The votes of primary school aged-children from across the UK are in and the winner of the Best Book with Facts is Invented by Animals by Christiane Dorian and Gosia Herba while The Last Bear by Hannah Gold and Levi Pinfold is winner in the Best Story category.
Winning author Hannah Gold, said, ‘When I found out I had won, I burst into tears and couldn’t speak. Like many children, I grew up on a diet of Blue Peter, following the show’s adventures and falling in love with all the pets. This feels particularly apt, because whilst The Last Bear touches upon serious themes, at its core, it is a story about the love between a child and an animal. Some of my earliest memories are visits to the library with my mum and then scampering back home to lose myself in the pages of a book. Books aren’t just about escape. For children, stories play an increasingly important role in teaching empathy, kindness and tolerance. They help shape identity, a sense of belonging and often lend courage.’
Levi Pinfold, who illustrated The Last Bear, said, ‘Who’d have thought reading too many comics as a kid would lead to a Blue Peter Book Award? To me, good stories are the ultimate enjoyment. It doesn’t matter what kind of person you are; you can guarantee someone has written a story which will grab you and not let go. It’s a thrill to celebrate something that can give so much pleasure. And to those of you who might be sitting on the fence about picking up a book: Take a chance, try something that looks good, it can change your life! It did mine.’
On the win, Invented by Animals author, Christiane Dorian said, ‘I am thrilled to win the Blue Peter Book Award amongst so many fantastic books. The fact that it is judged by children makes it even more special, as they are the best critics. I would say to children, read about what you enjoy. Whether it’s stepping into an imaginary world of wizards or learning all about amazing creatures or tropical jungles, books help us to understand the world around us and stimulate our curiosity and imagination. They can be funny, informative and inspiring. If you find books daunting, you don’t have to read it from beginning to end in one go. You can dip in and out, look at the pictures and go for the bits of text you find most interesting.’
Illustrator Gosia Herba, added, ‘I love creating books for children, so it’s my greatest joy to be appreciated by the readers. As a child, I spent most of my time reading or drawing, two things, each connected with books, which helped me discover my true passion: illustrating and making books for kids. We can do incredible things using nothing but our imagination and reading can be a great adventure. Don’t be discouraged if you don’t like a particular book. Look for another one that will interest and amaze you with the story. There are so many books in the world that everyone will find something interesting.’
The winners will be announced during a special edition of Blue Peter on Friday 4 March 2022, CBBC and BBC iPlayer from 5pm. Blue Peter Editor, Ellen Evans, says, ‘Blue Peter is all about our audience, and in this 100th year of the BBC, over 300 kids read the shortlisted books to pick the Blue Peter Book Award winners. They chose two books about how incredible animals are and how they help us in different ways. Invented by Animals, winner of the Best Book with Facts, shows the ways that nature inspires scientists and engineers and how much we can discover from the natural world.
The Last Bear, winner of Best Story, has a message not to be afraid to try to make positive difference because each small thing can make an impact, whether that’s to a person, an animal, or the planet. These two books show how aware the young generation are of our relationship to the natural world, how important it is to protect our planet and embrace our differences.’
Diana Gerald, CEO, BookTrust, who manage the Blue Peter Book Awards said, ‘In an ever-changing and stressful world, more than ever we need brilliant and informative books that can grab the attention of every child, no matter what their interests, and inspire even the most reluctant of readers to pick up a book. At an age when children are starting to grow and develop their interests, the 2022 Blue Peter Book Award winners have offered children knowledge, escapism, new role models and nurtured their curiosity. But most of all they have inspired a new generation of children on their journey to becoming readers.’