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Stewart FosterOn Tuesday 7 March, in the packed Great Hall of Dulwich College, the third annual Trinity Schools Book Award (TSBA) was presented to author Stewart Foster for his warm and touching story The Bubble Boy (Simon and Schuster Children’s Books).  Joe’s rare condition means that he is confined to a sterile hospital room, with only his sister’s visits and Skype chats with fellow sufferer Henry to relieve the monotony of his days, until the arrival of a new member of medical staff changes his life forever.  Shortlisted for its portrayal of sensory deprivation and experience, which reflected this year’s TSBA theme of Sense-sational Reads, the book struck a chord with pupils at the seventeen participating schools, who voted overwhelmingly for it to win the Award.  Stewart made a gracious acceptance speech to the audience of 160 students and 40 staff; referring to the pressure put on authors to engage with readers via social media, he said that winning the Award was worth more than ten thousand tweets!

The shortlisted books for the 2017 Award were:

  • The Bubble Boy by Stewart Foster (Simon and Schuster Children’s Books)
  • The Seeing by Diana Hendry (Corgi Books)
  • The Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock (Faber & Faber)
  • There Will Be Lies by Nick Lake (Bloomsbury)
  • Not If I See You First by Eric Lindstrom (HarperCollins Children’s Books)
  • The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness (Walker Books)
  • She Is Not Invisible by Marcus Sedgwick (Indigo)

The TSBA ceremony was the culmination of six months of reading and discussing the shortlisted books in schools, and included the presentation of prizes to the students who had written the best reviews and produced the best creative responses to the shortlisted books.  Many of these were on display at the venue, showcasing the talent and imagination to be found amongst the young people who took part.  The readers also submitted some piercing questions, which were expertly and honestly answered by Stewart and his fellow VIP guest Diana Hendry (shortlisted for The Seeing).

The Award ceremony would not have been the same without sponsorship from Faber & Faber, HarperCollins Children’s Books, Penguin Random House, Quercus Children’s Books, Simon and Schuster, Walker Books and Browns Books for Students; their generosity ensured that each student who attended left with a goody bag of new books to enjoy.  The TSBA committee thanks them all, and also the Master of Dulwich College and his staff for kindly hosting the event.

The TSBA was founded by and is run by a team of school librarians.  The responses from participating students, and their engagement with the judging and voting process, is a testimony to the power of real, deep, engagement with books, and the importance of school libraries and librarians in providing opportunities for this to take place.  For further information about the TSBA, please visit the website http://tsba.edublogs.org and the Twitter feed [at]TSBA_UK.

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