The nominations for this year's Waterstones Children's Book Prize include journalist Dawn O'Porter's teen novel Paper Aeroplanes.
Best known for her documentaries on issues such as body image and polygamy, O'Porter's debut novel was inspired by her experiences growing up in Guernsey.
The awards, now in their tenth year, are voted for by Waterstones staff.
Other nominees include Call the Midwife actress Emerald Fennell and performance poet Laura Dockrill.
Both are nominated in the "age 5-12" category for their books Shiverton Hall and Darcy Burdock.
They face competition from award-winning director and screenwriter Soman Chainani, whose book The School for Good and Evil was a New York Times bestseller and has already been picked up by Universal Pictures.
The category also features The Last Wild by BBC Three's Boom Town producer Piers Torday, Sandra Greaves' The Skull in the Wood and Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell.
The prize champions new and emerging talent in children's writing, with three categories: Best picture book, best fiction for 5-12s and best book for teens.
The three category winners will be announced on 3 April, and then go head-to-head for the title of Waterstones Children's Book of the Year 2014, won last year by Annabel Pitcher's Ketchup Clouds.
Each of the category winners receive £2,000, with the overall winner receiving an additional £3,000.
"Our children's departments have always been the heart of our bookshops, for there, of course, book lovers are made," said James Daunt, Managing Director of Waterstones.
"In the prize we capture the passion and engagement of our booksellers as they champion emerging children's authors and illustrators."
Daunt added: "Given the success of former winners, we can be sure they have once again identified the stars of the future."
This year's picture book category is dominated by animals - from the weasels plotting world domination in Elys Dolan's Weasels to the cats kidnapping a penguin in Penguin in Peril by Helen Hancocks, and The Crocodile Who Didn't Like Water by Gemma Merino.
Books in the teen category all focus on misfits, from news producer Erin Lange's Butter - about a bullied overweight boy who plans to eat himself to death live on the internet - to Geek Girl, inspired by author Holly Smale's attempts to make it in the modelling world.
O'Porter, whose Paper Aeroplanes is about the friendship between two girls from dysfunctional families, changed her name from Porter when she married the actor Chris O'Dowd in 2012.
Here is the shortlist in full:
Best picture book
- Open Very Carefully by Nick Bromley and Nicola O'Byrne
- Harold Finds a Voice by Courtney Dicmas
- Weasels by Elys Dolan
- Penguin in Peril by Helen Hancocks
- Time for Bed, Fred! by Yasmeen Ismail
- The Crocodile Who Didn't Like Water by Gemma Merino
Best fiction for 5-12s
- The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani
- Darcy Burdock by Laura Dockrill
- Shiverton Hall by Emerald Fennell
- The Skull in the Wood by Sandra Greaves
- Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell
- The Last Wild by Piers Torday
Best book for teens
- The Bone Dragon by Alexia Casale
- Butter by Erin Lange
- If You Find Me by Emily Murdoch
- Paper Aeroplanes by Dawn O'Porter
- Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys
- Geek Girl by Holly Smale