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Nineteen books have been shortlisted for an award for the best literature for pre-school children.

This week, judges for the Booktrust Early Years Awards published their shortlist for 2004. The aim is to reward fresh methods of communicating with pre-school children, toddlers and babies.

The awards are shortlisted by category: books for babies under a year, books for pre-school children up to five years old, and an award for best new illustrator. Nominated authors include Jez Alborough, best known for his Duck in the Truck series. His book, Some Dogs Do, has been nominated in the pre-school category.

The shortlist and the winners will be chosen by a panel of six judges, including a children's book consultant, a nursery nurse, and children's authors.

Sarah Brown, wife of the Chancellor of the Exchequer, is also on the panel.

Wendy Cooling, chair of judges, said that judging the literary merits of a book with few or no words is not an easy task.

She said: "Very few children are reading for themselves at that age, so we need to think about what will keep adults entertained. We look at rhythm and rhyming text. But it's no good if we're entranced by it, but it doesn't do anything for children. We want them to learn to love reading."

The Early Years Awards will be presented at a ceremony in London on September 29.

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