The Bisto Ballot was launched in March 2011 to mark the 21st anniversary of the awards. A specially commissioned 21st anniversary exhibition documenting the history of the awards and each of the winning titles has been on tour for the past ten months, allowing people the length and breadth of the country to cast their votes.
Winner of the 2007 – or 18th – Bisto Children’s Book of the Year Award, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, has sold more than five million copies worldwide since it was published in 2006, appeared on bestseller lists the world over and was made into a highly acclaimed feature film in 2008.
Responding to the news that his book had been selected as the nation’s favourite, John Boyne said:
“Considering the number of extraordinary books which have won the Bisto Children’s Book of the Year since 1991, I feel humbled and honoured that my novel, The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, has been selected by voters as their favourite winner. It’s a novel that I hoped would touch young readers and thanks in no small part to those people who are evangelical about the promotion of children’s literature – librarians, teachers, Children’s Books Ireland, and the advocates in the media – it reached a far wider audience than I ever imagined possible. I hope it proves that serious and complex subjects can and should be explored in children’s literature.”