A CEREMONY of children's books had a touch of the Oscars, with a golden envelope revealing the winner.

More than 750 youngsters voted for their best read out of a shortlist of five.

Dominic Barker, author of Blart, made the winners speech at a ceremony in Eaglescliffe.

In its 11th year, the Stockton Children's Book of the Year celebrated the best in children's fiction.

Laurayne Featherstone, libraries and information services manager, said: "It's like our version of the Oscars. We take it really seriously, and the winning name is concealed in a gold evnelope.

"A lot of time and effort has been put into this, and ceremony is the icing on the cake."

Twenty-four schools in Stockton borough took part. The other titles in the shortlistwere:

* The Howling Tower by Michael Coleman

* I Coriander by Sally Gardner

* The Secret Country by Jane Johnson

* The Dreamwalker's Child by Steve Voake