The Red House Children’s Book Award Ceremony 2012

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:

  • Chris Wormell’s beautifully illustrated Scruffy Bear and the Six White Mice won the category for Younger Children.
  • Liz Pichon’s hilarious The Brilliant World of Tom Gates won the Younger Readers’ category.
  • Patrick Ness and Jim Kay’s A Monster Calls won the Older Readers’ category.
  • Jim Kay, Patrick Ness, Liz Pichon and Chris Wormell (L-R)

    Then of these three winners, A Monster Calls also went on to win overall Book of the Year!

    Jim Kay, Michael Morpurgo (last year's winner), and Patrick Ness

    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…

    Liz Pichon
    Sharon Rentta
    Malorie Blackman
    Korky Paul
    Morris Gleitzman (L) and Patrick Ness (R)

    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.

    Steve Cole and me
    Steve Cole and M
    M between Steve Cole and Lydia Monks

    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!

    Shortlisted authors/illustrator in Older Readers' Category being interviewed by James Campbell
    Patrick Ness accepting his Book of the Year award

    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!

    M on her way home after a busy, brilliant day

    15 Responses

    1. Stacey

      You know how I always have a tough time finding the wonderful British books you show us? Well, I already have A Monster Calls but I found the other two winners on Amazon being sold by a different seller for only a very small shipping charge- yeah!!
      Stacey recently posted..Old Friends

      • Zoe

        Hooray! Don’t forget to let me know what you think of them when you’ve read them – it will be very interesting to hear your thoughts Stacey.

    2. Emma

      Wow that looks like such a fab day! … and I adore the final photograph, a happy smiling face in front of that magnificent view.

    3. Elli

      Ow (as in ‘ohwww’, said in that whiny toddler voice that can’t quite be transliterated) I am so jealous! Hopefully I’ll be able to make it next year.
      Elli recently posted..The Magic Word

    4. Zoe

      Elli, yes I hope so too!

      Melitsa, YES! Gleitzman’s books are amazing. Do you have a favourite. He was utterly charming to talk to.

      Choxbox – we wer both super happy!

      Library Mice – 🙂

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