Let's start in Yorkshire, with Leeds Central Library. If you're outside of Britain and reading this, you should know that we're having a real battle in this country to keep our libraries and trained librarians, but it's good to know that the big, fancy library in Leeds has a very solid guard dog looking after it.
So the big news is, my book Vern and Lettuce won the Leeds Graphic Novel Award!!
I wasn't expecting to win it, because my sheep and rabbit were up against the tremendous powerhouse that is the Etherington Brothers, with their Monkey Nuts, much-lauded John and Sandra of Metaphrog with Louis Night Salad and several other fine contenders. Our former DFC colleague and friend Dave Shelton, last year's winner for Good Dog, Bad Dog, presented the award. We had a laugh later, looking at the photos, because the trophy is made of glass, so you can't see it, and it looks like Dave and I are just holding hands or something.
The Etheringtons, Metaphrog and I all gave comics presentations to the kids gathered, who were part of the nine Leeds schools who had voted on the award. I did a bit of flip-chart drawing, of Vern and Lettuce with bubble gum, and I was so flustered that I forgot to draw Lettuce's tail. But never mind. One of the girls there copied my drawing and showed me her version afterward. Isn't it fabulous?
If you like Vern and Lettuce (and Leeds does, yay!), be sure to check out the other books in the DFC Library series; its books are a total hit with kids whenever they find them. And if you like those, think about subscribing to The Phoenix comic, which is launching this January. (So a subscription would be a perfect Christmas gift.) Don't miss the first issue, it's going to be amazing!
Here's the Metaphrog team, listening to the Etherington's dynamic talk about how to make comics:
And here are some of the kids who took part in the competition. Thanks so much for your votes!
Another shot of the details in this amazing library. SNOGGING LIONS!
It was great to see the kids were busy making comics; here are a few they showed me on the day:
Thank you very much to my contact person and award coordinator Deborah Moody (third from the right). Debbie's doing loads of good things to bring comics, a love of reading, and visual and textual literacy to Leeds communities, and together with her library teams, deserves a big round of applause.
And look! That's my picture book writer, Gillian Rogerson, there on the far left! More about her in the next blog post...
You can read a bit more over on the David Fickling blog!