Wendy Cooling, founder of Bookstart, and former member of the SLA Executive Committee has won this year's prestigious Eleanor Farjeon Award.
Eleanor Farjeon (1881-1965) grew up in a house filled with books, and she and her brothers enjoyed reading stories to one another and writing their own.
She is perhaps best remembered as the author of Elsie Piddock Skips in her Sleep, Martin Pippin in the Apple Orchard, and The Little Bookroom, but announcing the award at the Unicorn Children's Theatre, Ann Harvey reminded guests of Farjeon's play-writing.
Eleanor Farjeon won the prestigious Hans Christian Andersen Award and the Carnegie Medal for The Little Bookroom. The Children's Book Circle established the Eleanor Farjeon Award in her memory.
Wendy Cooling has been a teacher, the Head of Children's Book Foundation and was integral in the development of the Bookstart programme. She is a leading authority on children's books and literacy. She regularly works with the community, appearing on television and radio, to consult on educational literary matters and is a well-known freelance children's book consultant.
At the announcement Wendy talked of her amazement at winning the award, saying that at school she was too naughty to win prizes. She paid tribute to her school librarian who had moved her on from her usual book choices by giving her Lord Jim to read, opening her eyes to what a book could really do.
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