17 October 2019
The Bolton Children’s Fiction Award 2020 shortlist has been announced! The six books were first revealed to excited members of Bolton School Boys’ and Girls’ Division Book Clubs at a lunchtime ceremony before a list was delivered to all participating schools in Bolton and surrounding areas.
The launch of this year’s Award has been hotly anticipated by pupils across Bolton, who will ultimately decide the winner for 2020.
This year’s shortlist includes both new or emerging writers, in keeping with the original aim of the Award, and established writers. Winners in recent years have been gritty and realistic; this year, while familiar themes of family, friendship and bereavement remain, there is also a strong magic and fantasy element in many of the books as well.
Bolton School’s Head Librarian Mrs Maria Howarth said, “This year’s list gives lot of scope for extension activities, which we will be sending out to participating schools via our website. We are hoping to do some link up work with Bolton Aquarium too.”
In addition to activities through Book Clubs throughout the year, Bolton School pupils will enjoy reading sessions during their visits to Patterdale Hall, Bolton School’s Outdoor Pursuits centre in the Lake District. Extracts from the shortlisted books will be read to visiting groups from both Divisions and pupils will be encouraged to continue reading in their free time.
As in previous years, schools from across Bolton and the surrounding area have been invited to participate. Mrs Cairns, the Librarian at Canon Slade who has been involved with the award since it commented, said: “The students at Canon Slade have thoroughly enjoyed taking part in the Bolton Children’s Fiction Award every year and it is one of the highlights of our school library calendar. Students enjoy meeting and discussing the books on the shortlist. The Award is a fabulous way of promoting new authors and different genres. We wish Bolton School every success with 2020 Bolton Children’s Fiction Award.”
The winner will be announced on 2 July 2020 at a huge ceremony at Bolton School. All of the shortlisted authors will be in attendance alongside guests from participating schools.
The Bolton Children’s Fiction Award is organised annually by Bolton School’s Library staff and entirely judged by Bolton’s schoolchildren, who are the only ones eligible to vote. Many of the young people taking part by reading the books and voting for their favourites will have enjoyed previous years of the Award at Bolton School or with their primary schools.
Follow the Bolton School Library on Twitter @BoltonSchoolLib and use the hashtag #BCFA2020 to keep track of this year’s Bolton Children’s Fiction Award.
The BCFA 2020 Shortlist:
Clownfish: Alan Durant’s novel is a bittersweet story that will leave readers in tears of laughter and empathy. In the aftermath of losing his Father, Dak comes to believe that his Dad has been reincarnated as a Clownfish at his local aquarium. To complicate matters, the aquarium is facing closure. Dak and his new friend, Violet (who has her own problems) fight to save the fish.
Wildspark: Vashti Hardy’s second novel is set in the fantastical city of Medlock, where personifates (mechanical animals) house the souls of the deceased to give them a ‘second life.’ Prue, who has recently lost her much-loved brother, is given the opportunity to learn the secrets of this new technology with the aim of bringing him back. As she learns more, she is faced with a moral dilemma.
The Skylarks’ War: Following the lives of three children from idyllic, carefree Cornwall to the horrors of World War I’s trenches, this novel, from the well-loved writer Hilary McKay, demonstrates the unhappiness that gender roles caused in Edwardian England.
Malamander: This magical fantasy novel written by Harry Potter illustrator Thomas Taylor is set in the seaside town of Eerie-on-Sea. Packed with a cast of quirkily named characters, the story focuses on the attempts of two children trying to understand how the legend of a mythical sea creature, the Malamander, is connected to their own mysterious backgrounds.
The Lost Magician: With echoes of the much-loved Narnia tales, this book by Piers Torday tells the story of four children who step through a mysterious library door into the magical world of Folio. Here they discover an enchanted kingdom of fairy knights, bears and tree gods under threat from a sinister robot army.
The Fox Girl and the White Gazelle: Scottish writer Victoria Williamson’s debut novel tells the story of two girls from very different backgrounds who become united in the fight to save the lives of a fox and her cubs.