Earning your Awards: Stockport Children’s Book Awards 2017

Posted 31 Oct 2017 by Rachel Broster

One often sees award ceremonies in the news but how often does one think about all the effort that goes into them? Or consider that it's sometimes the culmination of months and months of work. This guest blog post by Rachel Broster gives an insight into everything involved.

It takes a whole year of planning and preparation to build up to our fantastic awards ceremony in the autumn.  First, we enlist some willing volunteers to read the books we have been squirrelling away all year. Them from this we create a long list which will be whittled down to a shortlist.

Stockport CogheartRunning alongside the longlisting and shortlisting, we promote the Book Award packages to Stockport schools, encouraging them to participate in to the process. This year we had great take up with eight primary and two High schools buying in. They get to help choose the winning books, have dedicated sessions with a local artist to create art work related to the books and tickets to the Awards ceremony where they can meet the winning authors.

So the calendar is:

- Spring term. The schools receive the books, relevant to their age groups, along with a pack of voting forms, blurb about the books and a form for them to nominate their Reader of the Year.

- May and June. We are planning the activity days and arranging for the artist workshops in schools.

- July: This is the activity day. We were rather ambitious this year, with over 30 children taking part (eek!). By 10am, Marple Library was alive with the sound of children discussing the shortlisted books and we had done the first vote to see which title is the favourite (will it be the same at the end of the day?). The children talked about what they liked and what they didn’t like about each of the books. After lunch, each group did a little performance, acting out a bit from one of the shortlisted books.

Stockport Activity DayAt lunch time, the children ate their packed lunch and rehearsed their performances. After the performance. we gave Oscars all round! Votes were re-cast, with the recults very interestingly not being the same as when we started!  The activity day has helped the children to see the books in a different light.

Karen Allerton (the artist)  brought in all the fabulous art work done by the schools, and the onerous task beings of deciding whose work will be the winning author’s prize.

Stockport medals- October: Presentation Night. All the votes have been counted and re-counted. The winning authors are on their way. Our fantastic compare Craig Bradley, That Poetry Bloke, is briefed and is busy delivering school workshops during the day. All our VIP guests including the Mayor of Stockport have been invited. By 7pm, the venue is ready, the authors and distinguished guests have arrived and there are over 300 children, parents and teachers buzzing with excitement.

We showed our fantastic video of the activity days and the children talking about their favourite books. Then children were invited on stage to read the nominations and announce the winners. The winners were:

The winning Stockport Awards authorsEmma Yarlett – "Nibbles the Book Monster" for best picture book

Jo Cotterill – "A Library of Lemons" for best read for juniors

Stewart Foster – "The Bubble Boy" for best teen read

Authors got on stage, collected their prizes and made speeches..

The book sale and book signing with the authors rounded off the evening. What an amazing night. By 9pm, everything was finished and tidied away and we all went off home to bed ready to start it all again tomorrow for 2018.

And yes, that picture below is that of the Mayor "dabbing" with the children!

Dabbing with the Stockport Mayor

North West Libraries

Librarians in the North West have pioneered partnership working to encourage new readers into libraries. Time To Read is a partnership of librarians engaged in reader development activity in public library authorities in the North West Region. 22 public library authorities in the region currently support Time To Read.

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