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Children’s ‘Best Book’ announced in annual awards

Worst Week Ever book cover

CHILDREN from more than 50 primary schools in Leicester have been voting for the book they have enjoyed the most over the past year.  

The annual Our Best Book competition, organised by Leicester Libraries, asks children aged 10-11 to vote for their favourite reads from a longlist of 12 carefully selected books.

Schools receive two copies each of the longlisted titles during the autumn term, giving children the chance to read and discuss them, before voting for their favourite five books in December each year.

A further 15 copies of the five books that receive the most votes are then distributed to the participating schools in the new year, with the children reading them and discussing them with friends, family and even the books’ authors, thanks to specially-arranged online talks.

The final vote takes place in May, with more than 3,000 children taking part this year and choosing their best book for 2024.

The winning book – announced today (Wednesday 5 June) – is Worst Week Ever: Monday, by Eva Amores and Matt Cosgrove. This hilarious tale is described as a crazy catastrophe from start to finish, in the tradition of Tom Gates and Diary of a Wimpy Kid. The children loved it!

In second place was illustrated adventure detective story Trixie Pickle: Art Avenger, by Olaf Falafel; while third place went to superhero tale Onyeka and the Academy of the Sun, by Tola Okogwu.

City council head of neighbourhood services Lee Warner said: “Our Best Book motivates children to read for pleasure and encourages them to engage with a wide range of authors and styles. By providing lots of copies of the books, we ensure that all children in years 5 and 6 at our participating schools can join in, encouraging even the most reluctant readers to lose themselves in a good book.

“Initiatives such as Our Best Book are very welcome, as they’re brilliant at helping children to develop a lifelong love of reading. Sets of these books are available at all Leicester libraries and the longlist provides some fantastic recommendations for books to take away over the summer holidays.”

Matt Cosgrove, co-author of the winning book, said: “Hooray! This is the best news ever! Eva and I are absolutely ecstatic. We’re so grateful to all the kids of Leicester and so happy to know that they enjoyed reading Worst Week Ever: Monday. We’re over the moon.”

Our Best Book is led by Leicester Neighbourhood Services (libraries and community centres) in partnership with the School Development Support Agency, through its multi-agency reading project Whatever It Takes. It is also supported by Leicestershire-based Creative Learning Services and by Leicester primary schools.

The 12 books on the 2023/24 longlist were:

  • Worst week ever: Monday by Eva Amores & Matt Cosgrove
  • The Thames & tide club: the secret city by Katya Balen
  • Wished by Lissa Evans
  • Trixie Pickle: art avenger by Olaf Falafel
  • The boy who saved a bear by Nizrana Farook
  • The way of dog by Zana Fraillon
  • Ada Rue and the banished by Kereen Getten
  • Jodie by Hilary McKay
  • Fablehouse by E L Norry
  • Onyeka and the academy of the sun by Tola Okogwu
  • A different kind of freedom: a Romani story by Richard O’Neill
  • Picture perfect by Serena Patel