Post by Sophie Quinnell, Hillview School Librarian.
I have had a lovely time at school during the last couple of weeks launching the South East Schools Themed Book Awards. I look forward to this every year because it is all about one of the most fulfilling parts of my job; sharing my passion for books and reading with like-minded students.
10th Anniversary Book Awards
This year is a particularly special one as it is the 10th anniversary of the Book Awards. Many local schools take part, including The Weald of Kent Grammar School, Mascalls, Tonbridge Grammar School, TWGGS, Skinners Kent Academy and Cranbrook. The scheme is run by the school librarians. Students read from a shortlist of themed titles, either Teen (Years 7 and 8) or Young Adult (year 9+). The idea is to get them to read books they may not otherwise have chosen and vote for their favourite, with the winners revealed to an audience of around 200 at the Awards Evening in March.
This takes place in the theatre at Kent College, Pembury and is always a fantastic event celebrating books and the joy of reading. There’s a competition for those who come dressed as a character from one of the books, a brilliant book stall with a £5 book token to spend on the night for every participant and high profile guest authors who deliver a talk, do a Q&A and sign books.
In the past we’ve welcomed Tanya Landman, Marcus Sedgwick, Alan Gibbons, Nicky Singer & Kevin Brooks among others. We’re busy planning the best Awards Evening yet and are thrilled to have secured two fabulous authors for our anniversary year, Tim Bowler and Carnegie Award winner Sally Gardner.
Great Book Competitions
So my eager book group are already busy reading avidly! Twenty girls have signed up so far and once they’ve all read a few books we need to set our minds to making a book trailer. These are shown at the Awards Evening and we made one for the first time last year — it was a good first attempt but we really need to up our game, it wasn’t quite Oscar winning standard! There are also two great new competitions; one to design a 10th anniversary bookmark which will be printed and given out to all the participants, and the other to design an alternative book cover with the amazing prize of a £50 book token. I’ll be holding regular meetings to discuss our reading and I can’t wait to hear what the girls think of the shortlisted titles. The theme is “First Impressions” and these are the books:
Johnny and the Bomb Terry Pratchett
Long Lankin Lindsay Barraclough
Not the End of the World Geraldine McCaughrean
Stargirl Jerry Spinelli
A Confusion of Princes Garth Nix
Boys Don’t Cry Malorie Blackman
Why We took the Car Wolfgang Herrndorf
Brave New World Aldous Huxley
We were Liars E. Lockhart
Ella Minnow Pea Mark Dunn
I have a feeling there will be many spirited discussions in store, particularly when it comes to the voting! I’m sure those involved will get loads out of it as always, it’s such a wonderful opportunity for our passionate readers and I feel it’s a privilege for me to take part in it with them. We’re already excited for March!