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BCFA Shortlist 2019 Announced

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The hotly anticipated shortlist for the 2019 Bolton Children’s Fiction Award has been revealed at a ceremony held at Bolton School. Head Librarian Mrs Maria Howarth announced the names of the six books shortlisted for the Award over lunchtime to an audience of excited pupils.

Mrs Howarth said: “A strong theme with the shortlist last year was empathy and this continues with the shortlist for 2019.  I Have No Secrets by Penny Joelson is a gripping thriller told by a severely disabled child, where not having a voice could be a matter of life and death.  Kick by Mitch Johnson is set in Jakarta, where children work long hours in sweatshops sewing the football boots their idols will wear and dream of playing for a top club.  The Polar Bear Explorers’ Club by Alex Bell is about a diverse group of children who when thrown together discover that their differences can be their strengths. Twister by Juliette Forrest blends real life difficulties of bullying and bereavement with magic, fantasy, friendship and hope.  The Children of Castle Rock by Natasha Farrant has the ever popular setting of a boarding school – however this is not a normal school and the adventure they embark upon soon leads them into danger.  In Embassy of the Dead by Will Mabbit, Jake’s life is pretty ordinary, but the lives (or should we say deaths) of the characters he meets are definitely not. Threaded through this humorous and spooky story are deeper and certainly more thought-provoking elements.

“The Bolton Children’s Fiction Award is growing in popularity year on year with new schools coming on board and children asking if they can take part again.  Last year’s books are still some of the most issued in our libraries, with word of mouth and peer recommendations keeping the profile high.  We are constantly striving to engage pupils with books and reading so it feels a huge responsibility to select a list which will appeal to and be enjoyed by as many pupils as possible.”

Over the coming months, primary and secondary school pupils in Years 5 to 9 from across Bolton will read the books, take part in related enrichment activities and post reviews on the Bolton Children’s Fiction Award website. There is also the opportunity to engage with the authors on social media and participating schools can follow @BoltonSchoolLib and the hashtag #BCFA2019 for regular updates. In May, voting will open for all pupils who have read three or more of the shortlisted books. The voting is only open to young people, not adults, which puts the Award entirely in pupils’ hands.

The Bolton Children’s Fiction Award will culminate in an exciting Award Ceremony on 27 June 2019 attended by representatives from local schools.

Last year, more than 700 children congregated at Bolton School on the day of the Award Ceremony. All six shortlisted authors spent the day in school, giving workshops, signing books and talking to their fans ahead of the ceremony itself. The 2019 Awards Ceremony day promises to be just as exciting for fans of the new shortlist.

The Bolton Children’s Fiction Award has been running since 2005 and has been organised by Bolton School’s librarians since 2015.

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