YOUNG bookworms have received a Blue Peter badge of honour after being chosen to judge a prestigious literary competition for the iconic children’s television show.
Students across The Education Village Academy Trust, Darlington, have been selected as one of only 12 schools across the whole of the UK to cast their votes in the 2017 Blue Peter Book Awards.
The awards, managed by BookTrust, the largest reading charity in Britain, judge the best new children’s books written in the past 12 months.
Fifty Year 5 and Year 6 pupils, from Springfield Academy, Gurney Pease Academy and Marchbank Free School, will each read from a list of six shortlisted books before casting their vote on their favourite work.
Education Village Academy Trust librarian Karen Fantarrow said: “Blue Peter is a national institution and a show that adults and children are all familiar with.
“We are the only school in the North East to have been chosen to take part in the book award judging and our pupils are really excited to be involved.
“Hopefully this will be an excellent stepping stone towards encouraging our students to read more and also for parents and carers to get involved and enjoy reading books with their children.”
All students are required to read at least three of the shortlisted books, which are divided into two categories Best Story and Best Book with Facts, before deciding on their favourite at a judging party on February 1, which will be attended by Darlington author and illustrator Liz Million.
“It’s fantastic that we have three schools across The Education Village Academy Trust all involved in the project,” said Mrs Fantarrow.
“The students have been reading at home and at school and I have been told that some of our Marchbank pupils have even been asking to stay in at break times to finish their books.
“Reading is so important for children, not only for the enjoyment it brings, but for the benefits it brings to all aspects of education, from primary school to secondary school and beyond.”
The books shortlisted for the Blue Peter Book Awards 2017 include: Ross Welford’s bestselling debut Time Travelling with a Hamster, Kieran Larwood’s adventure tale Podkin One Ear, Lisa Murphy’s comic-style collection of forgotten folk stories, Lost Tales, David Long’s Survivors, an anthology of incredible true stories, Dr Christoph Englert’s Destination Space and Where Football Rules the World, by Alex Bellos and Ben Lyttleton.
The overall winner will be announced on Blue Peter on World Book Day.