Ross Collins, Alex McCall and Cathy MacPhail were today (4 March) announced as the winners of the 2015 Scottish Children’s Book Awards during a special ceremony at Edinburgh’s Assembly Rooms, attended by 600 children.
Scotland’s largest book prize for children’s authors and illustrators (each winning book receives £3,000), the Scottish Children’s Book Awards are voted for exclusively by children and are run by Scottish Book Trust and funded by Creative Scotland.
Over 28,000 votes were cast in this year’s awards, which are judged in three age categories – Bookbug Readers (3-7), Younger Readers (8-11) and Older Readers (12-16). Children across Scotland were encouraged to read the three shortlisted books in their age category and to vote for their favourite. A free copy of each of the Bookbug Category books was gifted to every Primary 1 child as part of Book Week Scotland 2014.
Glasgow-based author and illustrator Ross Collins won the Bookbug Reader’s (3-7 yrs) category for the illustrations in picture book Robot Rumpus, written by Sean Taylor. Published by Andersen Press, Robot Rumpus is a hilarious exploration of what might happen in a world where robots cater to our every need. Ross is the author and illustrator of over 100 picture books, and is a previous winner of two Scottish Children’s Book Awards – one in 2008 for Billy Monster’s Daymare and another in 2011 for Dear Vampa. Growing up, Ross attended Primary and Secondary school in Shawlands and then studied illustration at Glasgow School of Art, where he won the Macmillan children’s book prize in his final year. He also works in character development for animators such as Disney and is a regular at the Edinburgh Book Festival.
Kintore-based debut author Alex McCall, one of the youngest published authors in Scotland, won the Younger Readers (8-11 yrs) category for his first novel Attack of the Giant Robot Chickens. The book, published by Kelpies, is a hilarious story packed with adventure and chicken jokes. 21 year-old Alex, who grew up in Kittybrewster, wrote the novel in just 6 months after being inspired to put pen to paper when author Caroline Clough visited his school in 2013. Alex currently splits his time between promoting his book and studying Filmmaking and Screenwriting at the University of the West of Scotland in Ayr. This inaugural book has already won the 2013 Kelpies Prize. The sequel, Revenge of the Giant Robot Chickens, will be published by Kelpies in July.
Greenock-based author Cathy MacPhail, also a previous winner of two Scottish Children’s Book Awards (in 2006 for Roxy’s Baby and in 2010 for Grass) won the Older Readers (12-16 yrs) category for her young adult thriller Mosi’s War. Published by Bloomsbury, it is a taut, brilliantly written novel set in Glasgow which explores the terrifying world of child soldiers. Cathy was born and grew up in Greenock where she lives to this day. It wasn’t until her daughter became the subject of bullying that she was inspired to write her first children’s book, Run, Zan, Run. This won the 1994 Kathleen Fidler Award for new Scottish Writing. Cathy went on to win many other awards including a Scottish Arts Council Book Awards for Fighting Back. Her other books include Fugitive, the Nemesis series, Grass and Underworld among many others. She is currently Patron of Reading at Falkirk High and an Ambassador for Children First.