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Gravett and Reeve win top book awards

This year's winners of the most prestigious British book awards for children and young adults, the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals, were announced today at a packed event at the British Library in London.

Announced as the 2008 winner of the Kate Greenaway Medal and Colin Mears Award is Emily Gravett for Little Mouse's Big Book of Fears, in which a small rodent confronts terrifying phobias. It is published by Macmillan.

Tricia Adams, chair of the judging panel commented ‘The attention to detail is astounding. It's such a satisfying experience which incorporates smell, texture, humour and great imagination.'

Accepting the Medal from special guest Michael Portillo, Emily paid tribute to the family pet who inspired the character of the mouse.

The winner of the Carnegie Medal for 2008 is Philip Reeve, for Here Lies Arthur, published by Scholastic. This is a story of Celtic Britain, with Reeve's interpretation of the legendary king having Welsh roots and a character transformed by the tales of Myrddin into the legend we know today.

‘I didn't believe it at frst', said Reeve, ‘but as I got over the shock and it began to sink in, I felt totally honoured'. He also paid tribute to his inspiration for his awarding winning title, John Boorman for his film Excalibur and a book by Geraldine McCaughrean.

The judges as always had an extremely difficult task in selecting one from each of the two shortlists of outstanding books selected from those nominated by children's and school librarians from around the country.

Many school librarians and groups such as SLA Branches around the UK have shadowed the Awards, reading and discussing the shortlisted books and holding their own votes. One particularly creative shadowing scheme is held by the SE Wales branch of SLA, and involves schools in and around Cardiff, where students come together for 2 days to create dramatic presentations of the shortlisted books for the Carnegie Medal. These are then performed in front of other students, and parents and a judging panel which this year included Jane Hutt AM, Welsh Assembly Minister for Children, Education, Lifelong Learning and Skills. Special Guest was last year's winner, Meg Rosoff, also on this year's Carnegie shortlist.

student winners with Jane Hutt and Meg RosoffAlthough the presentations are judged for performance, presentation and interpretation, not on the original book, this year's winning group were those who presented Here Lies Arthur, the winning title announced today. The photo shows the winners with Jane Hutt and Meg Rosoff.

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