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.
Running 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.
At 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.
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.
- 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:
Emma Yarlett – "Nibbles the Book Monster" for best picture
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!