On Thursday afternoon, I packed my posh frock and spangly earrings, and took the train with hubby John to Stockport, for a book award ceremony. And guess what? Class Two At The Zoo has won the Stockport Schools Book Award! Yahooooooo!! I am thrilled to bits: though I have been shortlisted a few times, this is the first award I have ever actually won.
It's especially nice that it's Stockport, as I work with their School Library Service quite a lot, visiting local schools. The other lovely thing about this award, is that it's the children of Stockport who do the voting. Over 50 schools took part and they were a big part of the ceremony.
This is some of us prizewinners meeting the mayor. I am standing next to Tabitha Suzuma the KS4 winner, behind me is Nick Sharratt who won Early Years, and Julia Jarman is towards the left, looking at the camera.
There were 800 people in the Plaza theatre, including children of all ages, looking gorgeous with button-holes and corsages. It was children who came up on stage to announce the winners, and give the awards. Children had also pre-recorded readings from all the shortlisted books, which were played on a big screen.
Julia Jarman and I had to make a speech: I'm not sure I've ever spoken to 800 people before! We were up after Nick Sharratt (who is lovely). Nick won with Never Use A Knife and Fork, and balanced bagels on his head on stage. How to follow that!? Julia and I decided to do a double-act and read our book aloud, which went down really well.
We were each presented with a framed illustration, done by a local child. Mine is just FANTASTIC! It is a drawing of the anaconda grabbing Diana with his tongue, based on this page in the book (I'll put it on the blog when I can sort a photo out).
The following day, winners visited local schools, reading our books to children. I had a great time at St Simons' and St Thomas' (hello all) and at half time Julia and I were treated to a lovely buffet lunch, back at the School Library Service headquarters.
Everybody is so nice at Stockport SLS and looked after me really well (thanks Viv and Lindy for running me all over). It was a really special ceremony: thank you so much for everything. And a special hello to Susan Smith, who has been really poorly, but couldn't miss the event - get well soon!