Books Are My Bag Readers Awards 2016!

I am thrilled and honoured to be one of the bloggers the gorgeous humans at Books Are My Bag reached out to for coverage on their first EVER Books Are My Bag Readers Awards – if you haven't already seen these, check 'em out and VOTE RIGHT HERE

I adore the whole Books Are My Bag movement. I've blogged about it all before – I did their Independent Bookshop Week blog tag and I got the family involved in doing a lovely 'Favourite Books' thing that week, too. 

Now, as a newly born bookseller, and a super keen one at that, I love that there's now a part I can play in my workplace for these guys. I can blow up the balloons and arrange them in the window of the shop. I can give out bookmarks, and promote the website as I do so. I can also provide customers with the unmistakable white and orange tote bags (and the special edition ones – see below!) to customers. I can also recommend the heck out of their awards shortlists, which I was fortunate enough to receive copies of.

Let's start with the bags before moving on to my many feels on the shortlists. Okay, so, the trademark orange and white bags are all well and good, but this year there are two other exciting options book lovers can get their hands on.
One features a Winnie The Pooh design, and the other has been made extra exquisite by Coralie Bickford-Smith, who wrote and designed the cover for 'The Fox and The Star', a huge seller in book stores everywhere last year (also Waterstones Book of the Year 2015, FYI).

The Readers Awards nominees are broken down into 5 shortlists to be voted for by the public, and then there's also a Readers Choice Award, which can be anything you wish, just type it in and submit!

The awards are sponsored by the babes at National Book Tokens, a company I have always been excitedly aware of but have become more familiar with recently through Stacey (who I've written with before at Pretty Books), who has absolutely outdone herself with publicity recently, like wow.

So, the categories are:
Fiction Award, Non-Fiction Award, Biography & Autobiography Award, Children's Award and Breakthrough Author. 
As mentioned earlier, I was lucky enough to be sent the complete shortlists for all these categories, and honestly I could talk about each of them all day long – and how actually the majority of them have been featured in my workplace as Books of the Month at some point, good work Waterstones! – but I am going to focus this post exclusively on the Children's nominees. I spend a lot of time in the children's and YA area of my bookshop and so I feel this is my category! 

So let's take a look at each of the shortlisted books, individually. Maybe a little note from me will help you when you go and vote

One, by Sarah Crossan.

Tippi and Grace are attached to each other. Literally, joined at the hip. They are conjoined twins. This book tells their story, through gorgeous poetry; how they start attending an actual school, find friends, and face the most ultimate of decisions. Together. 

I have written about this book before, and how it took me through an entire spectrum of emotion. 

The Rest of Us Just Live Here, by Patrick Ness.

This book sits in pride of place – alongside 'One', actually – on our YA fiction table display at work.

Mikey is a regular guy. He isn't the Chosen One. No, really, he isn't. He just wants to graduate, go to prom, get with the girl he likes – all the normal stuff, y'know? Well, that proves difficult in a world that almost ends each week and must be saved by someone else constantly. 

Beetle Boy, by MG Leonard. 

We're moving into Middle Grade now! Yay! This beauty happens to be permanently faced-out in our 9-12 section at work...

This book is the beginning of a trilogy, and a perfectly unique one at that. Darkus Cuttle is striving to solve the mystery of the disappearance of his dad, in the Natural History Museum. Soon after moving in with an uncle, Darkus enlists the help of the beetles that have infested his cousins' house next door... 

The Day the Crayons Came Home, by Drew Daywalt (illustrated by Oliver Jeffers).

This is the most ingenious and adorable picture book – I have totally bought it for a friend's son before. It's the perfect mixture of cuteness and intelligence.

It's a companion to the wildly successful 'The Day The Crayons Quit'. This time youngster Duncan discovers some crayons in dire need of rescuing.

The Bear and the Piano, by David Litchfield.

One day, a bear discovers an alien object in his woods. Slowly but surely, he teaches himself to play it. Then his talents are overheard by a man and his son, and soon he catapults into wild stardom!

I was astonished by this story. It touched me like y'all would not believe. I love any tale that focuses on dreams, and the concept of home. I weirdly completely identified with this bear. Legit, he could be me. I just can't play the piano...that's the only difference. 

The Detective Dog, by Julia Donaldson

Peter's dog named Nell, has a spectacular sense of smell!? That's right, this dog is a sniffing genius and could probably solve cases blindfolded. So when a local school's books are all stolen, who better to track down the culprit?

Oh, Julia. Darling. I see your name almost every day as I rearrange the messy children's picture books section at work. You have your own bay of shelves! I adore your work, I really do. So my expectations were high when I first opened this book – and they were not disappointed.

I couldn't possibly say which book I am backing for the Children's Fiction wait I can, ALL OF THEM! 

Okay, that's me done. For now. You can bet I'll be tweeting about this no end, and will hopefully post about the winners when they are revealed!

Readers, you must also check out my lovely pal George Lester's video about the BAMB Awards – his un-boxing of the delivery got me so excited even though I'd already un-boxed my own! 

**AND he has now uploaded a vid with mini-reviews of each book!**


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