As a school librarian, and someone who has spent decades working with young people to nurture a love of reading, I have seen first-hand just how important engaging with writers is. School visits from authors can do more to create a buzz about reading than any number of expensive schemes and lesson plans.
When we were first planning the Pupil Library Assistant of the Year Award we knew right from the off that we wanted to get top authors on board, and so we put our feelers out for support. We had no idea if we would get enough people on board to make a difference, but we needn't have worried. As soon as we asked, people started to come forward and soon we had an impressive list of writerly supporters.
Each of these authors donated their time and came to the award ceremony and made the day extra special by introducing each finalist. They chatted to the young finalists and made them feel important and more at ease, and then signed books and mingled. Thanks to this awesome group of writers the day felt like a proper glitzy award and it really enhanced the whole experience.
We really can't thank these authors enough, and many of them wrote about the experience later and links to their articles are shown below. You can find larger pictures of all of our supporting authors with the finalists in the gallery.
This year we are looking for this kind of support again, but we also wanted to say a very big thank you again to all of the authors who made this day so memorable for all of us.
So to Lucy Coats, Tim Collins, Cliff McNish, Jeff Norton, Caroline Lawrence, Sufiya Ahmed, Teri Terry and everyone who donated time support and books - we love you all, and we really could not have done this without you.