Theatre Severn was packed to the rafters one morning last April as children, teachers, and authors gathered to celebrate work inspired by a shortlist of books chosen by and for children as part of the Bookfest awards – and to see which book on the list had won the children’s vote.
The Book Award ceremony at Theatre Severn was also the culmination of a project delivered into Shropshire primary schools. Pupils entered a range of categories, including a creative writing competition in which pupils composed letters to someone from one of the shortlisted novels. Winners included Deryn Wheeler of Much Wenlock Primary School, who wrote to a character in Jack Atlas; Gracie Gage from St John’s Catholic Primary School, who wrote a letter to a character in A Storm of Strawberries; and Amelie Maynard from Morville Primary School, who penned a letter linked with Letters from the Lighthouse. Wenlock also produced an award for an illustration – Sam Rowlands’ picture of Jake Atlas was a runner-up.
The winning ‘grown-up’ book, as voted for by pupils, was The Legend of Podkin One-Ear by Kieran Larwood, of which Scarlett Wright of Castlefields School said, “When I started reading this book it hooked me right in, I didn’t want to put the book down! It leaves you on edge at every word making you just want to read and read and read!”