Young bookworms vote for the best reads of the year

Left to right, Reading Champion Olivia Hancock, Portsmouth Book Award (Shorter Novel) winner Chris Priestley, Reading Champion Jakub Kluszczynski and Inspirational Adult winner Hayley Stallard
Left to right, Reading Champion Olivia Hancock, Portsmouth Book Award (Shorter Novel) winner Chris Priestley, Reading Champion Jakub Kluszczynski and Inspirational Adult winner Hayley Stallard
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HUNDREDS of schoolchildren have voted for this year’s favourite page-turners.

Three books were chosen as the pick of the bunch and the winner of the Portsmouth Book Award (Shorter Novel) 2018 was announced this week at the Kings Theatre.

The Lord Mayor, Councillor Lee Mason and Lady Mayoress congratulated Chris Priestley, whose book, Flesh and Blood was voted favourite from a shortlist of five books by more than 1,500 Year 5 pupils from 25 schools in the city.

Portsmouth’s Year 5 Reading Champions, Olivia Hancock from Lyndhurst Junior and Jakub Kluszczynski from St Swithun’s Catholic Primary School were also recognised during the ceremony. All primary schools nominate a pupil who is an avid reader and enthuses others around them to love books and reading as well.

For the first time, this year children were also given the chance to nominate an ‘Inspiring Adult’, someone in their school who has helped and encouraged pupils to develop a love of reading.

Hayley Stallard from St Jude’s Church of England Primary School received the prize, which is given in memory of the late Jean Fray, who was librarian at Arundel Court Primary School.

Portsmouth School Library Service runs an annual Book Award and Reading Champion competition across three age groups to promote a love of reading: Year 1s vote for their favourite Picture Book; Year 5s for a shorter novel and Year 8/9s for a longer novel.

In separate events, the winner in the Picture Book category was revealed as Danny McGee Drinks The Sea by Andy Stanton and local illustrator Neal Layton. Between The Lies by Cathy Macphail won the prize for the longer novel.

David Percival, outreach and school library service manager, said: ‘Chris Priestley was a runaway winner this year from a fantastic shortlist.

‘Pupils had to choose their favourite book from four very different titles but they really responded to this chilling tale.’

There’s also an art competition linked to the award and a selection of the drawings and paintings were shown at the celebration with six of the best artists awarded prizes.

The School Library Service has a number of programmes which aim to get pupils reading for pleasure and create opportunities for them to meet published authors and celebrate books.