Teachers, librarians and booksellers across the country are being invited to set up groups of children, who will read a shortlist of titles - fiction, non-fiction or poetry - published in 2005 and selected by an expert panel. They will then vote online or by post for their favourites.
The awards, which replace the Scottish Arts Council children's book of the year, won in the past by J K Rowling, Alison Prince and Alison Laird, are being administered by BRAW, the new network for Scottish children's books.
Sponsored by the Royal Mail and supported by The TES Scotland as media sponsor, they will be split into three categories: younger readers (seven and under); 8 to 12-year-olds and 13 to 16-year-olds. Groups will read the shortlisted titles during the autumn term and vote in November. Winners will be announced at an awards ceremony in Edinburgh in December.
Anna Gibbon, manager of BRAW, said: "We're very excited about the book awards -particularly about getting children involved in the judging. It's a means of showcasing the very best of Scottish children's fiction directly to Scottish children, and really getting them interested and involved in books and reading."
BRAW will launch a website this week, offering a full guide to children's authors and illustrators in Scotland, and will co-ordinate events for World Book Day 2006, on March 2 (see page 9).