says he hopes his 2006 novel proves that “successful and complex subjects” can be explored in children’s books.

Author John Boyne with his award-winning novel.
Author John Boyne with his award-winning novel.
Image: Paul Faith/PA Wire

THE AWARD-WINNING children’s novel Boy in the Striped Pyjamas has been voted Ireland’s favourite winner of the Bisto Children’s Book of the Year Awards.

A special ballot was launched in March 2011 to mark the 21st anniversary of the annual awards which celebrate children’s literature in Ireland.

Previous award winners include The Blue Horse, Bog Child and The Beguilers.

The John Boyne novel centres on the friendship between two young boys during World War II. One boy is the nine-year-old son of a concentration camp commander, while the other is one of the camp internees.

It was originally published in 2006 and won the Bisto Children’s Book of the Year Award the following year, as well as the Orange Prize Readers’ Group Book of the Year and the Irish Book Award People’s Choice Book of the Year.

It has sold more than five million copies around the world since its publication, becoming a New York Times bestseller, and has been adapted for the screen. The film version stars David Thewlis and was released in 2008.

Boyne said he was “humbled and honoured” that his novel was chosen as the favourite Bisto winner and said he had never anticipated the book’s success:

It’s a novel that I hoped would touch young readers and thanks in no small part to those people who are evangelical about the promotion of children’s literature – librarians, teachers, Children’s Books Ireland, and the advocates in the media – it reached a far wider audience than I ever imagined possible.

“I hope it proves that serious and complex subjects can and should be explored in children’s literature,” he said.

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