The Boy at the Back of the Class by Onjali Q Raúf and The Colours of History by Clive Gifford, illustrated by Marc-Etienne Peintre, have been revealed as the 2019 Blue Peter Book Award winners.
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 300 children from 12 schools across the UK.
Winner of Best Story is: The Boy at the Back of the Class by Onjali Q Raúf
Onjali’s latest book, tells the story of how four classmates have a massive impact on the life of Ahmet, a boy that comes to their school as a refugee from Syria. An inspiring tale that will help children be the best they can be and realise the power of kindness.
Discussing the award Onjali Q Raúf said: "What a wonderful, surreal, and truly epic honour it is to win this wonderful award! I can hardly believe that my childhood dream of owning a Blue Peter badge one day has come true in the most unexpected way possible! I am utterly bowled over by the love and support The Boy at the Back of the Class has received not just from the marvellous Blue Peter Judges, but all the children who voted for its place as a winning title this year – Thank You."
Winner of Best Book with Facts is: The Colours of History by Clive Gifford, illustrated by Marc-Etienne Peintre
Author Clive Gifford said: “To be recognised by a show I watched and loved as a child (and still do as an adult) is a remarkable thing. I’m tickled pink! I want to thank all the children who voted for The Colours of History. And a big thank to BookTrust for the remarkable work they do. Awards like these are so important in getting across how books with facts can tell incredible and important stories and excite, inspire and entertain young minds as much as fiction.”
Illustrator Marc-Etienne Peintre commented: "I was very lucky to get to work with Clive and the Quarto team on such an interesting subject. I am extremely honoured to have won this prize, and most of all, to know that the children the book is intended for have read and enjoyed The Colours of History."
On Thursday 7th March, the winning two authors will appear on a special World Book Day edition of Blue Peter, the longest running children’s programme in the world. Also appearing on the show are our judges, award-winning author and illustrator Alex T Smith and author and UK’s number one parenting vlogger Louise Pentland.
Alex T. Smith, Author, Illustrator and Blue Peter Book Awards judge said: “It’s been an absolute pleasure to be part of the Blue Peter Book Award judging panel this year, and such a delight to work with the other judges. It was a very competitive shortlist with brilliant titles, and it was a very close call but we think the students have made a fantastic decision!”
Blue Peter editor, Matthew Peacock said: “We’ve had a fantastically strong selection of titles for the Blue Peter Book Awards 2019 and it’s great to see children from across the UK voting to decide the outcome. Congratulations go to Best Story Book winner Onjali Q. Rauf for The Boy at the Back of the Class which is such an informative and poignant tale about a subject that is very important to many children today. I’m also incredibly pleased we are able to present Clive Gifford with the award for Best Book with Facts. The Colours of History is such an original take on a history book, linking colours to amazing facts.”
Diana Gerald, CEO, BookTrust commented: “Each year the Blue Peter Book Awards is an excellent opportunity to celebrate talented authors and illustrators who create amazing books. This year was no different, the nail-biting school verdict was a very close competition, but we are delighted that Onjali and Clive took the top places - two very deserving winners who continue to encourage so many young children to read and love stories.”
Keep up-to-date with the Awards at www.booktrust.org.uk/bluepeter and on Twitter by following @BookTrust and #bluepeter
The full cast and creative team has been announced for the world premiere stage adaptation of Zog, based on the book by Julia Donaldsonwith illustrations by Axel Scheffler, playing at G Live, Guildford from Monday 8 – Tuesday 9 April as part of a UK Tour.
The cast features Elliot MacKenzie (professional debut) as Zog, Emily Benjamin (Bat Out Of Hell) as Princess Pearl, Robert Ginty (Salome and Coriolanus, Royal Shakespeare Company) as SirGadabout the Great and Euan Wilson (Stick Man, UK Tour) as Madame Dragon, with Dixie McDevitt (National Youth Theatre alumni) as Ensemble. The cast of actor-puppeteers will bring the world of Zog to life with handcrafted puppets designed and created by Little Angel Theatre co-founder Lyndie Wright.
Zog is adapted and directed by Mike Shepherd (founder and Artistic Director of Kneehigh) with an original folk score by Johnny Flynn (currently starring in True Westin the West End) and designs by Katie Sykes (Jane Eyreat the National Theatre). Completing the creative team are movement director Tom Jackson Greaves (Billionaire Boy, UK Tour), lighting designer Ric Mountjoy (The Play that Goes Wrong), sound designer Julian Starr (Violet, Charing Cross Theatre), puppet designer Lyndie Wright (Little Angel Theatre), puppet director Sarah Wright (Kneehigh’s Brief Encounter)and movement and circus consultant Tina Koch.
Large in size, and keen in nature, Zog is so eager to win a golden star at Madam Dragon’s school, where dragons learn all the things that dragons need to know. Zogtries so very hard, perhaps too hard, and he bumps, burns and roars his way through years one, two and three. Luckily, the plucky Princess Pearl patches him up ready to face his biggest challenge yet…a duel with a knight, Sir Gadabout the Great! Zog promises to be roaring fun for all ages.
Zogis produced by Freckle Productions and Rose Theatre Kingston. Freckle Productions’ most recent show is Tabby McTat,an adaptation of the book by Julia Donaldson, following their acclaimed productions of Tiddler and Other Terrific Tales and Stick Man.
Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler are the UK’s number one picture book pair and are creators of many modern classics, including The Gruffalo which is in 75 languages.
Zogwas first published in 2010 and won the Galaxy National Children’s Book of the Year Award. Ithas gone on to become a perennial bestseller. On Christmas Day 2018, Magic Light Pictures premiered an animated film ofZog on BBC One featuring an all-star cast, following their award-winning films The Gruffalo, Room on the Broomand Stick Man.
Zog is suitable for children and families of all ages.