Scottish Children's Books Awards 2011 winners
Ross Collins, Ross MacKenzie and Nicola Morgan win award judged by 24,000 children
Ross Collins, Ross MacKenzie and Nicola Morgan have been announced the winners of the Scottish Children's Books Awards 2011. The contestants of the awards were judged and voted for exclusively by young readers from all over Scotland, 600 of whom attended the awards ceremony earlier today.
In 2011, a record number of children participated in reviewing the shortlisted books and voting for their favourites. Almost 24,000 registered to take part, compared to 16,000 in 2010. Prizes were awarded in three categories: Bookbug Readers (0-7 years), Younger Readers (8-11 years) and Older Readers (12-16 years), which meant that children of all the ages got the opportunity to participate in voting - and get engaged with literature at an early stage.
Children’s Minister Aileen Campbell believes that the competition is very important in promoting reading among young children: "Reading is one of the most important life skills we can have. It helps us learn and improves our communication skills... As such, awards like these deserve every praise and recognition for encouraging the next generation of Scottish readers."
The significant impact that the SCBA have upon children was confirmed by Chris Newton from the Scottish Book Trust, the organisation that runs the awards. He said that the research into the awards showed 'a real improvement in participating children’s interest in books', so that 'the impact lasts long after the votes are cast.'
The 2011 awards also revealed an interesting tendency in the young readers' preferences, with two of the winning books revolving around traditionally 'scary' topics: the Bookbug winner Dear Vampa is about vampires, and the winning Younger Readers Zac and the Dream Pirates is about nightmares and pirates.
Recently, it had been argued that such themes were too frightening for young readers; however, the awards results prove quite the opposite, as the young voters seemed to prefer the 'scary' stories to the others. 'I only wish that I could bite each one of them [voters] personally”, said Ross Collins, the winning author of the 'Dear Vampa'.
To make reading yet more accessible for wider audiences, CALL Scotland created an accessible digital versions of the nine shortlisted books for children and young people with difficulties, who can’t read the paper books. These are available from CALL Scotland, and can be requested from their website free of charge.