Sean Taylor and Zehra Hicks 2024 Oscar’s Book Prize winners

Category: Amazon News
Sean Taylor and Zehra Hicks 2024 Oscar’s Book Prize winners

The winner of this year’s Oscar’s Book Prize was revealed at a star-studded awards ceremony in central London this evening. The Prize, which is supported by Amazon and the Evening Standard, chose When Dinosaurs Walked the Earth by Sean Taylor (author) and Zehra Hicks (illustrator) as the winner. The beautifully illustrated book topped the shortlist of five magical stories to take home the £10,000 literary prize.

When Dinosaurs Walked the Earth (Frances Lincoln Children’s Books) is a fun tale about the intrepid journey of a little dinosaur named Smallasaurus, who simply wants to enjoy her plant-based diet in peace, but goes on a big adventure along the way. This witty and vibrant children’s book brings the prehistoric period into the present day, complete with dinosaurs of all shapes and sizes. 

I’m honoured to receive this award and want to raise my hat to all on the short list – for the every-day creative wonders they do to keep bright-eyed reading alive. Many thanks to Zehra Hicks for her zingy and zany illustrations. and to those who set-up, organised and judged Oscar’s Book Prize. What a great way to honour a boy who loved books. And here’s to giving children lots and lots of happy reading!

– Sean Taylor 

It was an absolute delight to work with Sean on this story. It just jumped out at me and I knew immediately I had to work on it. The humorous storyline had me laughing through the illustration process, plus, it’s not every day you get to draw dinosaurs of all shapes, sizes and colours! I literally think I have the best job in the world! I am thrilled to have collaborated on this book, and thank you to Sean for inspiring me to bring Smallasaurus to life.

– Illustrator Zehra Hicks

This year’s shortlist for the Prize included Gina Kaminski Saves the Wolf by Craig Barr-Green and Francis Martin (Little Tiger), Geoffrey Gets The Jitters by Nadia Shireen (Puffin), Gigantic by Bob Biddulph (HarperCollins Children’s Books) and The Hare-Shaped Hole by John Dougherty and Thomas Docherty (Frances Lincoln Children’s Books).

The 2024 judging panel joined the award ceremony held at The Ivy, West Street in central London, including Zoey Dixon, Librarian of the Year 2020 and The Bookseller Rising Star 2020, children’s author, Oscar’s Book Prize alumnus Chris Haughton, who won the prize in 2022, Viveka Alvestrand, who co-founded the literary award in memory of her son Oscar, and Lisa de Meyer, the UK Books Country Manager at Amazon.co.uk.

The award, now in its eleventh year, was set up by James Ashton and Viveka Alvestrand – named in memory of their son Oscar, who was three-and-a-half when he died from an undiagnosed heart condition – and celebrates the joy and magic picture books can bring to young children. In a new development for the Prize, 2024 sees the launch of Oscar’s Book Club, which aims to reach children in areas with typically low engagement with the arts. 

Throughout April and May, Oscar’s Book Prize and award supporter, Amazon, will donate this year’s shortlisted books to schools and nurseries across the country via the Amazon Reading Volunteer network, who will also support on the ground with group reading sessions to inspire young children through the magic of reading.

It was an incredibly difficult task to choose a winner from such a fantastic shortlist, but Smallasaurus and his big adventure really captured my heart. Both humorous and full of surprises, When Dinosaurs Walked the Earth truly is a memorable and page-turning picture book. The rhythmic language and colourful illustrations will make it a wonderful addition to Oscar’s Book Club, alongside the other magnificent shortlisted titles. We hope the schools up and down the country receiving these books via the Amazon Reading Volunteers enjoy them as much as us judges did!

– Lisa de Meyer, UK Books Country Manager, Amazon

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