James and Smith join Blue Peter Book Awards as judges

James and Smith join Blue Peter Book Awards as judges

Kid Normal authors Greg James and Chris Smith are joining the Blue Peter Book Awards’ judging panel.

The Radio 1 DJs will sit alongside performance poet and author-illustrator Laura Dockrilll, School Librarian of the Year 2016 Amy McKay and Blue Peter editor and non-voting chair Ewan Vinnicombe.

Managed by BookTrust, the UK’s largest children’s reading charity, since 2008, the awards honour authors and illustrators as well as the best books for children, published in the last 12 months.

The shortlist is made up of six titles and split into two categories: Best Story and Best Book with Facts. The winning titles, voted for by over 200 children from 12 schools across the UK, will be revealed live on Blue Peter on World Book Day on 1st March 2018, with the winning authors and illustrators appearing on the special awards episode of the show.

James and Smith said: “We are thrilled to have entered this brilliant world of children's literature and with our Blue Peter badges firmly in place, a steaming cup of tea to hand, we are ready to settle in for a few days of reading. We can't wait to see what amazing stories these authors have cooked up.”

Vinnicombe said: “It’s one of the highlights on my Blue Peter year to chair the judges meeting especially because I get to read all the amazing books that enter each year too, picking up some interesting facts and immerse myself in some brilliant characters from the world of children’s fiction. The Blue Peter Book Awards are a key part of our 60th birthday year.” 

James and Smith's first children's book, Kid Normal (Bloomsbury), is about boy who accidentally enrols in a school for children with superpowers and was published in July. They told The Bookseller that they had "entered into the publishing experience like two wide-eyed and excitable rabbits who have inadvertently found themselves in a carrot warehouse".