Sarah McIntyre announced as judge for Sainsbury’s first Children’s Book Awards

Sarah McIntyre's Christmas Present Picks - Super Animal Adventure Squad and Fish Head Steve - Felt MistressSainsbury’s, Britain’s third largest supermarket and a major player in children’s book retailing, has announced details of the first “Sainsbury’s Children’s Book Awards” – and comic creator Sarah McIntyre is one of the judges.

Sainsbury’s is inviting all their current children’s book publishers to nominate up to two books for each of the three award categories: Baby and Toddler, Picture Books; and Fiction for age 5-9 years.

The judging panel will be chaired by Louise Ward, Sainsbury’s Children’s Book Buyer and will comprise acclaimed author Phil Earle, award winning illustrator Sarah McIntyre and Sainsbury’s  children’s book buying team. The judges will shortlist three books per category. The winning author of each category will receive a prize of £1,000 and all winning titles and shortlisted books will be promoted in Sainsbury’s stores in the key trading period leading up to Christmas 2014.

Sainsbury’s sells children’s books in more than 300 supermarket stores across the UK. In 2011 Sainsbury’s re-launched its range of own-brand children’s books and in 2013 was awarded the title “Children’s Bookseller of the Year” at The Bookseller Industry Awards.

Phil Carroll, Sainsbury’s Books Buying Manager announced the Awards saying; “We are really proud of our success in children’s books which has been made possible because of the great relationships we have with our publishers, authors and illustrators.

“We came up with the idea of doing our own awards as a way of highlighting to our customers the very best children’s books.”

“I find Sainbury’s is a sort of comforting presence,” says Sarah of the chain, in a post where she shows some of her design work for the Awards logo. “When the bombs went off in 2005 and my husband was working right in central London in a government building, I couldn’t get through to him on the phone. It just rang and rang, as many people’s phones did that day. There wasn’t anything I could do, and I hardly knew anyone then, but I was too freaked out to sit at home. So I walked over to Sainbury’s, on the pretext of getting some milk.

“There was an old man riding his mobility scooter around the wine section, blasting ethereal classical choral music from his speakers. He pulled up behind me in the checkout, where I had a brief chat with the checkout girl, mentioning the bombings. When I finished my purchase, he pulled up to me, gave me a kindly look, and handed me a stick of gum. ‘Here you go, you look like you could use this.’

“It was such a welcome gesture, I almost burst into tears right there in the shop. Stuart turned out to be fine, and I saved the gum wrapper as a bookmark for years.”

• The deadline for submissions to the Awards is 5.00pm on 6th June 2014 and the nine shortlisted books will be announced in early October 2014.

Categories: British Comics - Books

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