Take Two 2022

Our new Award features our absolute favourites from previous years, which didn’t win the Award.  We thought we would like to give them a second go, so 2022 is all about these wonderful books.  If you have taken part in all of our Awards, you may enjoy reading old favourites; if you haven’t, you are in for a treat!  None of these books are second best – they are all top favourites of ours!

And the winner of the 2021 award is – Susin Nielsen!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We were delighted to award the 2021 Trinity Schools Book Award to Susin Nielsen for this wonderful story about homelessness.  Although Susin couldn’t join us live for the Ceremony at Ibstock Place School as she was on set filming, she recorded a wonderful and heartfelt message of thanks to all the students who had read and loved her book enough to vote it the winner in a very strong shortlist.

The online Ceremony, held at Ibstock Place School, was ably put together by their librarian, Helen Cleaves.  We had an excellent Q&A with all the authors who ‘attended’ the ceremony, with pupils submitting the questions beforehand.  We had some very tantalising glimpses into the writer’s dens and methods of working, and some hints about next books due to come out soon.

Always a highlight of the Trinity Schools Book Award is it’s unique focus on creative responses to books, and we saw some amazing examples of the work that students produced for this shortlist.  They will be up on the website shortly.

Everyone at the ceremony enjoyed themselves, and we look forward to next years Awards.  The new shortlist will be revealed shortly.

Authors attending the digital ceremony!

We are very excited to announce that we have a fabulous line of of authors for our students to ‘meet’ in the Ceremony later on today. We have Sharna Jackson, Kiran Millwood Hargrave, Kenneth Oppel, Bali Rai and Victoria Williamson! The lucky attendees will be able to question the authors after the announcement of the winning author (can’t wait for that!), and then at the end of the Ceremony they will get a sneak preview of next year’s theme and books as well!

New Ceremony Date announced!

We have taken the decision to postpone the usual date of our Ceremony, which takes place in March every year.  This is to help everyone who has had to close over this period, and who are having trouble in getting books into the hands of their readers.  The Ceremony will be a digital only one this year, and will now take place on Wednesday May 26th at 4.15.  It will be streamed from Ibstock Place School.

The deadline for votes and for Creative submissions has also changed accordingly, and this new date will be Friday 19th March.

Enjoy the extra time you have for reading!

PENNY JOELSON WINS TRINITY SCHOOLS BOOK AWARD!

 

The 2020 Trinity Schools Book Award was awarded on Thursday 12 March to Penny Joelson for her debut novel I Have No Secrets before an audience of around 200 pupils from schools across London and the South East and fellow authors Tanya Landman, Andrew Norriss and Nicky Singer. Students from 30 schools took part this year, voting for their favourite book from a shortlist of six with the theme Stand Up, Speak Out. Unusually, I Have No Secrets is narrated by a teenage girl with severe cerebral palsy, who is incapable of speech or independent movement, but nevertheless uses intelligence, courage and determination to expose a crime and apprehend its perpetrator.  Penny Joelson herself was not able to attend the Ceremony at the last minute due to illness, but the Award was accepted on her behalf by one of her editors.

The Trinity Schools Book Award not only encourages young people to read and discuss good quality contemporary literature, but also asks them to review and, uniquely, to respond creatively to the shortlisted books. The creative responses received this year – ranging from 3D models, poetry, paintings, cakes and songs to both computer and board games, puppets and films –demonstrated incredible imagination and inventiveness. Many of the contributions were showcased at Thursday’s Award Ceremony, hosted by City of London School in the heart of the City. David Rose, Senior Librarian at CLS, said: “It is often said that young people no longer read, but the enthusiasm with which students have engaged with this year’s shortlisted books and the many ways that they have been inspired to respond to them gives the lie to that statement. The books on the shortlist encouraged debate about the importance of speaking out, through historical, contemporary and futuristic plots.”

Now in its sixth year, the TSBA was launched by librarians from 22 independent senior schools in the Trinity group, with the aim to celebrate quality writing in both new and older fiction. The TSBA Committee determines a theme each year and shortlists books nominated by librarians. Participation now extends beyond the group to any interested secondary school. Children from the ages of 11 to 14 read the shortlisted books through the Autumn and Spring terms and cast their votes in February to determine the winner. The student competitions for the best book reviews and best creative response run alongside the main book awards.

The full shortlist was:

The Ones That Disappeared – Zana Fraillon (Orion Children’s)

I Have No Secrets – Penny Joelson (Egmont)

Beyond the Wall – Tanya Landman (Walker)

Mike – Andrew Norriss (David Fickling)

Ghost Boys – Jewell Parker Rhodes (Orion Children’s)

The Survival Game – Nicky Singer (Hodder Children’s)

Next year’s theme and shortlist will be announced in June.

One week to go!

Only a week to go to the Ceremony in the beautiful hall at City of London School.  Only a week until we find out which of the six wonderful books has won the Award!  Which did you vote for?  We are all also very excited that four out of our six authors will be with us at the Ceremony, and you will all have the chance to grab a signature afterwards. They are (from left to right):  Nicky Singer, Tanya Landman, Andrew Norriss and Penny Joelson.  See you there!

 

 

TSBA tribute to Judith Kerr

On behalf of the TSBA Committee of librarians, we are so sad to learn of the death of Judith Kerr; an author we somehow thought would outlast us all. We were fortunate enough to meet Judith at the inaugural TSBA award ceremony in March 2015; her novel When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit (based on her own childhood experiences of the family fleeing Nazi Germany) was shortlisted for our first ever award. Judith was one of six shortlisted children’s authors represented on the night at Latymer Upper School, and her presence was definitely a draw for the others: novelist Elizabeth Wein came all the way from Scotland, tweeting: 

Michael Morpurgo also turned up as a last-minute surprise to accept the Award for his novel Private Peaceful. The pair had long shared a publicist and publisher; they were thrilled to see each other and catch up in our makeshift “green room” before the ceremony.

Judith was keen to revisit Latymer; her son Matthew (novelist Matthew Kneale) is an alumnus and had “such fond memories”, she told me, citing some of his favourite teachers, including Mr Orme, who had only recently retired. When she arrived, she was delighted to be reacquainted with Mr Orme. She was a petite woman with a warm, ready smile that lit up the room.

Judith Kerr greeting Mr Orme

Judith and Mr Orme at Latymer Upper

Knowing that we had a star in our midst, we’d asked Judith to present our student competition winners with their prizes. On the day I started to panic about the arrangements: the portable steps leading to our stage were somewhat dilapidated and had no handrail. I took great care on them in my unfamiliar heels; Judith was 91 and we would be asking her to mount these wobbly steps a few times… Philippa Perry, Judith’s publicist, was not worried. “She’ll be fine,” she said, waving dismissively. And she was – practically skipping onto the stage without hesitation.

One of the winning creative responses was a musical composition for piano and violin, written by Nikolas (then in Year 7) at Latymer Upper in response to When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit. Nik performed the piece at the Ceremony, accompanied by his friend Tianrun on violin – with his muse sitting in the front row. So the prize-giving became another lovely moment, when Judith congratulated the boys, saying how special it had been for her to hear them play.

Judith congratulating Nikolas and Tianrun after their performance

 

Judith presenting student prizes with librarian Tamsin Farthing (RGS, Guildford)

After the ceremony, the authors stayed on to sign books and chat with students for another half an hour. My colleague, Mrs Griffiths, eager to do some fan-girling herself, volunteered to stay with Judith; all were touched by her warmth – she listened intently to everyone and made you feel special. Judith Kerr brought so much stardust to our fledgling award that evening.

Judith with Mrs Griffiths

A few months later I was invited to a glamorous birthday party thrown for her at HarperCollins’ swanky London offices near the Shard. The publisher contacted me for help: could I supply some children for a photo op with Judith and the Tiger (from The Tiger Who Came to Tea) at Imperial Wharf before Judith was whisked off to her party by riverboat? Colleagues and friends with young children were only too happy to oblige.

Twins! Judith meeting young fans at Imperial Wharf (c) Damian Griffiths

That evening, at the party, I was star-struck by the celebrated authors and illustrators in the room. In the centre of it all was Judith in a bright pink dress, sipping champagne and surrounded by well-wishers. I wasn’t sure she would remember me out of context but when she saw me pass, she pulled me into the conversation, introducing me and telling her guests of the marvellous time she’d had at the TSBA Ceremony at her son’s old school. She later spoke of her long and happy history with HarperCollins, and how she loved her work. She told some funny stories of bad advice she’d received and ignored in her early career – she was an excellent raconteur, her words witty and sharp, her face gentle and sweet.

We are so grateful for her support and for the wonderful legacy she leaves in her books for children of all ages. Having seen her zest for life at close range, it is no surprise to us that she was still writing and illustrating new books until the end, with her most recent book published just last week. She will be missed.

Judith Kerr with me at the inaugural TSBA Ceremony, 2015

–Terri McCargar, Librarian at Latymer Upper School