Derby Book Festival launches Children’s Picture Book Award

A new Children’s Picture Book Award has been launched by Derby Book Festival to
celebrate picture books that children can relate to and in which the diversity and challenges
of modern life are represented.
The Festival, which will be held for the fifth time in 2019 from 31 May to 8 June, has invited
children’s publishers to submit up to three books, published in 2018, which meet these
criteria. Over 20 books were submitted by the closing date of 31 December 2018 and nine
books have been selected for the longlist (see Appendix for books and authors).
The Award, which we will run as a pilot in 2019, will involve Derby school teachers in the
selection of books for the shortlist. Children in six schools will then read the shortlisted
books and vote for their favourite, which will be announced at the 2019 Derby Book

The Award will be sponsored by local businesswoman, Deborah Fern: “I’m delighted to
continue my support of Derby Book Festival; this award for me is particularly exciting.
Imagine being a child, opening the page of a book and finding yourself within the pages.
Their imagination stirred – the beginning of a lifetime of enhanced reading for pleasure and
learning. I hope both the teachers and the children enjoy being involved. I can’t wait to see
which books they choose.”

The idea for the Award came from Di Smith, a Literacy Consultant in the city who works
with the Festival in organising the annual Meet the Author events for schools. Di explained:
“There has been a lot of discussion in the publishing world about the lack of representation
of ethnically diverse characters in children’s books. A recent report from the Centre for
Literacy in Primary Education has revealed that only 1% of children's books have black and
minority-ethnic (BAME) main characters. Derby is a diverse city with a significantly higher
number of BAME residents than the national average (19.7% compared to 14.6%) so we
hope the Award helps to encourage more authors to produce books to redress this

Derby Book Festival has always included a strong programme of events for children,
families and schools. Each year every Derby primary school is invited to bring a group of
children to two Meet the Author events held at Derby Theatre (with a capacity of 550). The
events inspire children in their love of reading by giving them the chance to hear and meet
their favourite authors. In previous years authors have included Sir Michael Morpurgo,
Lauren Child, Sarah McIntyre, Philip Reeve and poet Rachel Rooney. In 2019 the primary
schools’ events will include poet Joseph Coelho and Jeanne Willis.

The Festival is chaired by Liz Fothergill, who is also Chairman of Pennine Healthcare. Liz
said: “The Festival aims to celebrate the joy of books and reading. We want children in
Derby to be inspired by books, to discover different worlds and better understand their own.
The Children’s Picture Book Award aims to do just that.”
Derby Book Festival will include over 90 events aimed at all ages and interests. Tickets for
all events will be on sale on 10 April, when the programme is officially launched at a special
Derby Reads event in QUAD. Tickets will be available online from the Festival website: or in person from the Festival Box Office at QUAD and other
To find out more, visit the Festival website and sign up for more information. You can also
follow the Festival on Twitter at: @DerbyBookFest and ‘like’ the Festival on Facebook:


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