School ceremony celebrates books

Brilliant Book Awards 2016 - Readers, Authors,   school Love Literacy & Librarian staff & Steyning Book Shop staff
Brilliant Book Awards 2016 - Readers, Authors, school Love Literacy & Librarian staff & Steyning Book Shop staff

On Wednesday June 22 the second Brilliant Book Awards ceremony was held at Steyning Grammar School.

Year 6 students from Steyning Primary School and Steyning Grammar School students from Years 7 - 10, staff, parents, carers and members of the local community were invited to the celebration to honour both readers and books, and to have a chance to listen to and meet some visiting authors.

Students also attended workshops held by the short listed authors with the day culminating in an awards ceremony.

The ceremony was hosted by one of last year’s short listed authors, Matt Whyman, author of ‘The Savages’. The authors who ran workshops during the day and came to the ceremony were Ali Sparkes author of ‘Car-Jacked’ , Sam Hepburn author of ‘If You Were Me’ and Eve Ainsworth author of ‘7 Days’.

The Blue Peter Book award winning author, Ali Sparkes, ran a workshop for fifty Year 9 and Year 10 students centred on the plot of ‘Car-Jacked’, whilst Sam Hepburn enthralled students in her workshop and during the awards ceremony with her stories about Afghanistan refugees.

Eve Ainsworth talked with students about why she wrote her debut novel,’7 days’, and how it drew on her own experience of being bullied at school.

Matt Whyman’s co-host at the awards ceremony was Year 10 student, Leo Ghorishi, helped by Millie Finney. Students from each of the year groups read reviews of their favourite books; one of the stand out contributions was by Oliver Loveridge, with a piece of creative writing inspired by Frances Hardinge’s ‘The Lie Tree’. We were incredibly lucky that Frances Hardinge recorded a skype interview back in March, just after she had won the Costa Book Award, with three Year 9 girls, Jessica Brown, Milly Rudling and Anya Robinson which was shown during the ceremony.

Winners on the day were:

Year 6 Category – ‘The Imaginary’ by AF Harrold

KS3 (Years 7 and 8) Category – ‘7 Days’ by Eve Ainsworth

KS4 (Years 9 and 10) – ‘Car-Jacked’ by Ali Sparkes

Sixth Form, Staff & Parents Category – ‘The Bees’ by Laline Paull

On discovering that she had won the Key Stage 3 award category, Eve Ainsworth said: “This award means so much to me as it has been voted for by you the students.”

Literacy Leader, Cheryse Rahaman said: “This event is a brilliant way to enthuse students to read for pleasure. I love the fact that we are celebrating readers as well as books.

“The students who showcased work were superb; they were so confident and inspirational. It has been a highly entertaining and creative day. I’m very proud of the students for showcasing such zest, grit and a growth mind-set so all could enjoy today. I would also like to thank the local primary school for celebrating the awards with us, and to students, parents and staff who have made this a truly special day”

Parent, Mrs Margaret Smith, said: “It is good to see so much enthusiasm for reading and to hear how composed and eloquently the students were able to speak. The authors and bookshop were brilliant and spoke so well, imparting words of encouragement.”

The Brilliant Book awards have been the culmination of work that began back in January when Gudrun Bowers from Steyning Book Shop, together with Donna Moore and Vivien Kingston-Jones, Steyning Grammar School Librarians started compiling the long list of books for the event. Over forty students helped to draw up a shortlist of books for each of the four chosen categories: Year 6, Key Stage 3, Key Stage 4 and Sixth Form, Staff, Parents and Carers.

This event was launched on World Book Day back in March and since then the school has been encouraging those participating to read as many of the books as possible.

Donna Moore, School Librarian said: “Yet again it has been incredibly rewarding to work with the students on choosing and then reading the short listed books. It is invaluable to use the awards as a tool to encourage more of our students to not only read, but to enjoy doing so, and then meet and speak with the authors who wrote their favourite books.”

This event has provided a fabulous opportunity for students to showcase their creativity and really engage with their favourite books. We have had students reading out reviews, enjoying creative writing based on an aspect from a book which inspires them, as well as preparing questions to interview visiting authors about the thinking behind their new books. It has also been a chance to bring the community together and create a positive school spirit around reading. The energy surrounding the book awards has been contagious, with primary school students and secondary students working together to share a common goal; a passion for reading!

Donna Moore summed up the event saying: “The Brilliant Book Awards has lived up to its name; it has encouraged so many students to enjoy reading.

“For me to be told by students that they have enjoyed taking part, as it has made them read books that they would not normally have read, has made it all worth it, roll on Steyning Grammar School Brilliant Book Awards 2017!”