The Children's Book Award is an amazing prize and something I am very proud to be a part of.  This is because it is the only one in the UK where the children have complete say in which books make it onto the long list, the top 10 and which ones then become their overall winners.

Each year roughly 800 books are sent out to 12 different voting groups across the country and each group distributes them to schools, families, book groups, anyone with an interest in reading and voting.

On a local level I am involved in getting the books to the readers and also my family has joined so that my two daughters can vote for their favourites.  It is such a joy watching children read the books and have their say knowing that every vote they put forward genuinely counts towards the final result.  

On a national level I help coordinate the book award which is a lot of work but also a real privilege to be a part of.  The busiest time of the year for us is February til June.  In February all the votes are counted and we discover which books have been chosen by the children to grace the top 50 Picks of the Year.  We also find out their top 10 favourite books and then it is all hands to the grindstone.  Copies of the books are distributed to voting groups so that the next wave of voting can begin.

I organise a blog tour to help publicise the voting and also put together activities to help guide schools and groups through the process.

The aim is to encourage as many children as possible of all ages to engage with the books, read them and cast their votes.  They don't have to be a part of the FCBG for this.  Anyone under the age of 18 is eligible to tell us what they think.   

So the hard work continues as we prepare for the big reveal in June and get the ceremony ready for the main event.

For me that is always a highlight of my kids-lit calendar.  The ceremony is unique as we get as many children in the room as is safely possible.  The authors and illustrators attending mingle with the children and everyone has a chance to chat and have books signed.  It is our way of saying thank you to some of our top voters and it is always a treat to see the buzz of excitement in the room.

Each person who makes it onto the Top 10 list is presented with a portfolio of work from the children who have read their books and many say that this is their most coveted and favoured of all the book prizes as it comes straight from the children.

To find out more about this truly awesome award and how you can get involved visit

www.childrensbookaward.org.uk

www.fcbg.org.uk