"My dear young readers, the Spark! Book Award has worlds to offer you. Join in and hold infinity in the palm of your hand."
We're incredibly excited to announce the shortlist of books for this year's awards, with a little help from our local children. Visit our award shortlist pages in each category soon, to find out more about these great books.
We are extremely excited to announce the inaugural Spark! Kingston and Richmond Children's Book Awards. These will be chosen by the children of our two boroughs from a shortlist selected by our teachers, booksellers and librarians.
The books chosen will reflect the exciting and diverse nature of our two boroughs.
Until November 2020, we will be inviting publishers and authors to submit books that fit that criteria. After shortlisting, we will invite children across the schools in each borough to decide which three books will be awarded the first ever Spark! Awards.
The three categories are:
The winners will be announced in May 2021.
We are also raising additional funds to provide these exciting new books to as many disadvantaged children across Kingston and Richmond as we can. Please visit our JustGiving page to contribute or to find out more.
Candy Gourlay's novel Bone Talk was recently shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal and the Costa Prize – it is set in the moment when headhunting tribes in the Philippines come face to face with American invaders. Her picture book, Is It a Mermaid?, lushly illustrated by Francesca Chessa, was nominated for the Kate Greenaway Medal. Her novels have also been listed for the Waterstones, Blue Peter and Guardian Children’s Book Prizes.
Message from SF Said
"I am absolutely delighted to support the first-ever Spark! Book Awards which will be chosen by the children of Kingston and Richmond. I think Spark! is a brilliant initiative. More than ever, at this strange and challenging time, we all need the life-changing power of stories. These awards will help bring together young readers and writers, and highlight some great new writing to both pupils and their teachers. I wish you all great success!"
SF Said's first novel, the hugely popular Varjak Paw won the 2003 Nestlé Smarties Book Prize, and its successor The Outlaw Varjak Paw won the 2007 Blue Peter Book of the Year. Phoenix (2013) is a longer novel written for older children. It was shortlisted for the 2014 Guardian Children's Fiction Prize.
Message from Jennifer Bell
"Spark! The Kingston and Richmond Book Awards is an exciting initiative that I've no doubt will encourage a love of reading for pleasure amongst students, parents and teachers across both boroughs. Schemes like this enable children to learn about and connect with new authors, and celebrate reading and writing in a uniquely engaging way."
Jennifer Bell's debut novel, The Uncommoners: The Crooked Sixpence, become a Waterstones Children's book of the month and a Sunday Times bestseller. The sequels, The Smoking Hourglass and The Frozen Telescope followed in 2017 and 2018. The series has been translated into sixteen different languages. This year, she has published a new series Agents of the Wild and Wonderscape, a time-travel adventure story which was selected as the Waterstones Children's book of the month for June.
Message from Tom Palmer
"Meeting the young people and teachers of Kingston and Richmond, in school and library events, has convinced me that there is a huge passion for reading in these boroughs. I have no doubt, therefore, that the Spark! Book Awards will be a huge success."
Tom Palmer is the author of 50 children’s books, mostly about sport or history. He lives in Yorkshire.
Message from Cath Howe
"I'm delighted to support The Spark Award for Kingston and Richmond Boroughs. Children should be exposed to the widest possible variety of books and be challenged and inspired by the best in contemporary children's fiction. That is the way to grow life-long readers."
Cath Howe lives and works in the Kingston and Richmond area where she writes for and works with Key Stage 2 pupils. Her debut novel Ella on the Outside was highly acclaimed and Cath became Writer in Residence at Fern Hill School in Kingston. Her second novel Not My Fault is a story of family and forgiveness. Her third novel How to be Me is published later this year.
These awards are led by an independent group of people working in education in Kingston & Richmond Schools. Spark! is working closely with AfC and is supported by the Education Leads of the two councils.
WE ARE GRATEFUL FOR THE SUPPORT OF THE REGENCY BOOKSHOP IN SURBITON AND for CLARE SPENcER DESIGN, WHO PROVIDED our Spark! logo.
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