Winners of Scottish Children’s Book Awards revealed

Winning writers of the Scottish Children's Book Awards 2016, from left to right, Danny Weston (The Piper), Ross MacKenzie (The Nowehere Emporium), Simon Puttock and illustrator Ali Pye (both created Mouse's First Night at Moonlight School), at the Central Hotel, Glasgow. In the back row are 'Maggie, 4, Jack, 10 and Orla, 4, who judged the books. Picture: Hemedia

Winning writers of the Scottish Children's Book Awards 2016, from left to right, Danny Weston (The Piper), Ross MacKenzie (The Nowehere Emporium), Simon Puttock and illustrator Ali Pye (both created Mouse's First Night at Moonlight School), at the Central Hotel, Glasgow. In the back row are 'Maggie, 4, Jack, 10 and Orla, 4, who judged the books. Picture: Hemedia

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THREE books which explore themes of magic and mystery have been voted books of the year by thousands of children.

Simon Puttock, Ross MacKenzie and Danny Weston were announced as the winners of the 2016 Scottish Children’s Book Awards during a ceremony at Glasgow’s Grand Central Hotel, attended by nearly 1,000 children.

The awards, run by the Scottish Book Trust and supported by Creative Scotland, celebrate the most popular children’s and young adult books by Scottish authors or illustrators and are voted for exclusively by children.

School children cast nearly 30,000 votes for this year’s awards, which were judged in three age categories - Bookbug Readers (three-seven), Younger Readers (eight-11) and Older Readers (12-16).

Young participants across the country were encouraged to read the three short-listed books in their age category and vote for their favourite.

Mr MacKenzie, author of The Nowhere Emporium which won the Young Reader category, said: “Any award is always fantastic to get but an award where so many children not only read your book but vote for it, it’s the fact that the voting is up to the kids.

“It’s not a panel, it’s the readers who you write the books for that are voting for you.

“The fact that thousands of kids across Scotland have read The Nowhere Emporium and voted for it is the biggie.

“It’s your audience telling you what you are doing. It’s giving you the seal of approval, it means so much.”

Mr Puttock, who won the Bookbug award for the picture book Mouse’s First Night At Moonlight School, said: “The voting brings the books to schools and it makes people think and talk about books, and it tells children they have a right to have opinions.

“It’s brilliant because hopefully it means they really cared.”

Philip Caveney, who wrote his winning novel The Piper under the pseudonym of Danny Weston, said: “It’s one of the most true awards going, the reason we write are these young people.

“Kids these days are very, very sophisticated, I think.”

He revealed The Piper was inspired by his time at a boarding school, and said: “We were beaten all the time, beaten for the smallest misdemeanors like not doing your tie up properly or having your shirt hanging out.

“My way of escape was to find a really good book.”

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