The winner of the World Book Day Award has been revealed as an East Yorkshire school after it faced three years of “struggling” to expand its books offering from "one meagre bookshelf" into a library. The announcement comes as a raft of events kick off to celebrate WBD’s 20th anniversary (2nd March).
Cherry Burton Primary School in East Yorkshire won £5,000 of books for its ‘Old Curiosity Shop’ which saw the Church of England school’s summer playhouse transformed into the shop featured in the classic novel by Charles Dickens.
A World Book Day spokesperson said the "massive influx" of the prize would help the school expand the library after three difficult years of fundraising. He said: “Designed to convey the 'individual experience' of reading, the shop was filled with displays and crafts made by the children, sparked by their favourite books, which ranged from Owl Babies (Walker) to The Snail and the Whale (Macmillan) and The BFG (Puffin). The massive influx of £5,000 worth of new children’s books provides fresh hope to a school that has spent the last three years struggling to fundraise to expand their collection of books from just one bookshelf into a fully-fledged library.”
Sarah Shepherdson, literacy coordinator at Cherry Burton, said: “We’re honoured and thrilled to have been awarded first prize for our entry to the World Book Day Award. The children all worked incredibly hard and loved exploring and interpreting their favourite books for the project. The addition of £5,000 worth of books to our school library is a dream come true. Three years ago, our library consisted of one meagre bookshelf, and while we have come a long way since then, there is no doubt that this prize will be life-changing for our pupils.”
Each year, schools are invited to take part in a creative challenge, which celebrates reading for pleasure. This year, author Oliver Jeffers and fine artist Sam Winston asked schools to create their own ‘world of stories’ inspired by their new children’s book, A Child of Books, published by Walker which funded the 2017 award. Three schools, Greenfield Primary School in the West Midlands, Lancaster Girls’ Grammar School and Hillbrook Primary School in London, were awarded the second prize (£3,000 worth of books).
An additional 10 schools came third and won £1,000 worth of books: Exmouth Community College in Devon, Mandeville Primary School in St Albans, Mourne Independent Christian School, Newry, Northern Ireland, Oasis Academy Skinner Street in Gillingham, Fort Hill Community School in Basingstoke, London’s Notting Hill Prep School, Robert Fitzroy Academy in Croydon, Wragby Primary School, Market Rasen, Lincolnshire, St Malachy's Catholic Primary School in Halifax and Holmston Primary School in Ayr, Scotland.
Cherry Burton Primary School in East Yorkshire's 'Old Curiosity Shop'
The panel of judges consisted of Jeffers, Winston, World Book Day Director Kirsten Grant and The Times’ arts editor Alex O’Connell. Each winner, plus 100 runners-up, will also receive a signed copy of A Child of Books, plus a limited edition print for their school.
Jeffers and Winston said: “It was incredibly difficult to choose between all of the fantastic responses we received. Each entry was clearly crafted with passion and imagination, and we loved seeing the types of stories that are engaging children today. The joy of stories was evident in Cherry Burton School’s outstanding project – their infectious enthusiasm for reading inspired not just pupils, teachers and parents, but also their local community.”
Grant said: “Each year I am blown away by the fantastic entries we receive for the World Book Day Award, and this year has been no different. World Book Day is all about celebrating books and finding fun ways to encourage children to read for pleasure. This year, schools said that ‘the challenge has brought a bigger focus on books and stories’ and ‘prompted a different approach to reading for enjoyment’, which is incredible to hear, and the time, creativity and imagination in the entries is breath taking.”
There are many events happening throughout the UK for WBD’s 20th anniversary. As well as promotions offered by chains such as Blackwell's, social media campaigns and events at independent bookshops across the country, there are also author visits to libraries, festivals and literary inspired goings on at National Trust properties. WBD’s “all-star line-up” of more than 30 authors and illustrators are continuing to tour this month for The Biggest Book Show on Earth and are visiting five locations across the UK and Ireland. Clare Balding and Tom Fletcher are some of the writers appearing at Cadogan Hall in London this evening and tomorrow (3rd March) Judi Curtain and Anna Carey are discussing literature at Liberty Hall in Dublin.
Many other literary-inspired events are happening across the UK and Ireland. Thousands of children are expected to attend the Spread the Word Literature festival in Merthyr Tydfil which is happening for the fifth year. How To Train Your Dragon author and illustrator Cressida Cowell will share her tips at Stratford Library before Julian Clary and illustrator to discuss their new series about a family of suburban hyenas, The Bolds, at the same venue. Professor David Crystal and author of the Oxford Shakespeare Dictionary is speaking in Blackburn on Thursday and Dublin’s National Print Museum has organised a series of tours for primary school children. Charles Dickens will be celebrated this evening (2nd March) at the Dickens Tearoom with a series of new plays inspired by his work. The National Trust has organised activities at many of its properties around the country including an interactive tour inspired by Berlie Doherty’s Far From Home (HarperCollins Children's Books) at Quarry Bank, Cheshire, on Saturday (4th March).
Earlier today the National Literary Trust released research which showed that for around a quarter of eight to 11 year olds, they purchased their first ever book with the WBD token last year.