So, er … this.
A new book prize has been announced: the Best Book Awards, run by a national reading charity called Booktrust. I love what they do. They’re all about getting people reading – adults and children – and they know that the way to get reading is to find something you love. They don’t care if it’s classic literature or a simple, funny book that makes you giggle. They’ve got the science to prove that reading changes lives and they work hard to make sure more people in this country have the opportunity to fall in love with books, or stories in all their forms.
The Best Book Awards contain 10 categories: 5 age ranges, from 0 up to 14, and a sub-category in each for conventional books and tech stuff. Each category was managed by a panel of celebrity judges, who picked a shortlist of 4 which will now be voted on by groups from schools, bookshops, libraries, Homestart and more.
One of the categories is stories for age 12-14 year-olds and the judges were Amanda Craig, a well-known children’s book reviewer, Louise Rennison, who wrote Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging and Andy Jordan from Made in Chelsea, who knows all about the music business and reality TV.
Which makes me extra proud that You Don’t Know Me made it onto the shortlist. Hooray! I’m even more proud that it’s up against 3 great YA books: Dead Romantic by my fellow Chicken House author CJ Skuse, about a girl who decides to make the perfect boyfriend out of body parts (as you do – I’ve read it and it’s very funny); Heroic by Philip Earle (a writer I’ve admired since his first book, Being Billy), about a boy surviving on a tough estate in the UK while his brother is fighting in Afghanistan; and The Fault In Our Stars, by John Green, which I have often raved about, and which you’ve probably read already.
This is one of those great awards where it’s mostly about the fun of taking part. There are loads of wonderful books and apps across the 10 categories and I’ll be recommending to my local schools and bookshops to get involved, get access to loads of extra materials about the books, get reading, and get voting. (Whoever they want to vote for! It needn’t be me. I won’t know and I won’t mind.) Voting closes on 20 June, so you’ve got several weeks to get to know some great new stories. If you’re eligible, give it a go.