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Last Updated: Saturday, 14 June, 2003, 13:29 GMT 14:29 UK
Children vote for best new book
Children reading
Children voted for their hero Alex Rider
Children have voted Anthony Horowitz's novel about a teenage James Bond the winner of a leading book prize.

The Red House Children's Book Award is the only major book prize chosen by children alone.

Alex Rider, the hero of Stormbreaker and Skeleton Key, has been dubbed "James Bond in Nike trainers".

And he is a clear a favourite with children.

Around 25,000 children from all over the UK took part in judging this year through book groups organised by the Federation of Children's Book Groups and via the award's website.

Winner: Skeleton Key by Anthony Horowitz
Runners up: Blitzed by Robert Swindells
Pants by Giles Andreae and Nick Sharratt

Previous winners of the award, now in its 23rd year, include Quentin Blake, Roald Dahl and JK Rowling.

Horowitz, who created TV detective series The Midsomer Murders, was presented with a trophy and a portfolio of letters from children for his best-selling action adventure Skeleton Key.

Other winners at the awards ceremony in Kensington, west London, on Saturday were Robert Swindells, Giles Andreae and Nick Sharratt.

Swindells was named winner in the category of Books for Younger Readers for his World War II adventure Blitzed.

Andreae, the creator of cartoon character Purple Ronnie, together with illustrator Sharratt, won the Books for Younger Children category for Pants, their humorous collaboration about underwear.

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