Sophie Ellis-Bextor joins Oscar’s Book Prize judges

·2-min read
Sophie Ellis-Bextor  (Getty Images)
Sophie Ellis-Bextor (Getty Images)

Sophie Ellis-Bextor is joining forces with her mother–former Blue Peter presenter and novelist Janet Ellis–to help choose the winner of Oscar’s Book Prize 2022.

The pair are joined on the judging panel by former Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell, comedian and children’s author Ben Bailey Smith, Lisa de Meyer from Amazon and Viveka Alvestrand who founded the prize in memory of her book-loving son, Oscar Ashton, who died in 2012 of an undiagnosed heart condition aged three-and-a-half.

HRH Princess Beatrice is patron of the £10,000 prize, now in its ninth year, which is supported by Amazon, the National Literacy Trust and the Evening Standard and seeks to find the best illustrated book for children under five.

Ellis-Bextor said: “With five children in our home, we’ve been lucky to have experienced plenty of the magic and well-being that sharing a great story can bring. It’s an honour to be helping to choose the next breakout picture book - I can’t wait to see what we’ll discover. It is made even more special doing this alongside my mother, who was always so fantastic at reading my own bedtime stories.”

Janet Ellis and her daughter Sophie Ellis-Bextor (Dave Benett)
Janet Ellis and her daughter Sophie Ellis-Bextor (Dave Benett)

Oscar’s father James Ashton, the prize’s chairman and co-founder, said: “When I look back at the winners of Oscar’s Book Prize over the years, it’s the bold and beautiful (and often weird and wonderful) stories that catch our eye, and I can’t wait to read this year’s entries which I’m sure will live up to the joyful excellence of previous years.”

Previous winners of the prize include debut author Lu Fraser and illustrator Kate Hindley for their heart-warming story, The Littlest Yak which won the prize in 2021 while Benji Davies is a two-time recipient of the award, most recently in 2020 for Tad and for the prize’s inaugural year for The Storm Whale.

For more information about Oscar’s Book Prize and how to enter in 2022, please visit

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