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What is Hillingdon Book of the Year?

Hillingdon Book of the Year consists of three age appropriate book awards run by the Schools' Library Service with generous sponsorship provided by Hillingdon Libraries.

Book awards

 The awards are designed to promote reading for pleasure and further increase levels of literacy in young people across schools in our borough. The awards are laid out in the following age ranges:

  • Picture Book of the Year award is aimed at children in Year 2 (age 6 to 7)

  • Primary Book of the Year award is aimed at children in Year 6 (age 10 to 11)

  • Secondary Book of the Year award is aimed at young people in Year 7/8 (age 11 to 13)  

books1 How are books selected?

Each year the Schools' Library Service team carefully creates a shortlist of titles consisting of the best available stories published that year. The list is varied in gender appeal, genre, reading ability, length and themes to ensure that all Hillingdon students will have something to cater to their interests.

Once a shortlist has been selected, authors and publishers will be notified before announcement and books will be sourced to distribute to schools.

How many schools take part and how do they run it?

books2 2017 was the biggest year yet for Hillingdon Book of the Year Award and is always immensely popular. We had 13 secondary, 30 primary and 25 infant schools taking part across all three awards with hundreds of students enjoying the books provided.

Each school received at least two complete sets of books with one set for the school to keep for free to enrich their own libraries beyond the duration of the award.  

Once a school has the books, they are free to run the award however best for themselves. As the award is designed to increase reading for pleasure, our schools use this idea to best engage their students in creative ways, some run the award as part of lunch or after school clubs, open it to all, some use the books to entice more reluctant readers or others direct it towards their gifted and talented groups.

There is no limit on how big or small a reading group can be, although we limit the number of students schools attending our non-compulsory finale can bring for capacity reasons.

The Schools' Library Service is always on hand to advise schools or for further support upon request.


What happens at the finale event?   

We hold a finale event for each award across May and June where we invite the schools to bring ten of their participating students and the authors of the shortlisted books to the Civic Centre in Uxbridge for a fun filled morning celebrating their hard work. Schools do not have to attend to take part in the award and their votes still count towards the winning author. This year we'll be enjoying the company of the Hillingdon Mayor, children's comic Mark Jones and magician Dee Riley at our finales.

For our Primary and Infant schools, they prepare a short five minute presentation ahead of attendance to the event based on a book of their choice that they have enjoyed. They will perform this to other schools and a small judging panel will choose a winning presentation who will then receive winner certificates, although every child involved gets a certificate for their participation. All schools will get a chance to meet any attending authors and we then count the individual votes of the students before announcing which author and book has won Hillingdon Book of the Year.  

For our secondaries, they arrive and are put in groups made up of multiple schools to give students a chance to directly work with the author of their personal choice on a presentation.   


This gives students the unique opportunity to meet the author as well as new people and engage more creatively on their own terms. We provide props related to the book and the students have utmost control on what they want to do for the presentation. Many discuss why their book choice should win and allows them to critique and review the titles with critical thinking.

For 2017, we had five out of our six shortlisted secondary authors who made the trip to work with students.

Students prepare a presentation with Zoe Marriott for 'Barefoot on the Wind':


A group working with Marianne Levy for 'Accidental Superstar':


A presentation on stage for Robin Jarvis' group 'The Power of Dark':


Keren David's group performing a scene from 'Cuckoo':


The winning school presentation for 2017 was Nicole Burstein's group 'The Wonder Squad' for their interesting take on her book: Wonder Boy. Here they are pictured with Nicole Burstein and the Mayor of Hillingdon to receive their certificates:


Following presentations, the students enjoyed a Q&A session with the authors before the winning author was announced by the Mayor, as voted for by students.

Barefoot on the Wind - Zoe Marriott Zoe Marriott was crowned Secondary Book of the Year award winner for 2017 for 'Barefoot on the Wind.'

There is a monster in the forest... everyone in Hana's remote village on the mountain knows that straying too far into the woods is a death sentence. When Hana's father goes missing, she is the only one who dares try to save him. Taking up her hunting gear, she goes in search of the beast, determined to kill it - or be killed herself. But the forest contains more secrets, more magic and more darkness than Hana could ever have imagined, and the beast is not at all what she expects...

How do I suggest a title for Book of the Year 2018?

Criteria for submitting titles*

  • Good quality fiction, genre fiction, graphic novel or manga
  • Appropriate themes, language, and an awareness of cultural sensitivities
  • Variety of genres that might appeal to both boys and girls
  • Maximum length of approx 350 pages
  • In print and available in quantity via our suppliers Peters Books and Furniture
  • Preferably not in a series, unless you feel it could 'stand alone.'

You can submit up to three books by email to sls@hillingdon.gov.uk and two review copies of each book submitted should be sent to:

Schools' Library Service
Room A152, Civic Centre
High Street
Middlesex UB8 1UW.

*Submitting a title does not automatically enter it onto the longlist, Hillingdon Schools' Library Service reserve the right to exclude any titles deemed unsuitable.



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Article utilities:  Bookmark and Share Print Print this page Last updated: 24 Nov 2017 at 09:16