The opening book of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy, Northern Lights, has been selected as the best children's book of the past 70 years.

A total of 5,000 readers participated in the poll in which they were picked one book for the award from a list of ten Carnegie winners selected by specialists.

After the announcement of the award, the author said it was "without any question the most important honour I have ever received, and the one I treasure the most".

His Dark Materials trilogy is about a boy and a girl who lead the peoples of various universes in a fight against the henchmen of a senile God. The trilogy, one of the leading examples of work in the children's fantasy genre, has sold over 15 million copies worldwide.

Northern Lights previously won the 1995 Carnegie aware as well as the Guardian children's fiction prize.

The Subtle Knife and the Amber Spyglass followed Northern Lights to complete Pullman's trilogy. A Hollywood version of the first book, titled The Golden Compass, is also in the works.

Other awards were also announced during the event with Shirley Hughes receiving the Greenaway of Greenaways award for Dogger. This year's Carnegie award was given to Meg Rosoff for her novel Just in Case and Mini Grey picked up the Kate Greenaway prize for The Adventures of Dish and the Spoon.

22/06/2007 08:18:57