1st December 2021 — The Bolton Children’s Fiction Award has begun once again with a brand-new shortlist of books for young people to read and enjoy. The Award, which is organised annually by Bolton School’s Library staff, is aimed at students in Years 5 to 8 in Bolton and the local area. The winner is chosen solely by young readers’ votes.
The 2022 Award will involve lots more online content. In the next nine months, book club readers at Bolton School will have the opportunity to speak with the shortlisted authors via Zoom and these videos will be shared with all of the other schools involved. The votes will be cast and counted in the summer term and the winner will be announced on 1 July 2022.
This year’s shortlisted books and authors were announced by Bolton School’s Librarians last week in a video released to participating schools.
The 2020 shortlist is as follows, with notes from the Librarians about why they chose each book:
The Boy Who Made Everyone Laugh by Helen Rutter
We selected this book as it has great appeal as both a funny book and a story about being kind to other people. … The Boy Who Made Everyone Laugh will make you cry both because it’s funny and it’s sad. It is a fantastic book about empathy, finding your voice and having the courage to do what makes you happy.
A Kind of Spark by Elle McNicoll
This is a wonderful story about friendship, courage and self-belief and when the Library team read it we all agreed should be shared with as many people as possible. … [The author] explores the challenges that neurodiverse people face and describes what it is like to experience sensory overload and prejudice from people who don’t understand what it feels like to have autism.
Lost by Ele Fountain
We loved this book, particularly how Lola develops as a character. There are strong themes of empathy for those who are less fortunate, the superficiality of possession versus love for your family and how in the most desperate of circumstances you can find inner strength.
The Valley of Lost Secrets by Lesley Parr
Set during the Second World War, this is a book about discoveries and secrets set in the Welsh valleys. … What we liked about The Valley of Lost Secrets was the mystery at the heart of it and the illustrations at the start of each chapter, which tell a story. And if you really enjoy mysteries, codes and secrets, see if you can find the hidden message in the book.
The Island That Didn’t Exist by Joe Wilson
Imagine being woken in the middle of the night to hear that a distant relative had died – and that you had inherited an entire island. That’s what happens to 12-year-old Rixon. … We chose this book as it is a little bit different to many adventure stories, packed with mystery and action and has lots of twists to the story.
The Perfect Parent Project by Stewart Foster
This book can be sad at times, but it is told with humour which makes the story very readable. As a reader, you can see things both through Sam’s eyes but also a much bigger picture begins to emerge and you see that the very thing that Sam is searching for may be closer than he knows.
Longer reviews of all of the shortlisted books can be found in the Librarians’ video announcement, which can be watched in full on Bolton School TV.
Follow the Bolton School Library on Twitter @BoltonSchoolLib and use the hashtag #BCFA2022 to keep track of this year’s Bolton Children’s Fiction Award.