Thousands of Lancashire primary school bookworms have picked their top reads and favourite children's book illustrators – with those crowned at an awards celebration.

Lancashire County Council's School Library Service's Fantastic Book and Brilliant Book Awards 2023 saw children from across 170 primary schools voting for their favourite read this spring.

The awards came to a glittering culmination at an exciting celebration hosted by the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), which saw the authors and illustrators of their top reads receiving the accolades.

The awards are aimed at encouraging a love of reading for pleasure while also promoting independent reading and motivating pupils to read more widely.

During the selection process, children from years two, five and six voted for their preferred books and illustrations, shared stories and got the chance to meet the authors and one of the illustrators.

Being crowned top of selection in the Fantastic Book Awards were authors Phil Earle, for his children's book 'When the Sky Falls,' Lee Newbury for 'The Last Firefox,' Rob Biddulph for 'Peanut Jones and the Illustrated City,' Louie Stowell, for 'Loki: a Bad God's Guide to Being Good' and Burhana Islam with illustrator Farah Khandaker for 'Mayhem Mission,' while author Alex Falase-Koya was crowned winner of the Brilliant Book Award along with illustrator Paula Bowles for 'Marv and the Mega Robot.'

County Councillor Jayne Rear, cabinet member for education and skills, said: "It was a pleasure to attend the celebration of the Fantastic Book Award and the Brilliant Book Award and to see that there is so much enthusiasm and interest in books and reading generally in our primary schools.

“It's a wonderful way of helping to build high standards of literacy and build a love of reading among children across Lancashire."

County Councillor Alan Cullens, Lancashire County Council's lead member for community and cultural services, said: "The Brilliant Book Award 2023 and the Fantastic Book Award 2023 are fantastic initiatives, and I'm very pleased that so many of our primary pupils have benefitted from them again this year."

County Councillor Cosima Towneley, cabinet member for children and families, said: "This is a wonderful scheme which has been very popular among our region's school children this year. 

“Congratulations to the winners. 

“It was an absolute delight to see the enthusiasm with which the children embraced the whole idea. I hope many of them will take this a step further and enjoy a summer of reading."

The celebration was organised by Lancashire School Library Service in partnership with UCLan's library and IT department and attended by the winning authors and their illustrators, along with the Vice Chairman of Lancashire County Council, County Councillor Tim Ashton, County Councillor Jayne Rear, cabinet member for education and skills, County Councillor Alan Cullens, lead member for community and cultural services, and County Councillor Cosima Towneley, cabinet member for children and families.

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