• Thu. Jul 18th, 2024

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Young readers vote for best book in national Blue Peter competition

FACT and fiction fans have cast their votes to help crown the winner of the annual Blue Peter Book Awards.

Young literary critics from across The Education Village Academy Trust, Darlington, staged a ballot party to have their say on their favourite book of 2017, shortlisted by the CBBC magazine show.

The awards, managed by BookTrust, the largest reading charity in Britain, judge the best new children’s books written in the past 12 months.

More than 50 pupils aged ten and 11, from Marchbank Free School, Springfield Academy and Gurney Pease Academy, took part in the judging, reading from a list of  six books.

They included 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.

Education Village Academy Trust librarian Karen Fantarrow said: “We challenged our pupils to read as many of the six books on the Blue Peter Book Award shortlist as they could and I am so pleased how enthusiastic they have all been throughout the entire judging process.

“It has really engaged them in reading and also in debating the work that they believe should win.

“Across the board, students from all three schools seemed to have liked David Long’s Survivors book, but there are also a lot of pupils who have said that they will be voting for Kieran Larwood’s Podkin One Ear. It will be interesting to see if these choices will be reflected across the country when the overall winner is named on World Book Day.”

Alongside reading and debating the books, students also prepared a judging panel booklet, composed book reviews, created crosswords and drew illustrations, all of which will be posted to the presenters of Blue Peter.

“Being the only school in the whole of the North East invited to be part of the judging panel was a massive honour,” said Mrs Fantarrow.

Students and staff at the ballot party, which was attended dozens of parents and carers, were also treated to an illustration master class by Darlington author and illustrator Liz Million.

Marchbank Free School Year 6 teacher and literacy co-ordinator Sally Raine added: “It’s so important for pupils to enjoy reading from a young age so they can learn to foster a real love of books as they grow.

“Being part of a television programme challenge was really exciting and has even succeeded in inspiring some of our younger students who have asked to read the shortlisted books.”