The Awards

Our categories

We were absolutely thrilled with the engagement and feedback from children and our school communities, following the first ever Spark! Book Awards last year. We hope we can make them even better this year and we can't wait to get started again!

Following the success of last year, we have decided to keep the same award categories, with only a minor tweak to the youngest age category:

We are, however, delighted to to announce a new category for 2021-22:

The age ranges provided are suggestions only - how you introduce the categories in school is entirely up to you and we'd encourage children to access as many of the books as appropriate. Schools and publishers may choose to participate in any combination of these categories, although we hope you'll consider them all!

Alongside our awards, we also want to try and get books into the hands of local pupils who cannot as readily access them. Last year we ran a JustGiving fund, which helped to raise £1,200 that was used to gift books to these pupils. We will be running a similar project again this year, so please see our dedicated JustGiving page for further information and details on how to donate.

"It's been a great experience and has introduced lots of new high quality writing, and encouraged reading outside usual genres - beyond the bestsellers. The teachers appreciated this too. The emphasis on reading for pleasure rather than for comprehension made it fun in what has been a tricky year. Many of our children have not seen an author speak before, and joining some of the post talk discussion this made an impression... Teachers and children are already checking that we will be doing it again next year"


Deborah Hollingdale

Our process

Over the first half of the autumn term we will be inviting authors, illustrators and publishers to enter their books, published over the last year, into our awards.

Each of our award categories has a separate panel, who reflect a range of different professionals working with children in our schools. They will be looking for books which reflect the diverse and exciting nature of our local area and will narrow the entries down to a longlist, based on the criteria below, which will be revealed in the last few weeks before Christmas. Then, in the early spring term they will deliberate further and announce our shortlists, consisting of four books in each category.

During the rest of the spring and summer terms it will be for the children in participating schools to read and enjoy the shortlisted books. We will be organising virtual author visits for all shortlisted books, to give children the opportunity to meet a range of authors and illustrators, ask them any questions they have and hopefully inspire them, before deciding on their favourites and the winner of the Spark! Book Award in each category.

We believe that through this process we will raise awareness and broaden understanding amongst teachers, children and families of the great number of new and exciting books that are published each year for children and create a buzz about reading.

Our criteria

Shortlisting Criteria