13 November 2015

Top children’s books have been judged by school pupils in Sheffield and the results are in.

New author, Lara Williamson, has been named overall winner at the annual Sheffield Children’s Book Awards with her debut book “A Boy Called Hope”.

Lara, who had previously worked at magazines such as J17 and ELLE, struck a chord with young readers after the release of her first book about a boy’s search for his dad.

Sheffield’s school children gathered at the Crucible Theatre yesterday to find out which of their favourite books came first as the 27th Sheffield Children’s Book Award ceremony took place.

Lara Williamson said: “It is such an honour to win the Sheffield Children’s Book Award and particularly special because it is voted for by the readers. I recently saw a notebook that had a quote on the front saying ‘Chase your dreams, you might catch one’. Having children read and enjoy my book has always been a dream that I’ve chased. In winning this award, it feels like I caught it.”

The annual awards are organised by Sheffield City Council’s Schools Library Service.

Councillor Sioned-Mair Richards, Acting Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods at Sheffield City Council, attended the event. She said: “I had a wonderful time. It was a fantastic occasion celebrating authors like Lara, who are inspiring children to read.

“It was good to find out what our children enjoy reading and a wonderful opportunity for them to help choose the winner and attend the ceremony. My son was there with his school and made me buy the winning book for him!”

Councillor Jackie Drayton, Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Families at Sheffield City Council, added: “Books can enrich your life, take you on fantastical journeys and enable you learn about the world and the people in it; that’s why it’s important that children and young people learn to love them. The children’s book awards is a brilliant way to encourage children to read, meet and talk to their favourite authors and illustrators, and have fun at the same time.’

More than 3,000 children across the city had been busy reading and voting for their favourite books for the annual awards ceremony.

There were 26 books up for awards over 6 categories including best picture book, baby book and historical older fiction.

The runners up included “This Book Just Ate My Dog” by Richard Bryne; “My Brother’s Shadow” by Tom Avery, and “Terror Kid” by Benjamin Zephaniah.

The awards were launched in 1988 to encourage children and young people to read and to highlight the best literature published each year.

Lord Mayor Councillor Talib Hussain presented Lara Williamson with her award and thanked the many illustrators and authors, with their publishing representatives, who had travelled from across the country to Sheffield for the ceremony.