A comic strip with facts, beautifully illustrated fiction and non-fiction, gripping stories and funny books are all on the shortlist for the Blue Peter Book Awards

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Award-winning author and illustrator Chris Riddell’s latest book on the adventures of Goth Girl is among six children’s books shortlisted for the prestigious Blue Peter Book Awards 2015.

For the first time, a book using comic strips to tell real-life stories is also nominated for an award.

The Blue Peter Book Awards, which are celebrating their 15th year, are special as they ask children to read the shortlisted books and then vote for the two winners.

The shortlist was announced live on today’s (Thursday December 4th) Blue Peter by Michael Morpurgo, author of more than 120 children’s books, including War Horse, and President of the reading charity Booktrust, which manages the Blue Peter Book Awards.

Morpurgo was also presented with the CBBC show’s highest accolade, the gold Blue Peter badge, for inspiring millions of children with his books.

Chris Riddell’s Goth Girl and the Fete Worse Than Death is vying for the Best Story Award along with Boy in the Tower by primary school teacher Polly Ho-Yen and The Spy Who Loved School Dinners written by Pamela Butchart and illustrated by Thomas Flintham.

Adam Murphy’s Corpse Talk, which uses comic strips to tell the stories of scientists, writers, sovereigns and rebels from history, is competing for the Best Book with Facts with Animalium written by Jenny Broom and illustrated by Katie Scott, and The Silly Book of Side-Splitting Stuff written by Andy Seed and illustrated by Scott Garrett.

The four judges – Liz Pichon, Michael de Souza, Anna James and Ewan Vinnicombe – highlighted the quality of illustrations used in many of this year’s shortlisted books, as well as the brilliant stories and imaginations of the authors.

Liz Pichon, author of the Tom Gates series, and winner of the Blue Peter Book Awards Best Story 2013, said: ‘We have a brilliant selection, something for everyone. There’s beautifully illustrated fiction, gripping stories, funny books and the FIRST comic strip style book with facts which is fantastic.

‘We keep hearing that kids don’t read anymore, but if you get the right books in front of them they really will – I’ve seen it!

‘The Blue Peter Awards are a fantastic way of showcasing even more great books.’
Michael de Souza, co-creator of Rastamouse said: ‘We have a great selection of original stories as well as a book using comic strips, which is very different.

‘Books open up a new world for children. If we want to encourage children to read, we need to give them great stories, great illustrations and something they can relate to.’

Blue Peter Editor Ewan Vinnicombe, who was the non-voting Chair of the judging panel, said: ‘In our 15th year of the Blue Peter Book Awards I’m really excited with the judges’ shortlist. There is such a good range of titles in the mix and I can’t wait to find out on World Book Day when the winners are revealed – live on Blue Peter.

‘It was great that we could honour Michael Morpurgo with a Blue Peter gold badge. His stories have inspired so many children over so many years to read and love books.’
Approximately 200 children from 10 schools across the UK will read the shortlisted books and vote for their favourites in each category. The two winning books will be announced on the Blue Peter programme scheduled for World Book Day on 5 March 2015.
The enormously popular Blue Peter Book Awards, which are managed by Booktrust, celebrate the best authors, most creative illustrators and the greatest reads for children.

The shortlist:
Best Book with Facts
Animalium written by Jenny Broom and illustrated by Katie Scott (Big Picture Press)
Corpse Talk: Season 1 by Adam Murphy (David Fickling Books)
The Silly Book of Side-Splitting Stuff written by Andy Seed and illustrated by Scott Garrett (Bloomsbury)

Best Story
Boy in the Tower by Polly Ho-Yen (Doubleday Children’s)
Goth Girl and the Fete Worse Than Death by Chris Riddell (Macmillan Children’s Books)
The Spy Who Loved School Dinners written by Pamela Butchart and illustrated by Thomas Flintham (Nosy Crow)

The judges for this year’s Awards are:
• Michael de Souza – Co-creator of the Rastamouse book series and co-founder of Little Roots Ltd.
• Anna James – Editor, We Love This Book and Media Editor, The Bookseller, and former school librarian
• Liz Pichon – author of the Tom Gates series, and winner of the Blue Peter Book Awards Best Story 2013
• Ewan Vinnicombe (non-voting chair) – Editor, Blue Peter and Head of Presentation for CBeebies and CBBC

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