The winner of Lancashire’s Book of the Year Award has been announced at a special ceremony at County Hall.
This accolade, which also celebrated its 30th anniversary, remains one of the few book awards where young people themselves are totally responsible for drawing up the shortlist and choosing the overall winner.
Holly Bourne, writer of ‘Am I Normal Yet?’ was announced as the winner on Saturday 18 June.
Holly said, “I am so thrilled and overwhelmed to have won the Lancashire Book of the Year Award. I can’t even say how happy it makes me.
“It is an honour to be recognised for ‘Am I Normal Yet?’, but what makes it extra special is that it is the young readers who have chosen the winner, the young people I am writing for, and that means so much.
“Thank you for this award.”
The Lancashire Book of the Year was the first regional book award for children when it was originally organised in 1987. It was won that year by Philip Pullman, who went on to great success with the “His Dark Materials” trilogy.
Judges are pupils from school Year 9 (aged between 13 and 14). Twelve high schools from across the county take part, with one school representing each of Lancashire’s districts.
There were 92 books nominated on the list this year. The young judges came together in March to hear which books had made it to the shortlist. A panel of 24 pupils then joined the chair of the judging sessions, freelance children’s book specialist, Jake Hope, to read and appraise each of the eleven shortlisted books.
County Councillor Marcus Johnstone, Lancashire County Council’s cabinet member for environment, planning and cultural services, said: “Being introduced to books at a young age is important, as it can build up a love of reading that can stay with you for the rest of your life.
“It’s fantastic to see so many young people so actively involved in judging these awards, and clearly getting so much pleasure from books.
“I really hope that their love of reading continues.”
The Lancashire Book of the Year Award was sponsored by UCLan, for the 15th year.
The schools and the young judges that took part in this year’s award were:
Sir John Thursby, Burnley – Hamzah Shah and Neelam Jabeen
Clitheroe Royal Grammar School, Clitheroe, Ribble Valley – Joshua Loan-Clarke and Zahra Dungerpurwala
Marsden Heights Community College, Nelson, Pendle – Sikander Ali and Aamina Iqbal
Lancaster Girls Grammar School, Lancaster – Imogen Graham and Natalia Emsley
Millfield Science and Performing Arts College, Thornton Cleveleys, Wyre – Jessica Anderson and James Orrell
St Bede’s Catholic High School, Lytham St Annes, Fylde – Ashley Gomes and Louis Reilly
St Michael’s Church of England High School, Chorley – Joshua Saaiman and Cameron Wilkes
Lathom High School, Skelmersdale, West Lancashire – Caitlin Webster and Tegan Powell
Balshaw’s Church of England High School, Leyland, South Ribble – David Shorrock and Hollie McDonagh
Rhyddings Business and Enterprise School, Oswaldtwistle, Hyndburn- Bethany Beresford and Thomas Gales-Ellis
Alder Grange School, Rawtenstall, Rossendale – Maja Strawinska and Robert Shingler
Our Lady Catholic High School, Fulwood, Preston – Hattie Holford-Smith and Megan Matthias
For information on Lancashire County Council’s Library and Information Service, visit www.lancashire.gov.uk/libraries