Annual scheme encouraging children’s passion for books culminates in awards ceremony at town hall

Childrens authors Sharon Gosling, Kevin Brooks and Ali Sparkes with school pupils

Childrens authors Sharon Gosling, Kevin Brooks and Ali Sparkes with school pupils - Credit: Archant

A scheme which encourages children’s love of reading culminated in a special ceremony on Thursday.

Childrens authors Sharon Gosling, Kevin Brooks and Ali Sparkes

Childrens authors Sharon Gosling, Kevin Brooks and Ali Sparkes - Credit: Archant

Youngsters from 10 primary and 17 secondary schools descended on Redbridge Town Hall, in High Road, to celebrate the Redbridge Children’s Book Award.

The annual initiative sees students read 20 children’s and 20 teenage novels over several months before deciding which are their favourites, which are then whittled down to a shortlist.

Debut novelist Sharon Gosling walked away with the children’s category prize for The Diamond Thief, while Kevin Brooks won the teenage prize for his book The Bunker Diary.

The Mayor of Redbridge, Cllr Ashley Kissin, also announced the winners of the children’s poetry and short story competition which runs alongside the main award.

Schoolchildren at the event

Schoolchildren at the event - Credit: Archant


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Niamh Connole, from Trinity Catholic High School, won the poetry category for children aged 12 and under with her effort We Could Have Been Friends, while Finn Halligan, from the same school, received the 13 and over prize for poem Parvulorum Veritas.

Daisy Nichols, from Wanstead Church School, won the short story category for younger entrants with her tale Ozeozborn the Wizard: Life Without Ketchup.

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The winner of the teenage category was Jessica Phillips, from Wanstead High, who impressed with her story Maiden Voyage.

Before the winners were announced, the students enjoyed a panel chaired by the authors who came along – Sharon Gosling, Kevin Brooks and Ali Sparkes.

They also had the opportunity to get their books signed by them.

The award was created by Redbridge Council because many young children had said they wanted a scheme which included books suitable for their age.

Novels are selected for inclusion by school librarians, library staff and the pupils.

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