Jo Cotterill Oct 2018.jpeg

Judging Panel  - 2019 


Our special guest judge for 2019 was top author, Jo Cotterill!

Jo has published over forty books for young people, including the award-winning Looking at the Stars, A Library of Lemons and Electricgirl (with illustrator, Cathy Brett). Jo's latest book is, Jelly - a story of body confidence and self-belief. A voracious reader at a young age, Jo would regularly take out the maximum number of books allowed on her library ticket.

(The regular judging panel in alphabetical order)

Sufiya Ahmed - Author

Sufiya Ahmed was born in India and arrived in the UK as a baby. She lived in Bolton, Lancashire, before moving to London where she still lives. Sufiya has worked in advertising and in the House of Commons but is now a full-time author. In 2010 Sufiya set up the BIBI Foundation, a non-profit organisation, to arrange visits to the Houses of Parliament for diverse and underprivileged school children.

She is the author of the bestselling book - Secrets of the Henna Girl.


Barbara Band - Chair of the Judging Panel

Barbara is a Chartered Librarian with over twenty five years’ experience in school libraries and is currently a school library consultant offering support and training to schools all over the country. Barbara is a former President of CILIP, and delivers workshops and training on reading, literacy and library-related issues, and is an active promoter of both school and public libraries. In 2016 Barbara was awarded an honorary masters degree by the Open University for her nationwide services to children's literacy, and for her work breaking down the barriers to education.


Elizabeth Bentley

Elizabeth  has been a school librarian for over 30 years, always working in inner-city schools in south east London, and is married with three daughters, all now grown-up. She founded the School Librarians' Network in 1998, an email list supporting UK school librarians, now with over 1000 members. Elizabeth is co-author of The innovative school librarian, published by Facet Press in 2009, the 2nd edition of which is now available. She has been a member of the School Library Group of CILIP since joining CILIP in 1980, and is now a member of the national committee.




Annie Everall

Annie is a Director of “Authors Aloud UK” and a consultant and trainer in the areas of children’s books, libraries and reading. During her career, she has developed and managed a range of award winning library services and reading initiatives and is also Chair of the Literacy & Reading Section Committee of IFLA (International Federation of Library and Information Associations). Annie speaks internationally on library and literacy, issues and is an important international voice in the campaign for the importance of the wider beneficial outcomes of chilldren's reading.


Dawn Finch

Dawn has spent almost thirty years in both public and school libraries, specialising in children’s reading and the wider outcomes of reading for pleasure. She is widely known for her public speaking and her support of library and literacy campaigns, and works as a trainer and consultant on literacy matters. She is a published author, writing both fiction and bestselling non-fiction for children, and was 2016 President of CILIP and a member of the Society of Author's CWIG committee.