Red House Children's Book Award
The Red House Children's Book Award is a set of annual literary prizes for children's books published in the U.K. during the preceding school year. It recognises one "Overall" winner and one book in each of three categories: Books for Younger Children, Books for Younger Readers, and Books for Older Readers.[a] The selections are made entirely by school children, which is unique among British literary awards.
The Federation of Children's Book Groups owns and coordinates the Award, which it inaugurated in 1981 as the Children's Book Award. Its purpose has been "to celebrate the books that children themselves love reading." Since 2001 it has been named for a sponsor, the mail order bookshop Red House —a brand owned by bookselling company The Book People.
Process and latest rendition
The latest Overall winner was announced 18 February 2012, from the Older Readers category: A Monster Calls, written by Patrick Ness, illustrated by Jim Kay, and published by Walker Books in May 2011.
Winners are determined by the votes of children on three category ballots composed by nominations from the same group. "Children from around the world" are eligible to participate in both stages. At least in Britain, some children participate through book groups.
The annual cycle approximately fits the British school year. Nominations are open from September to September, covering books published in the U.K. during the same twelve months. As of 23 September 2012, nominations for the 2014 awards are open but the publication of eligible books is only beginning. Nominations for 2013 are closed but the shortlists have not been announced.
The three ballots, or shortlists, comprise those ten books that garner the most nominations. For 2012 there were four books on the Younger Children ballot and three each on the Younger Readers and Older Readers ballots.
Currently the annual awards cover books first published in the U.K. during those twelve months beginning two Septembers ago (September 2010 for the 2012 awards).
From 1992 to 2012 —the period of one Overall and three category awards[a]— twelve Overall winners have come from the Long Novel or Older Readers category, six from the Short Novel or Younger Readers category, three from the Picture Book or Younger Children category.
- Overall: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness and Jim Kay (Walker Books)
- Overall: Shadow by Michael Morpurgo (HarperCollins)
- Overall: Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic)
- Overall: Blood Ties by Sophie McKenzie (Simon & Schuster)
- Overall: Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy (HarperCollins)
- Overall: You're a Bad Man, Mr Gum! by Andy Stanton (Egmont)
- Overall: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan (Disney Hyperion)
- Overall: Baby Brains by Simon James (Walker)
- Overall: Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo (HarperCollins)
- Overall: Skeleton Key by Anthony Horowitz (Walker)
- Overall: Noughts and Crosses by Malorie Blackman (Corgi)
- Overall: Eat Your Peas (book) by Kes Gray, illustrated by Nick Sharratt (The Bodley Head)
- Overall: Kensuke's Kingdom by Michael Morpurgo, illustrated by Michael Foreman (Heinemann)
- Overall: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J. K. Rowling (Bloomsbury)
- Overall: Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J. K. Rowling (Bloomsbury)
- Overall: The Hundred-Mile-an-Hour Dog by Jeremy Strong (Viking)
- Overall: Double Act by Jacqueline Wilson (Doubleday)
- Overall: Harriet's Hare by Dick King-Smith (Doubleday)
- Overall: The Boy in the Bubble by Ian Strachan (Methuen)
- Overall: The Suitcase Kid by Jacqueline Wilson (Heinemann)
- Overall: Kiss the Dust by Elizabeth Laird (Methuen)
Winners of multiple awards
Prior to winning the 2012 Red House Award, Overall, A Monster Calls was named the 2011 British Children's Book of the Year. Subsequently Ness and Kay as author and illustrator won both annual children's book awards from the professional librarians, the Carnegie Medal and Greenaway Medal; that double award alone was an unprecedented sweep. In fact, no previous Children's/Red House Award winner (Overall) has won the Carnegie Medal and only one has won the Greenaway Medal for illustration: the inaugural Children's winner Mr Magnolia (Jonathan Cape, 1980), written and illustrated by Quentin Blake.
- Authors with multiple Children's/Red House awards
Michael Morpurgo has won three Overall awards for Kensuke's Kingdom in 2000, Private Peaceful in 2004, and Shadow in 2011. He has also won category awards for The Wreck of the Zanzibar in 1996 and Out of Ashes in 2002.
Four other authors have won two Overall awards:
- Roald Dahl 1983, 1989
- Robert Swindells 1985, 1990
- Jacqueline Wilson 1993, 1996
- J. K. Rowling 1998, 1999
J. K. Rowling won the Long Novel category four years in succession, 1998 to 2001, for the first four Harry Potter books.
- From 1981 to 1991 there was only a single Children's Book Award. From 1992 to 2001 there were three award categories called Picture Book, Short Novel, and Long Novel; the current category names date from 2002. The official website calls for schoolchildren to nominate a "picture book, chapter book, or novel" (RHCBA, Nominate).
- Red House Children's Book Award (RHCBA). Retrieved 2012-09-23.
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