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The Bishop’s Stortford

Book Award

Friday 11th February

Book award launched

Friday 11th February

The Bishop’s Stortford Book Award invites schools to participate by reading the shortlisted books and casting votes for their favourites. We have three categories: Year 5 and 6, Year 7 and 8 and Year 9 and above. The winners will be announced on February 11th 2022. 

This year’s shortlisted books are:

year 5 and year 6

The Boy Who Made Everyone Laugh by Helen Rutter

Billy Plimpton is an eleven-year-old boy with a big dream. 

He wants to be a stand-up comedian when he grows up: delivering pinpoint punch-lines and having audiences hang on his every hilarious word. 

A tough career for anyone, but surely impossible for Billy, who has a stammer. How will he find his voice, if his voice won’t let him speak? 

The idea for this story came from Helen Rutter’s son, who has a stammer: she wanted to write the book that he would love to read, starring a child like him. 

When the Sky Falls by Phil Earle

1941. War is raging. And one angry boy has been sent to the city, where bombers rule the skies. There, Joseph will live with Mrs F, a gruff woman with no fondness for children. Her only loves are the rundown zoo she owns and its mighty silverback gorilla, Adonis. As the weeks pass, bonds deepen and secrets are revealed, but if the bombers set Adonis rampaging free, will either of them be able to end the life of the one thing they truly love?

Home Ground by Alan Gibbons

Sam’s team are edging closer to the bottom of the league this season and team captain Jordan’s bad attitude isn’t helping anyone. When Sam spots Hasan playing on the refugee team, he can see that Hasan’s got talent and invites him along to practice. Hasan and his friend Faisal prove to be exactly what the team need – but Jordan’s not going to accept his new teammates so easily. Can Sam get the boys to pull together and win? 

Twitch by M.G. Leonard

Can a birdwatcher outwit an escaped convict? 
 
Twitch has three pet chickens, four pigeons, swallows nesting in his bedroom and a passion for birdwatching. On the first day of the summer holidays, he arrives at his secret hide to find police everywhere: a convicted robber has broken out of prison and is hiding in Aves Wood. Can Twitch use his talents for birdwatching to hunt for the dangerous prisoner and find the missing loot? 

The Haunting of Aveline Jones by Phil Hickes

Aveline Jones loves reading ghost stories, so a dreary half-term becomes much more exciting when she discovers a spooky old book. Not only are the stories spine-tingling, but it once belonged to Primrose Penberthy, who vanished mysteriously, never to be seen again. Intrigued, Aveline decides to investigate Primrose’s disappearance. 
 
Now someone… or something, is stirring. And it is looking for Aveline. 

When Life Gives You Mangoes by Kereen Getten

A summer she can’t remember 
A friendship she won’t forget 
 
Nothing much happens in Sycamore, the small village where Clara lives – at least, that’s how it seems. She loves eating ripe mangoes fallen from trees, running outside in the rainy season and escaping to her secret hideout with her best friend Gaynah. There’s only one problem: she can’t remember anything about the previous summer. 
 
When a quirky girl called Rudy arrives from England, everything starts to change. Gaynah stops acting like a best friend, while Rudy and Clara roam across the island and uncover an old family secret. As the summer reaches its peak and the island storms begin, Clara’s memory starts to return and she must finally face the truth of what happened last year. 

year 7 and year 8

Boy, Everywhere by A. M. Dassu

This debut middle-grade novel chronicles the harrowing journey taken by Sami and his family from privilege to poverty, across countries and continents, from a comfortable life in Damascus, via a smuggler’s den in Turkey, to a prison in Manchester. A story of survival, of family, of bravery … In a world where we are told to see refugees as the ‘other’, this story will remind readers that ‘they’ are also ‘us’. 

Robin Hood: Hacking, Heists and Flaming Arrows by Robert Muchamore

A town. A forest. A hero. 
 
You can’t go far without a quick brain and some rule-bending in a place like Locksley. After its vast car plants shut down, the prosperous town has become a wasteland of empty homes, toxic land and families on the brink. And it doesn’t help that the authorities are in the clutches of profit-obsessed Sheriff of Nottingham, in cahoots with underworld boss Guy Gisborne. 
 
When his dad is framed for a robbery, Robin and his brother Little John are hounded out of Locksley and must learn to survive in the Sherwood forest, stretching three hundred kilometres and sheltering the free spirits and outlaws. But Robin is determined to do more than survive. Small, fast and deadly with a bow, he hatches a plan to join forces with Marion Maid, harness his inimitable tech skills and strike a blow against Gisborne and the Sheriff. 

You Are a Champion: How to be the Best You Can Be by Marcus Rashford and Carl Anka

Marcus Rashford MBE is famous worldwide for his skills both on and off the pitch – but before he was a Manchester United and England footballer, and long before he started his inspiring campaign to end child food poverty, he was just an ordinary kid from Wythenshawe, South Manchester. Now the nation’s favourite footballer wants to show YOU how to achieve your dreams, in this positive and inspiring guide for life. 

The Outlaws Scarlett & Browne by Jonathan Stroud

England has been radically changed by a series of catastrophes – large cities have disappeared and London has been replaced by a lagoon. The surviving population exists in fortified towns where they cling to traditional ways, while strangely evolved beasts prowl the wilderness beyond. Conformity is rigidly enforced and those who fall foul of the rules are persecuted: some are killed, others are driven out into the wilds. Only a few fight back – and two of these outlaws, Scarlett McCain and Albert Browne, display an audacity and talent that makes them legends. 

The Beast of Harwood Forest by Dan Smith

What’s hiding in Harwood Forest? 

When Pete, Nancy and Krish arrive at Heathland Camp for a school trip, they’re in for an adventure – just not the kind they were expecting. 

Nearby sits the abandoned Harwood Institute. The crumbling buildings are out of bounds but strange screams come from the surrounding forest at night. Mystery shrouds the events that took place at the institute during the war, so Pete and his friends make it their mission to find out the truth. But the forest is hiding a sinister secret, and the trio could be in real danger … 

Are some mysteries best left undisturbed? 

Windrush Child by Benjamin Zephaniah

Leonard is shocked when he arrives with his mother in the port of Southampton. His father is a stranger to him, it’s cold and even the Jamaican food doesn’t taste the same as it did back home in Maroon Town. But his parents have brought him here to try to make a better life, so Leonard does his best not to complain, to make new friends, to do well at school – even when people hurt him with their words and with their fists. 

Year 9 and above

The Humiliations of Welton Blake by Alex Wheatle

Welton Blake has done it! He’s asked out Carmella McKenzie ‐ the best-looking girl in school ‐ and she’s only gone and said yes! 

But just as he thinks his luck is starting to change, Welton’s phone breaks, kick‐starting a series of unfortunate and humiliating events. With bullies to avoid, girls ready to knock him out and all the drama with his mum and dad, life for Welton is about to go very, very wrong … 

The Gilded Ones by Namina Forma

Sixteen-year-old Deka lives in Otera, a deeply patriarchal ancient kingdom, where a woman’s worth is tied to her purity, and she must bleed to prove it. But when Deka bleeds gold – the colour of impurity, of a demon – she faces a consequence worse than death. She is saved by a mysterious woman who tells Deka of her true nature: she is an Alaki, a near-immortal with exceptional gifts. The stranger offers her a choice: fight for the Emperor, with others just like her, or be destroyed… 

The Cousins by Karen M McManus

The Storys are the envy of their neighbours: owners of the largest property on their East Coast island, they are rich, beautiful, and close. Until it all falls apart. The four children are suddenly dropped by their mother with a single sentence: 
 
You know what you did. 
 
They never hear from her again. 
 
Years later, when 18-year-old cousins Aubrey, Milly and Jonah Story receive a mysterious invitation to spend the summer at their grandmother’s resort, they have no choice but to follow their curiosity and meet the woman who’s been such an enigma their entire lives. 
 
This entire family is built on secrets, right? It’s the Story legacy. 
 
This summer, the teenagers are determined to discover the truth at the heart of their family. But some secrets are better left alone. 

Burn by Patrick Ness ​

“On a cold Sunday evening in early 1957, Sarah Dewhurst waited with her father in the parking lot of the Chevron Gas Station for the dragon he’d hired to help on the farm.” 
 
This dragon, Kazimir, has more to him than meets the eye. Sarah can’t help but be curious about him, an animal who supposedly doesn’t have a soul but is seemingly intent on keeping her safe from the brutal attentions of Deputy Sheriff Emmett Kelby. 
 
Kazimir knows something she doesn’t. He has arrived at the farm because of a prophecy. A prophecy that involves a deadly assassin, a cult of dragon worshippers, two FBI agents – and somehow, Sarah Dewhurst herself. 

Black and British: A short, essential history by David Olusoga

A short, essential introduction to Black British history for readers of 12+ by award-winning historian and broadcaster David Olusoga. 
 
When did Africans first come to Britain? 
 
Who are the well-dressed black children in Georgian paintings? 
 
Why did the American Civil War disrupt the Industrial Revolution? 
 
These and many other questions are answered in this essential introduction to 1800 years of the Black British history: from the Roman Africans who guarded Hadrian’s Wall right up to the present day. 

The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys

Madrid, 1957. 
 
Daniel, young, wealthy and unsure of his place in the world, views the city through the lens of his camera. 
 
Ana, a hotel maid whose family is suffering under the fascist dictatorship of General Franco. 
 
Lives and hearts collide as they unite to uncover the hidden darkness within the city. 
 
A darkness that could engulf them all . . . 
 
Master storyteller Ruta Sepetys once again shines light into one of history’s darkest corners in this epic, heart-wrenching novel about identity, unforgettable love and the hidden violence of silence. 

Vote for your Book

Votes to be made by  5pm on Friday 21st  January 2022. The winning books will be announced
on Friday 11th February 2022.

If you would like to submit a Schools Vote with numerous nominations please email here.