The winner of the Bolton Children’s Book Award has been announced – Joe Craig, author of Jimmy Coates: Killer has been voted this year’s best children’s author in the University of Bolton-sponsored award.
For five months Bolton’s young readers have been avidly reading the seven shortlist authors – Louise Arnold, Thomas Bloor, Cath Cassidy, Joe Craig, Alan MacDonald, Justin Somper and Jeremy Strong – and voting for their favourites.
At an award-winner’s event, held at the town’s Festival Hall, children from the town told the audience why they favoured certain books, sang songs about the award and dressed as characters from books.
The award, launched for the first time last year, has been created by Bolton Schools Library Service and partners, to encourage the young people of Bolton to read for pleasure, to raise literacy standards and to recognise writing excellence from new and established authors.
The shortlist was selected by an Award Steering Group are: Bolton Schools Library Service staff, librarians from Canon Slade, Turton and Thornleigh Schools and representatives from Bolton Literacy Trust and the University of Bolton.
Also sponsoring the event with the University of Bolton are Bolton Literacy Trust and Page Nation.
Pictured with Joe at the university are Shelby Jakes and John Vize from Harper Green High School.
The full shortlist for 2006
Indigo Blue by Cath Cassidy
( Publisher: Puffin Books, ISBN: 0141317841)
Indie's mum loves the colour blue. So much so that she named her children Indigo and Misty - shades of blue, special colours, magical colours. Indie loves her mum but blue isn't always a happy colour - and there's a lot of sad stuff in her mum's life. Now, suddenly, she wants them to run away from their lovely house and leave Max - mum's fella - behind. Indie doesn't know why, or where they're going. Or how to tell her friends. Indie begins to realise that her mum's got a secret - a reason she really needed to get away. Indie mustn't let her go near Max again - or something terrible will happen.
The Invisible Friend by Louise Arnold
( Publisher: Hodder Children's Books ISBN: 0340892978)
Grey Arthur is a very normal ghost. Too normal for his own liking, so normal he doesn't even know what group he belongs to. Not scary enough to be a Screamer, or naughty enough to be a Poltergeist. One afternoon, when Grey Arthur is thinking very despondently how unfair life is, he senses the exact same emotion coming from a boy far away, as he follows his instincts he reaches Tom's house. Tom is a normal boy, with brown hair and brown eyes and normal parents. But people at school don't seem to think that, he doesn't fit in and people call him weird. When Grey Arthur senses Tom's unhappiness he realises they're not so different after all and he realises what he is going to be; Tom's official Invisible Friend who will help him solve his problems!
The Sign of the Angel: p. 1 (Devil's Trade S.) by Alan MacDonald
(Pu blisher: Scholastic, ISBN: 0439963729)
A gripping tale of smugglers, clifftop chases and graveyard encounters. Will Finch lives with his mother at the Angel Inn. One night Will is woken by footsteps outside his bedroom window and sees a line of lanterns moving across the marshes towards the beach. Will follows and finds most of the Angel's regulars helping to land the cargo of a ship anchored out in the mouth of the cove. But Will has left his broken lantern on the path - and the smugglers can't risk a blabbermouth. The only option is to cut out the boy's tongue...
Stuff by Jeremy Strong
( Publisher: Puffin Books, ISBN: 0141319038)
Stuff is the nickname of our hero, Simon (because he knows a lot of weird stuff). Stuff's parents have split up, and his dad has brought back a new step-mum (the Sherry Trifle), a step-sister (the awful Natasha) and a radical feminist rabbit called Pankhurst (she only attacks men - spooky). In Stuff's own words, here is how he tries (and fails) to run away from home. How he tries to get off with the beautiful Sky, and dump girlfriend Delfine (without being beaten up by her psycho brother). In fact, how to get through life as a teenage boy.
Jimmy Coates: Killer by Joe Craig
(Publisher: Harper Collins Children's Books, ISBN: 0007196857)
An eleven-year-old boy discovers he has strange powers, and a future that holds mystery, adventure - and death! Bending his knees, Jimmy let go of the windowsill and slowly tipped backwards. Surely this is impossible, he thought, even as he could feel himself doing it. He pushed out with his legs and the thrust sent him flying backwards into the air! Then his fingers locked on to the cold wire of the fence, poised in a perfect handstand on the top. Who are the mysterious men chasing Jimmy across the city? Why are they after him? What are Jimmy's parents keeping from him and who can he trust? And, how come he can suddenly do all this really cool stuff!?
Demons of the Ocean (Vampirates S.) by Justin Somper
( Publisher: Simon & Schuster Childrens Books, ISBN: 0689872631)
Conor and Grace are twins, recently orphaned after their widowed father's death. Rather than being adopted by the town's busy-bodies, they decide to set sail for new pastures in their father's last single possession, his sailing boat. But a vicious storm sees their boat capsize and the twins are separated. Two mysterious ships sail to their rescue - each picking up one twin before disappearing into the mist. Conor wakes to find himself on a pirate ship and is soon being trained up with a cutlass. Meanwhile Grace finds herself locked in a darkened room, as the vampirates wait for night to fall and their feasting to begin...Determined to find each other, yet intrigued by their new shipmates, the twins are about to embark on the biggest adventure of their life...
Worm in the Blood by Thomas Bloor
( Publisher: Faber Children's Books, ISBN: 0571225950)
Sam's family are cursed with a dark and terrible secret. A secret that has its origins in a remote island off the coast of China and has haunted every generation of his family for hundreds of years. Now the curse is about to claim Sam as its next victim. It starts with an itchy rash that spreads all over his body. Then the feeling of something changing within him, coming alive. And why has he become obsessed with the marshes and their cool, muddy waters? Why has he stopped seeing his friends and going to school? As rumours begin to spread about sightings of a sinister creature on the outskirts of town, Sam is forced to face a horrifying truth. One that could destroy him...
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