I have a Blue Peter badge!! And I'm thrilled to be on the team choosing this year's Blue Peter Book Awards. Last Friday we all met up with editor Ewan Vinnicombe, Book Trust and the film crew at Manchester Central Library. Which is AMAZING. Have you been to Manchester Central Library? GO NOW, it's the most incredible place. Here is fellow judge Florentyna Martin admiring it with me.
When we arrived, the library served up lovely Eccles cakes:
And we ran around with bananas in the former office of the Chief Librarian (as one does). Here's fellow judge Nihal Arthanayake brandishing deadly fruit like a pro.
The film crew had a lot of gear, which I decorated (again, as one does).
Heh heh, I just had to show you the handles of the toilets down the hall. They actually say 'Crapper' on them. (Because, as any toilet expert knows, the history of sanitation owes a great deal to Yorkshireman Thomas Crapper.)
And then we got to go to the big central READING ROOM. WHOA. Also, wonderful accoustics, you can make all sorts of strange noises and they will bounce back to you. And we were there after-hours, which was rather lucky.
And here's our judging team! Me, Nihal, Florentyna and Ewan (who helped the three of us come to a decision). We all had books we were really passionate about (although Ewan had to keep his favourites secret), and we each lost a book we really hoped would get in. But the face-to-face discussion was very helpful; I found myself suitably convinced in a couple cases, and Nihal and Florentyna also really listened when I pleaded for certain books.
Huge thanks to Ewan, Tanuja East and the Blue Peter film crew, Jenny Holder and Robyn Donaldson from BookTrust, and Suzi Wild from the library, who looked after us so well!
Blue Peter will announce the shortlist live on Thursday, 1 December, and you can read more about the Blue Peter Book Awards over on Book Trust's website. Here's the time in 2013 that Oliver and the Seawigs was announced on the shortlist, which was a very exciting day. :)