Saturday, 9 February 2013

Callum’s Incredible Book Award (Updated)

I was at Bishop Stortford College in Hertfordshire for their annual picture book award ceremony this week. This year’s award was voted for by 1,324 children from the College and other local schools and there were nine books on the shortlist including Callum’s Incredible Construction Kit by myself and Ben Mantle

Here’s Ben and myself
And this is Ben with Amy Fletcher and Jo Hardacre
from Callum’s publisher, Egmont

There was an impressive turnout of shortlisted authors and illustrators; Will Buckingham, Rebecca Cobb, Atinuke, Jo Hodgkinson, Charlotte Middleton, Jackie Morris and Emily Gravett all attended along with Ben and myself. It was the first time Ben and I had met, so it was good to get to know him a little as well as all the other authors and illustrators. The current Children’s Laureate, Julia Donaldson, was also there to present the award and one of the highlights of my day was spending a some time chatting to her.

Here we are with all the other authors and illustrators

All the other authors and illustrators had been asked to give a short speech about our books. Authors and illustrators are not necessarily natural public speakers and many of us, including myself, were a little nervous about doing so. Julia Donaldson set the bar high with an introductory speech about her love of picture books, which seemed very natural and spontaneous. However the rest of us acquitted ourselves well and it was lovely hearing everyone talking about their books.

Ben used some of his illustrations in his talk (Photo: Ian Taylor)
 I appear to be using an invisible pneumatic drill in mine. (Photo: Ian Taylor)

After the speeches, Julia opened the envelope to announce the three runners up and the winner, which, to my and Ben’s delight, turned out to be Callum’s Incredible Construction Kit!

Julia presenting Ben and I with the award. (Photo: Ian Taylor)

It’s always nice to receive a book award, especially one that’s voted for by children, but when Ben and I accepted the trophy I explained that I was especially pleased that this particular book had proved so popular as I’d been sending it to publishers for three years before it was finally accepted by Egmont. Winning a children's vote like this made me feel it had been worth all the effort!

Here we are with teacher Simon Bailey who did a Callum-inspired
illustration to mark the event. (Photo: Ian Taylor)
And here’s the trophy itself!

It was a great day, so I'd like to say a BIG THANK YOU to the organisers for short-listing our book and organising such a lovely event. And an EVEN BIGGER THANK YOU to all the children that voted for Callum!

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