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Young judges call book prize a tie

Grampian Children's Book Award goes jointly to The Enemy and Grass. Jean McLeish reports

Grampian Children's Book Award goes jointly to The Enemy and Grass. Jean McLeish reports

It's a librarian's dream to see so many children showing their enthusiasm for reading. There were more than 500 young people in the audience to hear who had won this year's Grampian Children's Book Award.

The decision is a popular one and children from schools across the north- east greet the news with screams and cheers of approval. It's refreshing to see books produce such passion.

This is the seventh annual award open to voters in S1-3 in schools across Moray, Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire. The youngsters have voted two books into joint first position - Catherine MacPhail's Grass and Charlie Higson's The Enemy.

MacPhail is there and signs copies of her book afterwards: "I'm absolutely over the moon. I can't explain it - I am so chuffed," she says, as a long line of teenagers queue up clutching copies of Grass.

Twelve-year-old Adam Mair from Buckie High in Banffshire is glad that both books are sharing joint first place. "I liked The Enemy because I like a good horror book. Grass was different from what I normally read - I usually read more science fiction and it was more reality-based, so I found it interesting."

Chloe Johnston, 13, from Meldrum Academy in Inverurie, has enjoyed an afternoon listening to extracts from the six shortlisted titles. "It was a really good atmosphere and a good experience. I read every day. I think this competition introduces kids to other books they might not otherwise have read," says Chloe.

A committee of librarians runs the event and children at schools across the region vote for the winner. The other four books that made it to the shortlist of six were Angel Cake by Cathy Cassidy, Wasted by Nicola Morgan, Running Wild by Michael Morpurgo and The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman.

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