When Elizabeth from SLS Guernsey and Cathy from Jersey Library got together at a conference late in 2017, it brought to fruition the germ of an idea about a local book award that had been sitting dormant for both services for a few years. The realisation that this could actually happen if two of the largest Channel Islands got together, made it a very exciting conversation.
We launched the first ever Channel Island Children’s Book Award in September 2018, focusing on the transition year groups of 5,6 and 7. We created and launched a brand new website and charged our librarians with engaging our schools when the opportunity arose and we added a few press releases to try and inform and engage the public.
Fast forward to January 2019. We were delighted when Ravenscroft agreed to become our official sponsors.
Move on to June 2019. We have just celebrated the end of our first year with an award ceremony in Jersey library and it was wonderful. Two schools from Jersey attended and our winner of the Bailiwick of Guernsey competition also came making it a Channel Island event. The compère, John Henry Falle aka The Story Beast, not only entertained us with his funny stories but also beautifully read some of the competition entries finishing off with a truly inspirational reading of the winning blurb by our competition winner Thomas Kent.
How did we get here?
In 2018, children across the Channel Islands had been invited to nominate books to be considered for our shortlist. We had a vast array of books to choose from and librarians from both Guernsey and Jersey read every single one. We were locked in a secret room (not really!) in the Guille-Allès Library to decide on the 4 shortlisted books.
We chose the following books…
Many children read, talked about, shared their thoughts on Flipgrid and voted for their winning book. Some did it individually and others did it with their class. We were delighted that so many children took part.
We were also pleased to receive such positive feedback from our schools but this was our favourite.
“I would just like to say a big thank you for inviting Herm School to be part of this initiative . Even my reluctant readers are captivated by the competitiveness of reading the books and exchanging them. The fact that they have a focus and purpose for reading, beyond the school curriculum, has meant that as soon as they finish their schoolwork, they are asking if they can read. They read at lunchtime and also in the evenings, often sharing the books with their parents. They are also unintentionally discussing each other’s books as to genre and interest level every morning. Brilliant!”
The Channel Island children voted The Explorer by Katherine Rundell as their winning book. Congratulations Katherine!
On to our 2020 award.
Our website will be open for new nominations in September 2019. If you are in year 5,6 or 7 from September 2019 please think about joining in. If you have read anything you thought was great and published in 2019 please submit a nomination from September.
We hope to get more Islands involved this year and wish to see representatives from Herm, Alderney, and Sark at the award ceremony in 2020 which will be held at the Guille-Allès Library in September 2020. Watch out for more information as it comes.