Slipping through a time wormhole

Alison Cassels is the CKG Judge for Yorkshire & The Humber YLG and is a Reading Officer in Wakefield.


As I head towards the end of my second year as a judge, I’ve made a few notes to slip through a time wormhole to the me who was just starting this adventure…

  • Invest in clothes that don’t need ironing. Wave goodbye to your garden (hello weeds!) and make space for the biggest pile of unsorted junk mail in Yorkshire.
  • At the end of Year One you will think the record number of nominations was because of the anniversary and there won’t be so many the following year. You will be VERY wrong…
  • You will feel even more how lucky you are to have such supportive managers and colleagues, and a husband who was so proud of what you were doing, did all the washing up for months and made a cup of tea every time you looked up at him.
  • However, teach do him to cook a few things before you start. You will get a bit tired of his signature dish of a plain omelette.
  • Don’t panic, the notes you are taking are fine and will be what you need on the day.  You will still get ‘notebook envy’ though when you see a fellow judge’s clever way of organising things or beautifully colour coded pages.
  • Don’t spend time trying to decide the obvious (to you) potential winners. There are 12 other people in the room and funnily enough they will all have their own views on this. You will have the most wonderful discussions though.
  • You will find that you actually really enjoy the challenge of reading big piles of books to a tight deadline.
  • But- tasty treats as a reading reward are a BAD idea..
  • You will get totally addicted to reading the reviews from the Shadowing groups. Their insights and frankness are wonderful and every time you need an extra dose of enthusiasm, go there to find it.
  • You will experience books by so many brilliant authors and illustrators, and be more convinced than ever that we are in a golden age of books for children and young people, and of the importance of helping them to discover the riches on offer.

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