Spanning themes of friendship and celebrating difference to a laugh out loud cartoon book that explains unusual facts in a hilarious way, the winners of the annual Blue Peter Book Awards are sure to make readers laugh and cry in equal measure. Beating the stiff competition this year, the winner of Best Story is A Kind of Spark by Elle McNicoll and winner of the Best Books with Facts is A Day in the Life of a Poo, A Gnu and You by Mike Barfield and Jess Bradley.
A Kind of Spark is the brilliant debut novel from neurodivergent writer Elle McNicoll, offering an utterly convincing and honest narrative voice. Challenging the stereotypes that can be associated with autism, this is a powerful book with a gentle touch which teaches us that there are ‘many different ways to be autistic’. Readers will revel in joining Addie in her crusade for equality and truth, celebrating the fact that it is okay to be different.
Author, Elle McNicoll said: "As someone who grew up watching Blue Peter and discovering brilliant new books from the show, it is an extraordinary moment to be recognised. To be a part of their World Book Day celebrations is great, and to have been voted the winner by readers is life changing.”
A Day in the Life of a Poo, A Gnu and You gives readers the inside story of brains, pimples, farts, porcupines, Japanese knotweed, clouds, clocks, Mars rovers, snowflakes - and everything in between. Each element has its own page and is written in the form of a first-person diary, hilariously presented in strip cartoons. This book is fabulously informative as well as very funny and gives the reader the feeling of knowing everything that’s worth knowing.
Author, Mike Barfield said on receiving the award: “Winning any award is a huge honour but winning the Blue Peter Book Award is extra special. I adored the programme as a child, and again as a parent, watching it with my own (now grown-up) children. The child in me that still persists to this day does find it rather amusing that a book with ‘Poo’ in its title will now have to be mentioned several times on the show. Gnu-sized thanks to the programme, to BookTrust, my brilliant illustrator Jess Bradley, to publisher Buster Books and my lovely agent Anne Clark. All are a part of winning this prize.”
Illustrator, Jess Bradley said: “As someone who grew up watching Blue Peter, this is the MOST exciting award to win, so a massive thank you to all of the readers who voted for us. I had so much fun drawing everything from poos to gnus, and I’m really happy to know that so many children enjoyed reading about them!”
Managed by BookTrust, the UK’s largest children’s reading charity, the immensely popular Blue Peter Book Awards honour amazing authors, imaginative illustrators and the best books for children, published in the last 12 months. The winning titles were voted for by over 200 children from 12 schools across the UK.
Diana Gerald, CEO, BookTrust commented: “Every year without fail, the Blue Peter Book Awards showcase the exceptional talent in the world of children's books and this year is no different. These fantastic books will help children to be inspired, creative, confident and encourage different ways of thinking. As always with the judging, it was a very close call, but Elle, Mike and Jess triumphed. Congratulations to the very deserving winners.”
On Thursday 4th March, Elle Mike and Jess will all be guests in the special World Book Day edition of Blue Peter on CBBC and BBC iPlayer from 5pm.
Blue Peter Editor, Ellen Evans, says: The Blue Peter Book Awards give kids the opportunity to vote for their favourite books and it’s fantastic to hear them talk about reading for fun. The two winners are brilliant books. I hope Elle McNicoll’s A Kind of Spark will inspire kids to find their own voice, like Addie, and to stand up for what they believe in. Mike Barfield and Jess Bradley’s A Day in the Life of a Poo, a Gnu and You, is so visual and fun, that young readers will love discovering all kind of facts about the world they live in, from the secret diary of a slug, to how your heart beats, or why volcanoes explode.”
Blue Peter is live every Thursday at 5pm on CBBC and BBC iPlayer -https://www.bbc.co.uk/cbbc/shows/blue-peter
Keep up-to-date with the Awards at www.booktrust.org.uk/bluepeter and on Twitter by following @Booktrust and #BPBA
The University of Bristol in the UK is seeking volunteers for a new study that will identify the foods women tend to avoid during pregnancy and the information sources that influence their decision to include or avoid certain foods.
The PEAR Study (Pregnancy, the Environment And nutRition) is run by Dr Caroline Taylor and Dr Lucy Beasant from the Centre for Academic Child Health at the University of Bristol’s Medical School, and is funded by the Medical Research Council.
The researchers are looking for women in England who have a had baby in the last year to complete an online survey about their eating habits during pregnancy.
Dr Caroline Taylor said: “It is well known that nutrition and diet is key for a healthy pregnancy – for both mother and baby. There is a great deal of information available about which foods pregnant women should eat to stay healthy, but it can be less clear what foods to cut down on or not eat at all.
“We are keen to know what women ate while they were pregnant, and whether that was different to before they were pregnant.”
Dr Lucy Beasant said: “We also want to find out where women get their information from, who they trust, and how closely they follow advice. We’ll be asking about what information was available to them about nutrition and diet during their pregnancy: perhaps a leaflet from their midwife, or through a website or app, maybe a magazine article, or perhaps through a friend or relative.”
The researchers will also be asking registered midwives who practice in England to fill in a questionnaire.
“We want to know if midwives have access to the resources they need and how they can pass on advice in a way that women are most receptive to,” said Dr Taylor.
“The findings of this study will be invaluable in providing information to help develop recommendations on the content of information provided to women about diet in pregnancy, and the best ways to provide that information.”
The study is looking for volunteers in three stages:
- First, volunteers (midwives and women who’ve recently had a baby) are needed to help refine and finalise the survey questions and to ensure there are no electronic ‘glitches’.
- Once finalised, midwives and women who’ve recently had a baby will be needed to fill in the online surveys.
- In the final stage, researchers want to speak to a small group of women and midwives from those who filled in the survey, via a video or phone discussion, to provide more detail about their thoughts on information on diet in pregnancy.
Researchers are recruiting now for the stage 1 (video or phone discussion to help with finalising the survey questionnaire) and will open up the surveys for stage 2 soon after.
Dr Caroline Taylor said: “We are also looking for women to take part in a virtual advisory group - we’ll be asking you to give us feedback on different parts of our study (for example, on the ways we keep in contact with our volunteers, the content of our recruitment adverts, and so on). We want to make the study as successful as possible and your input will help us get everything just right first time.”
The PEAR Study
Funded by the University of Bristol and the Medical Research Council, the aim of the study is to help women who are expecting a baby to make confident decisions about what they choose to eat, based on accurate and up-to-date scientific evidence.