Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Bloomsbury) has been voted viewers’ favourite Blue Peter Book Award winner of the last 20 years, while Amanda Li’s Rise Up (Buster) and Vashti Hardy’s Wildspark (Scholastic) have also won prizes.
Managed by reading charity BookTrust, the annual awards honour authors, illustrators and the best books for children published in the previous 12 months.
As part of this year’s 20th anniversary competition, the TV show asked its audience to vote for their best book from the past two decades, with J K Rowling’s original wizard story taking the top spot from thousands of votes. The book saw off competition from titles including Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s The Gruffalo (Macmillan) and Onjali Q Raúf’s The Boy at the Back of the Class (Orion).
Blue Peter editor Ellen Evans said: “Through the Blue Peter Book Awards we want to show how reading is fun and enjoyable, can help you feel better, can help you empathise, find out new facts and, through imagination, experience something beyond everyday life. J K Rowling and Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone is truly a wonderful and worthy winner.”
This year, Rise Up: Ordinary Kids with Extraordinary Stories, written by Li and illustrated by Amy Blackwell, won Best Book with Facts. The book tells tales of survival, sharing the stories of normal children from across the world and their amazing achievements.
Li said: “It’s the most incredible honour to receive this award, particularly as Rise Up has been chosen by 'Blue Peter' viewers from schools around the UK. To know that children have loved reading a book that I’ve written, is a fantastic feeling and makes me feel so lucky to be an author. 'Blue Peter' has been a part of my life since I was a kid, so I am thrilled to be recognised by this iconic TV programme. I will wear my 'Blue Peter' badge with immense pride. Rise Up is all about ordinary kids who’ve done something extraordinary in their lives. If someone ordinary like me can win this amazing award, it just goes to show that anyone can.”
Hardy won Best Story for Wildspark, mixing elements of science fiction, adventure and fantasy for a world where the spirits of dead people can be harnessed and given new life in mechanical animals.
She said: “It’s a dream come true for Wildspark to win the Best Story category in the 20th year of the wonderful Blue Peter Book Awards. It’s the most spectacular honour to join such a stellar list of past winners. Firing young imaginations, inspiring big dreams, and connecting through story is a deeply magical thing, and I’d like to send my enormous thanks to 'Blue Peter', BookTrust, the fabulous judges, and all the brilliant young readers who voted. If only childhood me watching 'Blue Peter' after school could see me now!”
The winning titles were voted for by over 300 children from 12 schools across the UK.