THE PRIZES for the top children's books of 2006 have gone to a novel for teenagers about destiny and self-image and a picture-book Bonnie and Clyde adventure inspired by a nursery rhyme.
Meg Rosoff, whose first novel How I Live Now was greeted with acclaim in 2004, this week received the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals' Carnegie Medal for Just in Case. It is the witty and compassionate story of David Case, a nothing-special 16-year-old who reinvents himself as Justin, a snappy dresser, model and athlete after being shaken up when his baby brother nearly dies in an accident.
"All teenagers, not only girls, are interested in transformation - the idea of the makeover is very compelling," said Ms Rosoff. "Adolescents are also very involved with the idea that your life can turn on a sixpence, that the whole course of your life can be changed by someone you meet in the street, and that it's all meant to be. This causes a lot of anxiety.
"When my mother told me I would grow up and meet Mr Right, I was terrified that I would never manage to find this person as there was really only one of them," she added.
The winner of the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal for the best illustrated work of 2006 is Mini Grey, who developed a passion for picture books as a primary teacher. The Adventures of the Dish and the Spoon, her fifth book, tells the rags-to-riches-to-rags story of the runaways in the nursery rhyme "Hey Diddle Diddle", who turn to crime after success as a circus act.
Teen readers, page 25