Football fever hits the Branford Boase Award

The display on Mrs Gibson’s desk recently has contained the books shortlisted for this year’s Branford Boase Award. 

Display pic

The BBA was set up to reward the most promising new writers and their editors, as well as to reward excellence in writing and in publishing. The Award is made annually to the most promising book for seven year-olds and upwards by a first time novelist.

We are pleased to announce that the winner is

Kick by Mitch Johnson

the book we have been promoting in Y7 Reading Lessons this week

Kick is about a young sweatshop worker, Budi, who dreams of being a famous footballer one day just like the stars he watches on the TV. But a misguided kick will soon threatens his life as well as his dreams. The story behind the trainers we all aspire to will make us think about those in far away countries, whose lives are lived on the edge. It is also a tale of danger, friendship and family, that is funny,  heartening and inspiring. Perfect for readers 10-12 years old. 

Here are the other titles on the shortlist, most of which are available in the school Library:

2018 shortlist



The People’s Carnegie

This is the school’s 15th year shadowing the Carnegie Book Award given by CILIP for the best written book published in the UK during the past year. And we were pleased to see such a varied and accessible list of titles:


After a swelling of numbers last year, our turnout to most meetings has continued to be healthy whilst we have all been reading the 8 books shortlisted this year, with an enthusiastic new contingent from Y7. Eventually 22 students made it to the end, having read 5 or more of the shortlisted titles which qualified them to join our Carnegie Lunch Day with our partner group from Churchill Academy.


Carnegie Reading Group 2016

We usually share the Medal Day on the actual day of announcement from the adult judges. However this year, due to various reasons, we had to postpone our event until a couple of weeks later. Although we all knew the winner, this did not dampen our fighting spirit and we concentrated on OUR views (which are frequently different to the adult judges anyway!)

So, for The People’s Carnegie Day, we shared a morning of activities based on Truth & Lies (3 of the books had lies in the title and themes) and of course, The Big Quiz which tested teams to the limit.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

We broke for lunch with the traditional highlight being the literary cakes baked by the visiting team, and were not disappointed! See if you can guess which books they are all based on:

This was followed by the Great Debate which this year included EVERY student’s comments. We divided them into small teams and each had to provide a short argument for or against a book winning the award. Students told us later they preferred this to a general discussion which tends to be dominated by the fearless and sweeps over less popular books. Group leaders from both schools were impressed with the imaginative and articulate presentations.

We finished with a vote and the title winning over the most students was The Lies we tell ourselves by Robin Talley which won the the Amnesty CILIP Honour, awarded to the author  that most distinctively illuminates, communicates, or celebrates our personal rights and freedoms.


In case you are wondering, and haven’t heard, the overall winner as judged by the CILIP panel was One, a novel about conjoined twins, written in free verse, by Sarah Crossan


Carnegie Cakes, Quizzes, Debate and Friendship.

Whew! What a day!

The Library was closed for the annual Carnegie Lunch with Churchill Academy students and became a very different place from usual!

We mixed ourselves up and worked in groups of 4 on games and quizzes – all based on the 8 shortlisted titles for the Carnegie Book Award. After a break for a delicious lunch, we started our debate about which book should win the final accolade of “the best written book” of the year. To spice things up Mrs Gibson had devised  tableaux (one from each of the books) for the teams to recreate, to introduce each book to be discussed.

Mr Baldwin was able to join us to open the envelope containing the winner as chosen by the adult judges. Unfortunately it wasn’t our favourite, but interestingly it also won the sister award, The Kate Greenaway, for the best illustrated book. This is an historic event, and the Library Ladiez have to say that the awards have gone to two exceptionally talented men, Patrick Ness and Jim Kay for A Monster Calls.


Oh, and did I mention the cakes? Well, they were a sight to behold:

Everybody Jam tarts, Small Change for Stuart telephone box, Midnight Zoo chocolate fudge special, Shades of Gray frosted sponge and Trash Stuppa cupcakes.

….and didn’t last long after Churchill judged Midnight Zoo the winning cake!

Other students had created Book Boxes to promote their favourites – look out for them on display in the library after Activities Week and Emma provided the super hand-made bookcover centrepieces for all the tables. A big THANK YOU to them all!

A monster calls: the winning book box

We were sad to see our new friends leave, but have promised to stay in touch via Skype, until next year!