The Federation of Children’s Book Groups is celebrating its half-centenary this year.
ACHUKA has been fortunate to be present at many of the annual award presentations, splendid occasions when shortlisted authors and illustrators mingle with young readers and their families over lunch. The most memorable of these were ones held at the Roof Gardens, Kensington, before the move, first to the Hay Festival, and then to the South Bank.
The current sponsor is BookLife Publishing and the deadline for voting on the 2018 shortlist has now passed. The category winners and the author of the best children’s book published in the 2017 nomination period will be announced this Saturday 9th June 2018 and I am sure it will be the fabulous occasion it always is.
The Federation’s founder Anne Wood – who spoke at a birthday party event held at Foyles earlier this evening – set up the first Children’s Book Group in 1965. By 1968, through Anne’s magazine Books For Your Children, more and more people had joined groups across the UK and the Federation was created to link these (initially just eight) groups together. Anne later founded Ragdoll Productions, known for its award-winning Teletubbies and In The Night Garden children’s programmes.
The first winner of the Children’s Book Award was Mr Magnolia by Quentin Blake (in the days when the presentation was held in a tent) and the most recent (in 2017) An Eagle In The Snow by Michael Morpurgo.
The group has produced a commemorative booklet which charts its history, with many commendations from authors and illustrators. Just one example, from Anthony Horowitz: “The Federation of Children’s Book Groups, in their own quiet and single-minded way, have done more for literacy, for literature and for reading than almost anyone.”