On Friday 23 June, a group of Year 9 and 10 Bishop Luffa pupils went to Shoreham Academy for the award presentation of the Sussex Coast Schools Amazing Book Awards. This is the first time Bishop Luffa pupils have formed a judging panel for this award, a uniquely pupil-led book award for teenage readers. With pupil feedback, local school librarians from over 30 participating schools narrow down a nomination list of 40+ books to 15, and from there it’s over to the pupil judges. They select the five they would like to read closely and then vote on their favourites, ranking all the books to give a Gold, Silver and Bronze winner.
Since February, our panel have been meeting with the Librarian, Mrs Regan, and Team Leader of KS3 English, Miss Machado, to discuss the merits of the shortlisted books and share their thoughts on what makes a suitable winner. Each judge had an individual vote, so thankfully coming to an agreement as a panel wasn’t necessary! On Friday they had the opportunity to hear some of the shortlisted authors read from their books, and those who couldn’t attend made virtual appearances to talk about their work.
Host Carla Spradbery did a great job of building the suspense and it was finally announced that the 2017 Gold Award winner was Am I Normal Yet? by Holly Bourne, a timely novel about how our world shapes our mental health. Bishop Luffa judges were delighted to see their favourite, Secret Fire by CJ Daugherty and Carina Rozenfeld, take the Silver Award, and special mention must go to local author, Kathryn Evans, who came a VERY close second at Bishop Luffa. Bronze was deservedly won by Helen Dennis for River of Ink: Genesis, but we like to think that More of Me wasn’t very far behind.
An-Marie, an ABA judge from Year 9, said “I really enjoyed the evening – actually, that’s an understatement! I got to meet my favourite author, she was very nice. I would definitely take part again. I found new books that I enjoy and added another series to my to-read list!” Mrs Regan said, “It’s been fantastic to join up with other Sussex schools to share our enthusiasm for new YA fiction. Miss Machado and myself have been hugely impressed by our judges’ thoughtfulness and openness to reading such a wide variety of books. I’d like to thank them for their commitment and enthusiasm and look forward to reading with them next year!” Readers from the current Year 8 and 9 are warmly invited to take part next year, and can put their name down with Mrs Regan in the Library to join our 2018 judging panel.
Andrea Regan, Librarian