Hexthorpe Primary School in Doncaster is set to receive £10,000 of books for its library after winning the inaugural World Book Day Award (WoBoD).
The award, which was launched by World Book Day in January, is funded by James Patterson, who donated £50,000 of his own money to fund the prize for two years.
To win the books, schools were asked to respond creatively to the statement “why we can’t live without books”, and Hexthorpe won with a stop-motion animation featuring a host of children’s book characters and a soundtrack sung by pupils.
Philip Sheppard, a year five teacher at the school, said the award is “life-affirming”. He said: “Our children love reading so much that copies of favourites such as Diary of a Wimpy Kid and the Roald Dahl books are constantly falling apart. Our school is currently being expanded from 400 to 700 pupils, so this prize iseven more vital, providing a much needed boost to the library. In a deprived yet culturally rich and ethnically diverse area like this, books are a unifying force.”
Gomeldon primary school in Wiltshire won a second prize of £5,000 of books, while Osborne School in Winchester, Bourne Westfield Primary Academy in Bourne, and Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School in Ashbourne all won runner-up prizes of £3,000 worth of books.
Patterson, who helped choose the winning entries along with World Book Day director Kirsten Grant, journalist Natasha Harding and author and presenter Helen Skelton, said all children should have access to a school library.
“Reading is one of the building blocks of life and can take you to another world. Reading encourages imagination and helps with education,” he said.
Grant added: “It is fantastic that by launching the Award with James, World Book Day can add its voice calling for the support and protection of school libraries. We were overwhelmed by over 800 incredibly imaginative entries from schools across the county – films, songs, photography, poetry and other writing flooded in. It was of course tough, but our winners were selected for their creativity, passion for books and, above all, heart.”
According to the rules of the award, the prize money must be spent at local bookshops.