WHAT excitement! Not only were the blinds down, so I had to peep in the side windows, but they had FOOD and FIZZY DRINKS in the library! I was so tempted to fly in; one of the windows was open… but I knew they’d just start screaming and throwing things.

It was the final of the “Carnegie”… the BIG children’s book prize. There were 16 of them swanning around in there, missing lessons, gawping at the screen and stuffing themselves with crisps, chocolate and fizz. All because they’d read between 3 and 8 (all) of the books shortlisted for the prize. Then they’d met every Thursday and talked about the books.

The prize-giving was screened live from the British Library, hosted by June Sarpong (who, to be honest, didn’t always really seem to know what she was doing). The best bit was a speech by a blind girl; really inspirational. She was so articulate and passionate about reading, and was delivering her speech reading from Braille at normal speed; really something.

The Amnesty prizes for diversity went to Levi Pinfold for his illustrations of AF Harrold’s “The Song from Somewhere Else”, and to Angie Thomas for her amazing “THUG” (The Hate U Give) which tells the story of 16-year-old Starr following the fatal shooting of a male friend by a white police officer. That was one of our students’ favourite books from the list.

They all had more to eat… and drink… and then the main medals were awarded. The Carnegie Medal went to Geraldine McCaughrean for “Where the World Ends”, based on a true story of a remote island off Scotland where, in the 18th Century, a group were stranded for 9 months. Our group’s top choice was “After the Fire” by Will Hill; about a religious cult, but they had placed the winner 4th and weren’t too disappointed at it being chosen!

Geraldine McCaughrean has been on the shortlist loads of times before, and she won way back in 1988 when I wasn’t even an egg in my great-grandmother’s eye… though I reckon Mrs Myhill had already been around a good 50 years by then.

It was a great morning, and I hung around afterwards hoping that they’d sweep their bits of food rubbish out of the window… but no luck there.

Hope lots of people get to read those Carnegie books; they sound great… and hope too that even more students join in the fun next year!