With a strong shortlist this year for both awards it was always going to be difficult to choose the winners. This award however is unique, there are no commercial aspects to it, books are selected entirely by librarians and judged by them too. Children shadow the award, reading the books and posting their comments on the specially designed website and with over 3,800 reading groups shadowing this year there are plenty of reviews to read!
Kirsty Wark introduced proceedings reminding the assembled audience of the importance not only of libraries, as a haven and inspiration for children but also of some of the classic books that had given her, and many of us pleasure. The phrases 'You are never alone with a book' and 'Read to Live as quoted by Joy Court chair of the 2009 judging panel summed up the feelings of all those gathered. We were there to celebrate the very best books that have been published in the last year and whilst there can only ever be one winner all those on the shortlist are in fact winners.
However without further preamble I should tell you that the winners were - for the Kate Greenaway medal Catherine Rayner with the beautiful, funny and heartwarming 'Harris Finds His Feet'. For the Carnegie Medal the first ever posthumous award was presented to Siobhan Dowd for the wonderful and evocative Bog Child.
Catherine Rayner was stunned by her win, honoured and flattered. She explained how hard it had been to complete this book and had lots of thanks for all those who had supported her.
The sisters of Siobhan Dowd accepted her prize and were followed by a moved David Fickling who made a passionate speech on her behalf.
On behalf of Armadillo and the team, congratulations to the two winners and to all those authors and illustrators who made it onto the long and shortlists. Let us all continue to inspire children and create more generations of readers.