Sunday, June 03, 2007

Red House Book Award 2007

Debut author Andy Stanton – a Dahl for the Noughties –
wins 2007 Red House Children’s Book Award

The many children who vote for the Red House Children’s Book Award (RHCBA) have always been the first to spot future stars. The RHCBA was the first major award won by some of the biggest names in children’s books including: Roald Dahl in 1983, Jacqueline Wilson in 1996 and J.K. Rowling in 1998. Jacqueline Wilson, the Children’s Laureate, says of the award "It’s the book award that means the most to me because it’s the one where children do the voting."
This year is no exception; debut author Andy Stanton has been awarded the overall prize for, You’re a Bad Man, Mr Gum! (the winner of the Books for Younger Readers category).

The Books for Older Readers category has also been won by a debut author, Sophie McKenzie for the highly topical baby snatch thriller Girl, Missing and the Books for Younger Readers category is won by Who’s in the Loo? by Jeanne Willis, illustrated by Adrian Reynolds.

You’re a Bad Man, Mr Gum! is an outrageously funny story which features the hideous Mr Gum and the equally stinky William the Third aka Billy the local butcher, in a dastardly plot to do away with the village dog Jake, a plot that can only be foiled by Polly (as-she’s-known-to-her-friends) and the inimitable Friday O’Leary. The story echoes the darkly ridiculous humour of Roald Dahl and Monty Python but has a unique whimsical voice all of its own. Friday O’Leary’s off the wall uttering "The truth is a lemon meringue" rapidly became a catchphrase among our voters and is sure to be exasperating many more parents in the immediate future. Without doubt Andy Stanton is a huge new talent and this award marks the beginning of another illustrious writing career.

Andy Stanton lives in North London. He studied English at Oxford (which shouldn’t have been too hard given he is English) but they kicked him out. He’s had quite a few jobs including film script reader (he got better at reading), stand-up comedian, a cartoonist, an NHS lackey and lots of other things. He has many interests, but best of all he likes cartoons, books and music (even jazz). One day he’d like to live in New York or Berlin or one of those places because he’s got fantasies of bohemia. His favourite expression is ‘Good evening’ and his favourite word is ‘captain’. He doesn’t like words ‘spit’, ‘Robbie Williams’, ‘wagglemuffin’ or ‘broccoli’.

The winner of the 2007 Red House Children’s Book Award is announced at a ceremony held at the Guardian Hay Festival on 1st June 2007. The award ceremony, this year introduced by past winner Anthony Horowitz, is a unique celebration of children’s books where a lucky a selection of children from all over the country who have taken part in voting for the award winners get to mingle with some of their favourite authors including past winners and this year’s short-listed authors.

Now in its 27th year, the award was founded in 1980 by author and librarian Pat Thompson and it is run by the Federation of Children’s Book Groups. It is the only national book award to be voted for 100% by children and this year more children than ever have been involved with a record 165,000 votes cast this year, which is more than 40% up on 2006.

The category winners each receive an engraved silver bowl. The overall winner is awarded the Red House Children’s Book Award Silver Tree which they are the custodian of for a year and an engraved silver acorn which is theirs to keep. Each of the short-listed authors and illustrators also receives an incredible portfolio of writing and drawing created by the children and inspired by their book.

The full winner’s list for the 2007 Red House Children’s Book Award is as follows:
Overall winner
You’re a Bad Man, Mr Gum! by Andy Stanton published by Egmont
Books for Younger Children
Who’s in the Loo? by Jeanne Willis and Adrian Reynolds published by Andersen Press
Books for Younger Readers
You’re a Bad Man, Mr Gum! by Andy Stanton published by Egmont
Books for Older Readers
Girl, Missing by Sophie McKenzie published by Simon & Schuster

The Federation of Children’s Book Groups was set up as a charity almost 40 years ago by Anne Wood, the originator of the Tellytubbies. The Federation’s main role is to act as the umbrella organisation to local Children’s Book Groups all over the UK. The Book Groups organise a variety of activities in their local areas in conjunction with schools and libraries. These include bringing authors and illustrators into schools and organising story-telling sessions. The Federation produces numerous specialist book lists, organises National Share-a-Story Month each May and holds an annual conference each spring.

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