Two teachers win Blue Peter Book Awards voted for by children

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The Silly Book of Side-Splitting Stuff and The Spy Who Loved School Dinners win children’s book prize

Two teachers, who have written funny and silly books, are top of their class as they win Best Book with Facts and Best Story in the Blue Peter Book Awards 2015, voted for by hundreds of schoolchildren.

Pamela Butchart, who teaches philosophy at secondary school, won Best Story with her latest title The Spy Who Loved School Dinners, which was illustrated by Thomas Flintham.

Andy Seed, a former primary teacher and deputy head for 17 years, won Best Book with Facts with The Silly Book of Side-Splitting Stuff, illustrated by Scott Garrett.

Both were delighted to be crowned this year’s winners and viewers will be able to see them receive their awards on Blue Peter tonight from Waterstones Children’s Laureate 2013-2015 Malorie Blackman, as the show celebrates its 15th anniversary of the prize.

Pamela, who did a book-signing for The Spy Who Loved School Dinners on her wedding day, exclaimed: ‘WOW! Is this real-life?! I’m shocked and utterly over-the-moon about winning this fantastic award! It means the world to me that children voted for my book! Thank you.’

Andy, who grew up watching Blue Peter, said: ‘To win a Blue Peter Book Award is a proper thrill not just because it revives all those happy childhood memories but because the show today does a truly significant job in raising the profile of books and reading at a time when this is needed more than ever. To win any award is a delight but to win the Blue Peter Book Award sets my spine tingling like nothing else.’

The illustrators of the books also expressed their excitement about winning the prize.

Thomas Flintham said: ‘Hooray! What fantastic news! It was exciting enough just to be nominated but to have won has forced me to do a little dance!’

Scott Garrett said: ‘I was so excited to hear that we’d won the Blue Peter Book Award! Blue Peter was a big part of my early years. We’ve all grown up with it and to be part of it AND get an award is something very special to me- I can’t wait to get my badge! Illustrators don’t get inundated with awards, so I’m over the moon to have been awarded this one. Here’s to books!’

A panel of judges including Tom Gates author Liz Pichon, Rastamouse creator Michael de Souza, The Bookseller journalist Anna James, and non-voting chair of judges, Blue Peter editor Ewan Vinnicombe, selected the shortlist from publishers’ submissions.

These were then read and voted on by more than 200 children from ten schools across the UK to decide the winners in each category. The winners were announced on a special World Book Day morning bulletin of Newsround.

Pupils at Perry Wood Nursery and Primary School in Worcester said it was an ‘honour’ and ‘exciting as only ten schools in the whole of England can choose the winners of the Blue Peter Book Awards.’

The enormously popular Blue Peter Book Awards are managed by reading charity Booktrust, which works with schools to get more children reading for pleasure. The Awards celebrate the best authors, most creative illustrators and the greatest reads for children.

Ewan Vinnicombe, Editor, Blue Peter said: ‘It’s fantastic that in our 15th year of the Blue Peter Book Awards we have given 200 children across the UK the chance to vote for their favourite books. Pamela and Thomas, Andy and Scott should be really proud and Blue Peter will continue to promote children’s books and our viewers’ love of reading.’

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:

  • 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

Keep up-to-date with the Awards at http://www.booktrust.org.uk/bluepeter and on Twitter by following @Booktrust and #BPBA

The Blue Peter Book Awards have been celebrating children’s literature since 2000. The reading charity Booktrust has managed the Blue Peter Book Awards since 2008. The 2014 winners were Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell for Best Story and Tony Robinson’s Weird World of Wonders: World War II by Tony Robinson and illustrated by Del Thorpe for Best Book with Facts www.booktrust.org.uk/bluepeter

Blue Peter is the longest running children’s magazine programme in the world. As well as the Book Awards, the show’s family of presenters, live studio home, amazing competitions, incredible challenges, live music, interviews with celebrities, access behind the scenes, pets, makes and bakes, free games online and most importantly its commitment to the audience are all long standing elements of this iconic show. www.bbc.co.uk/bluepeter

Booktrust is Britain’s largest reading charity. It has a vision of a society where nobody misses out on the life-changing benefits that reading can bring. Booktrust is responsible for a number of successful national reading promotions, sponsored book prizes and creative reading projects aimed at encouraging readers to discover and enjoy books. www.booktrust.org.uk

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