It’s so thrilling to be part of the Blue Peter blog tour, to celebrate the very best in children’s books and it’s even more of a pleasure on World Book Day as well! For more about the awards, please visit Book Trust.
Guest Post by Marcus Sedgwick
On being a Blue Peter Book Awards judge
I’ve judged a few book prizes over the years and each one seems to have its own vibe. Blue Peter is not just a TV program but an iconic piece of British culture: I felt a special responsibility to be able to present six shortlisted books that we as judges are very proud of.
The judging day was long and intense – but after months of reading it’s always nice to be able to get together and start actually talking about what you liked and what you didn’t like so much. As always, you find some immediate agreements and some immediate differences of opinion, and that’s when the hard work starts, of trying to work out how to choose a winner from a small number of books, each of which has a champion on the judging panel. I’m delighted to say that, unlike some other award processes I’ve been through, my fellow judges came to the meeting open-minded, and willing to discuss each book, and sometimes to see the merit in something that they personally would not have said was their favourite book. To me, that’s how a judging meeting should run – not with each judge coming to the party with a fixed idea of what they think is ‘the best’ already in their mind. Because what is ‘the best’? How can you compare some very different types of book and categorically say one is ‘better’ than the other. Ultimately, you’re trying to find books that you can say were powerful, that moved everyone, that were well-written, original and captivating.
This is the first time I’ve judged non-fiction as well as fiction. In one sense, the non-fiction is even harder to judge – the variety of books submitted being wider than that of the novels, but in other ways, we found it was easier to apply some obvious criteria to the non-fiction. A book of facts should be clearly presented – things should not be confusing, and above all, they should be correct – finding a book that had several typographical errors in it quickly ruled that one out!
I can hand on heart say that we were all satisfied with the final three books in each category – now it’s up to the children of over 400 schools across the country to vote for their winners, and I for one am glad to turn that big decision over to someone else.
Tony Robinson and Katherine Rundell have just been announced as the winners of the Blue Peter Book Award – the winners will be on Blue Peter today!
The Blue Peter Book Awards:
The enormously popular and influential Blue Peter Book Awards have been recognising and celebrating the best authors, the most creative illustrators and the greatest reads for children since 2000. The Blue Peter Book Awards 2014 celebrate children’s books published in the last year in two categories: the Best Story and the Best Book with Facts. The award is managed by Booktrust and you can read all about the shortlist and judges here.
Blog Tour Schedule
Thursday 20th Feb – Books and Writers – Booktrust and Malorie Blackman’s day with Blue Peter
Saturday 22nd Feb – Much Loved Books – Rooftoppers
Monday 24th Feb – Being a Mummy – Whale Boy
Wednesday 26th Feb – Bare Naked Mummy – Tony Robinson’s Weird World of Wonders
Friday 28th Feb = Live Otherwise – Marvellous Maths
Sunday 2nd March – Book Sniffer – Animal Infographics
Tuesday 4th March = My Book Corner – Oliver and the Seawigs
Thursday 6th March = Winged Reviews – Marcus Sedgwick on being a Blue Peter judge