Hampshire School Library Service Book Awards, Jill Florence

Hampshire SLS run four book awards each year, a picture book award for Year 1, an information book award for Year 4, an illustrated book award for Year 5 and one for year 8.

The senior Hampshire Book Award (HBA) is voted on by Year 8 students across the whole of Hampshire and this year we had 39 secondary schools taking part.

Librarians, teachers, year 9 students and SLS staff nominated possible titles for the longlist from paperback books published between September 2017 and August 2018. The shortlisting panel of secondary school librarians and SLS staff met to decide the 6 titles to go onto the shortlist.  

The Hampshire Book Award supports the KS3 English curriculum, promotes the enjoyment of reading and gives enthusiastic readers the opportunity to shine in their chosen field of interest in the same way as other students are encouraged in their aspirations in sport, music or drama. The event was open to all secondary schools who would be SLS subscribers in the summer of 2019. A minimum of 10/maximum of 12 year 8 students make up a school’s panel of judges.

These students are be expected to

  • attend the launch meeting of the shortlisted titles during the launch week of 18 March 2019
  • read ALL six novels on the shortlist by the end of June 2019
  • attend in-school discussion meetings 
  • participate in the voting process
  • be prepared to talk about the books on the shortlist with pupils from their own and other participating schools

There is always much excitement around the launch of the award and the enthusiasm of the students shows through as each shortlisted book is revealed along with a tempting summary of the novel outlined. Students are expected to be a book critic not just a reader. The winning book needs to be not only a great story but one that offers readers something extra- Enjoyment, Enrichment or Engagement.

Students meet in their school library once a week or once a fortnight over a period of 15 weeks to discuss the books, trying hard not to give away any plot lines or cliff hanger moments in any of the books.

This year’s shortlist included:

The Extinction Trials by S M Wilson

Refugee by Alan Gratz

Satellite by Nick Lake

Scarecrow by Danny Weston

Shell by Paula Rawsthorne

Things a Bright Girl Can Do by Sally Nicholls

The grand finale of the award took place on the morning of 3rd July with four simultaneous regional events where local schools came together to have a final discussion about each book and cast their vote for the winning title. Each regional event had at least 120 students attending. Votes were then counted at each event and phoned in to SLS HQ where the Digital Team put together the final PowerPoint and loaded it onto our Moodle for SLS Advisers to play to the waiting audience. The books which didn’t win were randomly removed from the screen one by one, to uproarious feet stamping and clapping as each book was discounted to reveal the overall winner! The students loved being at the event and finding out the winner of the HBA that morning.

The winner of the Hampshire Book Award 2019 is ……………Shell by Paula Rawsthorne. We are absolutely delighted that Paula will be coming to Winchester in October to be presented with a trophy and to give a talk to the students who took part and ultimately voted Shell as the winner.

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