Nostalgia and Maggots at the Haringey Book Awards

School librarians work SO hard. Every year, there are regional awards for children’s books, and they’re all organised by a cohort of passionate and dedicated librarians. On Monday, I took several train journeys to Wood Green, which was a real trip of nostalgia because it’s where I lived in halls of residence in my first year at university:

My ol’ local tube! Though the surrounding area has changed somewhat…

I walked up to Heartlands High School, the host for the Haringey Book Awards, for which A Library of Lemons had been shortlisted. I’m not quite sure how many schools brought kids along, but it felt like about twenty! I did a workshop in the morning with kids from three visiting schools:

Our collaborative poem celebrating the joy of maggots
Me with the kids from Highgate Wood School

And then after a quick lunch, there was the awards ceremony.

Me reading from A Library of Lemons and talking about the importance of friendship (thanks to North Harringay librarian for the pic!)

No one knew in advance who was going to win, because the kids actually voted in a ballot box right before the ceremony, and the votes were counted during it! So the envelope was hotly anticipated by all – and the winner was Christine Hamill for her book The Best Medicine! This is a story about a boy whose mother has breast cancer, but it’s properly, properly funny – Christine read out a section that had me chuckling out loud, which isn’t usually how I react to revelations of cancer. I’m looking forward to getting hold of a copy and reading the rest – it’s clear that the black humour in the book really resonated with the young audience, as there was a genuine gasp of delight when the winner was announced! Huge congratulations to Christine, and also to my fellow nominees: Peter Bunzl, Karen McCombie, AF Harrold and Emma Carroll. I think we all had a brilliant day, and for that we have to thank the librarians who bring authors, books and children together at these wonderful inspiring events.

(and that’s last year’s winner SF Said skulking at the back!)

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