The response to the ISF-UNESCO competition has been amazing. We received thousands of stories from around the world – Mongolia, Iran, Chile and many more. It’s taken months to catalogue each story and to select a short-list of 60. The short-listing has been a particularly difficult task as the quality of the submissions has been dazzling. But we are pleased to be able to announce that the work is now complete. And we’ll be publishing the shortlist early next week along with UNESCO. So please watch this space…

Abi Elphinstone

Books by Abi ElphinstoneAbi Elphinstone

Abi Elphinstone grew up in Scotland where she spent most of her childhood running wild across the moors, hiding in tree houses and building dens in the woods. After being coaxed out of her tree house, she studied English at Bristol University and then worked as an English teacher in Africa, Berkshire and London. She is the bestselling and multi-award shortlisted author of The Unmapped Chronicles (Everdark, Rumblestar, Jungledrop, The Crackledawn Dragon – out June 2021), Sky Song, The Dreamsnatcher trilogy and, for younger readers, The Snow Dragon. When she’s not writing Abi volunteers for Beanstalk, speaks in schools and travels the world looking for her next story. Her latest adventures include living with the Kazakh Eagle Hunters in Mongolia and dog-sledding across the Arctic.

Anna James books

Anna James

Anna James is a writer and arts journalist. She is the author of the bestselling Pages & Co series which has sold into 21 countries. The first three books in the series are out now, published by HarperCollins Children’s Books in the UK and Penguin Young Readers in the US, with three more books to come. Formerly Book News Editor at The Bookseller and Literary Editor of ELLE UK, Anna is currently the host and co-curator of Lush Book Club, as well as writing about books and theatre as a freelance journalist for outlets including The Stage, the LA Times and Buzzfeed. She has also contributed stories for the Kate Mosse-edited collection, I Am Heathcliff, and Goldsboro Books’ 21st birthday anthology.

Anna James
John L Muth

Books by Jon J MuthJon J Muth

Jon J Muth is an American Artist and Writer in children’s literature and graphic novels. His books have been called: “… as perfect a picture book as can be” and “A masterclass of picture-book storytelling” (Kirkus Review) and as “… quietly life changing” (The New York Times). He lives in rural Upstate New York.

Distributing ISF’s Childrens’ Books
ISF will be distributing free copies of Idries Shah’s illustrated books to the schools attended by the winners and runners-up.

Judging Panel

Abbi, Anna and Jon will be joined on the panel by three UNESCO representatives.  They are:

Fouzia Belhami, Associated Programme Specialist, Unit for the ASPNet Associated Schools Network, Education Sector of UNESCO

Maria Kypriotou, Assistant Programme Specialist, Youth Section, Social and Human Sciences of UNESCO

Yvette Kaboza, Programme Specialist, Inclusion, Rights and Dialogue Section & Sport Section, Social and Human Sciences of UNESCO