Ghost Boys was the winner of the 2022 Trinity Schools Book Awards, under the Theme Title ‘Take Two’. It was a hugely popular winner, and Jewell Parker Rhodes was thrilled that her book about Black Lives Matter was the winner of the Award, voted as winner by all the students who took part.
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.
For the first time, we have joint winners of the Trinity Schools Book Award! Students in over 20 schools took part in TSBA this year, and their votes have resulted in a tie for Ausländer by Paul Dowswell and Ink by Alice Broadway. Ausländer is a historical novel about a Polish boy in Nazi Germany; whilst Ink is a fantasy set in a world where your life story is tattooed on your skin. Although completely different genres, both books fit this year’s theme of “Secrets and Lies” and captured students’ imagination.
Congratulations also to our other four shortlisted authors, Nicholas Bowling, Frances Hardinge, Muhammad Khan and Kim Slater. We know all of your books were devoured and enjoyed, judging by the wonderful book reviews and truly creative responses they inspired for our student competitions.
We hope that all schools enjoyed taking part, and we hope that you join us again next year!
This year we had a very strong response to our Best Creative Response category, as well as Best Book Reviews.
If you haven’t had a look at the Creative Responses yet, do have a look now!
Our winners for the TSBA 2018 Creative Responses are:
- Our winner is Henry H from Kingston Grammar School for his response to The Arrival – look at his Wildlife Identification Guide
- Second is Thomas C from Emanuel School for his response to Welcome to Nowhere – look at his Escape from Syria model
- Third is Joe D from Kingston Grammar School for his response to The Arrival – look at his Suitcase Scene
Our winners for the TSBA 2018 Book Reviews of our shortlists are:
- Our winner is Josh McG from Royal Grammar School, Guildford, for his review of The Arrival
- Second is Freya M from Emanuel School for her review of Welcome to Nowhere
- Third is Hilla S from Emanuel School for her review of Welcome to Nowhere
Congratulations to all of these wonderful student winners. Their prizes will be with them via their librarians soon. We are really disappointed not to have been able to award these in person, but the weather was against us this year.
I hope you enjoyed the Ceremony – it was a very busy, and fun time. There was so much to do -including uploading to the new Flikr feed – that announcing the winners on this website was a little delayed. So without further ado – the winner of the Junior Award was JRR Tolkien for The Hobbit, and for the Senior Award it was Douglas Adams for The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
Obviously, with both of our authors being deceased, nobody was present at the ceremony to get the prizes. However, Julie Crisp, former editor at Pan MacMillan who worked on the rerelease of his books, sent us this moving tribute to Douglas Adams, which was read out, and which emphasized how his books have remained current today:
‘It’s thrilling to hear that The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy has won the TSBA Senior Award and even more so that it was voted on by the students themselves. Considering the first book was published in the late 70s it’s a testament to the wit and wisdom of Douglas that these books are just as relevant, warm, funny and original to generations of readers today as they were when they were first published. I, unfortunately, never got to work with Douglas but did get to look after the books and work on the new editions which were released in 2009. I’ve been a huge fan of the books since I was a child and discovered during my management of them that for readers like Russell T Davies, Neil Gaiman, Stephen Fry and even Elon Musk (one of the most influential tech people today and the inspiration for Marvel’s Tony Stark) the books and characters played a huge part in their teen years and hold a special place in their hearts.
Douglas was a visionary. He would have blown a gasket at modern technology today. And would, no doubt, have had a huge amount of fun on social media. He was not a natural writer – he really had to work at it. One of his most famous quotes is: “I love deadlines. I love the whooshing sound as they make as they go by.” He did not find writing easy. His creativeness was almost too much to be constrained on the page by words alone. But he persevered. I love this quote from the man himself: “He attacked everything in life with a mix of extraordinary genius and naive incompetence, and it was often difficult to tell which was which.” It’s because of this self-deprecating humour, his energy, his dedication and his very clear and never-ending wonder at humanity and the universe that he left us the legacy of an enduring and engaging timeless series that will, hopefully, continue to delight new generations of readers well into the future.
March 9th is nearly on us – the day we all get to find out which of the books we have all been reading wins the prize this year! And also, which students win our top reviews and top creative response prizes. There have been some amazing creative responses – have a look at the individual book pages for responses to the books. So I hope you are all ready to meet our three amazing authors – Matt Dickinson, Philip Reeve and Paul Dowswell. There will be an author Q&A, so you will be able to ask questions about their books as well. We are really looking forward to going – I do hope you are too. See you all there – can’t wait!
Nikolas from Latymer Upper stunned everyone at the awards by performing his original composition on the piano, which is a response to the book ‘When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit’. Judith Kerr was in the audience, and she was so impressed that she asked for a copy of the composition to be sent to her – an enormous compliment for Nikolas. Listen for yourself to him playing his beautiful composition with help from his talented friend Tianrun on violin. Both boys, you will be amazed to know, are only in Year 7 – a bright future is ahead for both of them!