The CILIP Carnegie amp; Kate Greenaway Children's Book Awards - often described as the Children's Booker prize - have made history. For the first time in 56 years, both medals have been won by the same book, A Monster Calls.
Author Patrick Ness (also last year's winner) claimed the CILIP Carnegie Medal, while illustrator Jim Kay picked up the sister award, the Kate Greenaway Medal. It's only the second time that an author has won the Carnegie medal two years in a row.
The awards ceremony last night was the culmination of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals' (CILIP) "shadowing" scheme, which now has 4,000 registered groups in schools across the UK and beyond. For the past few months, around 90,000 children have been devouring the 16 books shortlisted for the two medals and posting their reviews on the internet. Then they cast their votes.
The judges - all children's librarians - are renowned for choosing challenging books and A Monster Calls is no exception. A powerful and ultimately uplifting story, it follows 13-year-old Conor, who is running from the knowledge that his mother is dying from cancer and encounters the monster of his nightmares.
Rachel Levy, chair of the 2012 CILIP Kate Greenaway judging panel, says: "Jim Kay's illustrations are absolutely stunning ... and beautifully complement Patrick Ness's haunting text. Quite simply one of the defining books of its generation."
A share of the royalties from every copy of the book sold goes to the Siobhan Dowd Trust, which aims to bring books to disadvantaged children in the UK.
For more information about the shadowing scheme, visit www.ckg.org.ukshadowing.