A nine-year-old boy with autism has been chosen as the winner of the Book People’s Bedtime Story Competition and will now work with Little Tiger to turn his “incredibly touching” entry into a book.
Frasier Cox, from Brighton, pipped the 1,300 other ideas to the post with his poem, ‘There’s a Little Boy the Same as Me’. Cox’s entry focused around a hypothetical friendship with a boy who is “just like him” whilst also being a refugee.
The nationwide competition challenged young authors, aged from five to 11, to create a book on the theme of friendship, with Cox chosen as the overall winner from the three age categories. The other winners were seven-year-old Jackson Mendoza from Southend and 11-year-old Amy Chick from Gloucester.
The judging panel was led by Claudia Winkleman, unveiled as a judge in July, and also featured author and radio DJ Christian O’Connell and representatives from Book People and Little Tiger Press.
Cox will now work with independent publisher Little Tiger Press and author and illustrator Alison Brown to turn his story into a picture book which will be available exclusively from the Book People in 2018. He will also receive £250 in books plus £250 worth of books for his school. He also met the judges and was presented with an exclusive drawing of ‘There’s a Little Boy the Same as Me’ by Brown.
Winkleman said: “I was blown away by the standard of the stories and writing from all the entries into Book People’s Bedtime Story Competition. Frasier’s story, is incredibly touching and thought provoking and it’s absolutely remarkable a 9-year-old boy has written such a thoughtful story. Frasier is a very worthy overall winner and I can’t wait to see the final version with Alison Brown’s brilliant illustrations once it’s been made into a real book next year.”
O’Connell revealed the winning entry moved him to tears and he was tempted to send it on to the US president Donald Trump. He said: “I really enjoyed reading the entries from this year’s competition, but Frasier’s story was my favourite. The fact a nine-year-old boy showed us what so many people and politicians forget, that we are all connected in this world. Such a big-hearted idea and story all told in a beautifully moving poem."
He added: "This actually moved me to tears the first time I read it. This is just what we need in the world right now, we need to send Donald Trump a copy of this when it comes out.”
Brown said: “If a top adult author tried to write these sentiments in a child’s voice, I don’t think they could have done a better job. It just sounds like it comes from the heart, very authentic and moving. The imagined scenes make for lots of lovely images, too.”
Sarah Walden, group buying and merchandising director at the Book People and competition judge, said: “‘There’s a Little Boy the Same as Me’ contains an incredibly considerate message which really struck a chord with me. We’re delighted to be able to bring Frasier’s story to life and celebrate his unique and compassionate perspective on one of the most pertinent social issues of our time.”
Frasier Cox said: “I’m really pleased and very excited to have won the Bedtime Story Competition and can’t wait my story being made in to a real book.”
Last year's inaugural award was won by London schoolgirl Isabel Harris. Her winning entry The Moon Man wenton sale on 1st June, the book has become Book People’s fastest selling title of 2017 so far, according to the retailer.
‘There’s a Little Boy the Same as Me’ will be available to buy from the Book People in summer 2018. Visit the website for more information.