CHILDREN’S author and real-life private investigator Robert Muchamore has been named by Lancashire schoolchildren as this year’s top read.
'Divine Madness', a fast-paced fictional spy thriller, has scooped the Lancashire Children’s Book of the Year title - the county’s literary answer to the Oscars.
Now in its 21st year, Lancashire’s Children’s Book of the Year is run by the county council's Library and Information Service and is one of the country’s longest running children’s book competitions.
Each year young people across the county are invited to judge their favourite book from a highly diverse shortlist with something to suit every reader's tastes.
This year the shortlist comprised ten books, ranging from horror through to drama and adventure.
Twelve schools took part in the judging, representing each of the districts in Lancashire. Two pupils from each school sat on the judging panel to discuss each of the books under the expert guidance of famous children's author, Hazel Townson, to decide the winner.
Robert Muchamore attended a special ceremony at County Hall hosted by County Cllr Wendy Dwyer, Chairman of the county council, and Professor Patrick McGhee, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), from the University of Central Lancashire, where he was presented with the award by the young judges.
A special presentation was also made to author Hazel Townson who will be standing down as chair of the competition.
The popular author won by just ONE vote after a fierce battle between the 24 young judges. The runner– up was ‘The boy in the Striped Pyjamas’ by John Boyne, and third place was ‘Henry Tumour’ by Anthony McGowan.
Jean Wolstenholme, manager of young people's services at Lancashire County Council, said:
"The competition was established over 20 years ago to offer young people the opportunity to discuss different books they love and would like to recommend to their peers. The awards act as an excellent and fun starting point for both children and adults alike who are keen to choose a good read and are faced with an overwhelming choice of books available to them in our libraries, schools, and bookshops."
Born in Islington in 1972, Robert Muchamore works as a private investigator when not writing books. He was inspired to create the CHERUB series by his nephews' complaints about the lack of anything for them to read.
CHERUB is a branch of British Intelligence. Its agents are aged between 10 and 17 years. Cherubs are all orphans who have been taken out of care homes and trained to work undercover. They live on CHERUB Campus, a secret facility hidden in the English countryside.
To see this year's short-listed titles visit www.lancashire.gov.uk/libraries