Clear majority for the winner of children’s book award at school

(left to right) Finley Hogan (6), Raela Belle (6), Ronnie Roberts (6), Freddie Beeson (6), and Jack Freestone (6) ''Picture by:  Malcolm Wells (150429-9049)
(left to right) Finley Hogan (6), Raela Belle (6), Ronnie Roberts (6), Freddie Beeson (6), and Jack Freestone (6) ''Picture by: Malcolm Wells (150429-9049)

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Youngsters at Penhale Infant School in Fratton took to the ballot box to have their say on which book they wanted to be crowned the winner in the Portsmouth Children’s Book Awards picture book category, writes headteacher Kate Keller.

The awards were originally conceived and organised by the Portsmouth Library Service and is now a popular annual event at Penhale and other schools in the city.

Each participating school has a vote, sending its winner forward to fight it out in the final.

This year, the awards’ profile was raised further by the school’s librarian, Emma Collins-Powney, who said she wanted to make the voting process more exciting for the children.

Using the general election as a model, she turned the school’s library into a Book Award Polling Station, complete with voting booths, ballot box and individual voting papers.

Four pupils from each Year 1 class chose a book to represent and canvassed their classmates to encourage them to vote for their choice.

The shortlisted books included There’s a Lion In My Cornflakes by Michelle Robinson and Jim Field, Supertato by Sue Hendra, The Wonder by Faye Hanson and The Cat, the Mouse and the Runaway Train by Peter Bently and Steve 
Cox. Proudly wearing rosettes to indicate the book that they were representing, the children handed out copies of manifestoes giving their reasons for recommending their choice before giving a final persuasive speech.

This aimed to give the 
children the opportunity to develop their speaking, listening and debating skills.

The awards has provided us with an excellent vehicle to develop these skills.

All of Year 1 watched a presentation led by the teachers Miss MacDonald and Miss James, about the general election.

There was an opportunity for the children to ask questions about it and the voting process they were going to take part in.

The school hopes that this experience has given them the opportunity to participate in the British value of democracy.

We always try and provide the children with meaningful real life opportunities and this learning certainly ticks the box.

I really hope that the children will continue to be enthused and excited about books and reading.

The winner at Penhale was Supertato.

The overall winner will be announced in July after all 28 schools have sent their results.