On Saturday M and I had a really wonderful day up in London at the Red House Children’s Book Award Ceremony. I was there in my role as a member of the National Executive of the Federation of Children’s Book Groups, the charity which owns and co-ordinates the award.
The day was so much fun! And the most important news of the day was the announcement of the winners of the award:
Then of these three winners, A Monster Calls also went on to win overall Book of the Year!
On receiving his award Patrick said “Winning the Red House is terrific, especially because it’s chosen by young readers themselves. Trust me, as a writer for young people, I know how bracingly honest they can be about their opinions, so to have been selected from a really strong shortlist is a splendid feeling. Properly chuffed “
Illustrator Jim Kay said “Wow! I’m bowled over by this. It’s the first award I’ve ever been involved in, it’s great to think that it’s all down to young people reading and discussing wonderful new stories. I love Patrick’s writing; as an illustrator it’s been a pleasure to work on such a brave and moving book, and as one of Patrick’s fans – Go Patrick!”
Voted for solely by young readers from a shortlist drawn up by children’s book groups across Britain, the Red House Children’s Book Award is recognised by authors, parents and librarians as a key indicator of which books are popular with children.
Tens of thousands of children from schools, libraries and nurseries spent six months last year devouring 400 titles to find the shortlisted ten books, four in the category for books for Younger Children, and three each in the Younger Readers’ and Older Readers’ categories.
Shortlisted books were then put to a public vote: An incredible 83,728 votes were then cast by children and young adults all over the UK both online and through ballots collated by regional coordinators of the Federation of Children’s Book Groups.
The popularity of the award was also there for all to see on Saturday, with nearly 1000 people present at the ceremony!
M and I arrived early for the special lunch held in honour of all shortlisted authors and illustrators. The foyer of the Queen Elizabeth Hall, down at the Southbank in London, was transformed with balloons and poster and lots of excited children. Also present were many authors and illustrators who had been shortlisted for/won the award in previous years.
M and I got to meet lots of writers and illustrators we admire…
For both of us, the highlight was getting to spend some time with Steve Cole. Steve is responsible for M being bitten good and proper by the reading bug, and it was really wonderful to be able to thank him in person.
Then it was on to the awards ceremony itself. This was not your average awards ceremony – for a start, the audience of nearly 1000 each had their own party tooter to make a racket with when applauding the authors and illustrators!
It was an utterly amazing day. Thanks must go to Red House Children’s Books who sponsor the award. Especially in the currently economic climate, those who support reading, authors and illustrators, and getting kids excited about books are very much appreciated.
All in all a wonderful day spent celebrating amazing books. I can only urge you to get involved next year – with voting, with joining the Federation of Children’s Book Groups, or with attending the awards ceremony itself. You won’t regret it!