On Saturday, I was lucky enough to attend the Red House Children’s Book Award ceremony.
As part of my role on the Federation of Children’s Book Groups executive committee, I was involved in organising the day and it was great to see it all happen and to be there to witness Patrick Ness’ triumph as he was crowned overall winner of the 2012 award for his magnificent A Monster Calls.
Both Patrick Ness and Jim Kay, who illustrated the book, were delighted by the win:

Patrick Ness 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 “

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!”

We were also treated to a fantastic speech by last year’s winner Michael Morpurgo who sang the praises of librarians and the FCBG, which is always lovely to hear.

An incredible 83,728 votes were cast by children and young adults all over the UK both online and through votes collated by regional coordinators of the Federation of Children’s Book Groups.
This is what makes the RHCBA so special, as it is the only book award to be solely voted for by young readers from a shortlist drawn up by FCBG groups across Britain.

The other two category winners in the 2012 award were Chris Wormell for Scruffy Bear and the Six White Mice in the the category for Younger Children (we had lunch at his table and he was very lovely) and Roadl Dahl Funny Prize winner Liz Pichon won the Younger Readers’ category with The Brilliant World of Tom Gates (funnily enough we had lunch at her table last year!)

And there were some personal highlights too, so many to mention but I will just mention a few :
* Meeting Morris Gleitzman and being introduced to Malorie Blackman was fantastic.
* Listening to authors and illustrators being genuinely kind to my daughter, especially Mick Inkpen who was being so humble about my her loving his book and Tamara Macfarlane being so pleased to meet a little fan.
*Catching glimpses of the big “family” the children’s literature circle really is: Michael Morpurgo giving Morris Gleitzman a big bear hug of a hello, Michael Morpurgo and Malorie Blackman engrossed in conversation.
* Meeting Tasha, at last!
*And finally seeing our beloved Federation of Children’s Book Groups do what it does best: bringing children and authors together. If I may say so myself, I think we should be very proud.