Last October, 9B were invited to take part in the Book of the Year Award, an opportunity that only comes round every six years. BRGS were paired with Sir John Thursby School in Burnley. In December and again in February, four members of 9B, Joanne Earnshaw, Demi Hartley, Seamus McDonnell and Jack Westerman discussed the hundred books published last year, all of which 9B had read. Our students wrote reviews on the books which appeared in a glossy magazine that has been distributed to every school in Lancashire. At these meetings the two schools, with the help of librarian staff, selected their top ten books.
The competition then went up a gear as two students were selected to go to County Hall in Preston, to argue the case for the BRGS selection against 11 other schools in the Lancashire. Our representatives were Joanne Earnshaw and Jack Westerman and they were given the final ten books to read and select the best three. The books were read, the class was consulted, arguments raged but a final three were chosen with 9B favouring "The Trap"by Sarah Wray.
See the final top ten books here
Back at County Hall, the 24 students were in heated debate about which author was to be the winner of £1000 and a crystal bowl, but more importantly the right to mark the cover of the book with the "Winner on the Lancashire Library Award for Book of the Year. At the end the students chose "Blood Ties" by Sophie Mackenzie, the BRGS third choice.
In a moment of drama, Sophie Mackenzie was phoned and one of the students announced that she was the winner and the whole room applauded as we heard the squeaks of excitement from the winning author.
On 20th June, the great and the good gathered at the Council Chambers in Preston County Hall for the presentation of the award. Five of the winning top ten authors were there, including the BRGS choice, Sarah Wray, who chatted to Jack Westerman for some time. It was an enjoyable meeting, as the students met these writers, with whom they had become so familiar for so long and some seriously important people from the County Council and the University of Central Lancashire. Our two students were chosen to present speeches to the assembly in the main council chamber, Joanne telling the audience about what the award meant to her, and Jack, having the audience rolling in the aisles as he descibed the final choice and thanking Adele Geras, a children's writer who had guided the students brilliantly through the selection process.
Our students were superb at every level: they read the books avidly; were the main contrbuters to the Lancashire Library magazine; the four students, Joanne Earnshaw, Demi Hartley, Seamus McDonnell and Jack Westerman were superb ambassadors for the school and the final pair, Joanne Earnshaw and Jack Westerman were stunning on the day.