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‘Roaring’ success for Story Book Award winner

Pupils from 25 participating West Sussex primary schools have voted ‘Land of Roar’ by Jenny McLachlan the winner of this year’s West Sussex Schools Library Service Story Book Award.

The book captured the hearts of children because of its contemporary characters, thrilling adventure and its ability to immerse the reader in its fantasy realm.

‘Land of Roar’ tells the story of eleven-year-old twins, Rose and Arthur Trout, who stay with their grandad over the summer holidays.

Rose and Arthur may have forgotten about the fantasy world they created when they were small, but the characters of that world have not forgotten them.

When grandad is sucked into Roar through the fold-up bed in the attic, Arthur and Rose must return to a world they thought was make-believe.

This book was shortlisted alongside three others:

  • The Girl Who Speaks Bear by Sophie Anderson;
  • The Boy Who Flew by Fleur Hitchcock;
  • The Monster Who Wasn’t by T.C. Shelley.

Jenny McLachlan, author of the ‘Land of Roar’, said: “I just wanted to let you know how thrilled I am that The Land of Roar has won the West Sussex Story Book Award! I’m over the moon and it means so much to me that children in West Sussex loved Roar. Thank you to the West Sussex Library Service and all the teachers and librarians involved and of course to the children who took part.”

Shortlisted books were delivered to schools before the coronavirus pandemic, and any schools who had difficulty accessing them during lockdown were supported with online resources through the Schools Library Service’s blog.

The resources included:

  • online readings, such as Fleur Hitchcock’s daily reading from her book The Boy Who Flew;
  • referring teachers and students to the public library’s e-Books platform, where they could download an e-Book version of The Girl Who Speaks Bear;
  • recordings of all four shortlisted authors talking about their book and their writing experiences.

Nominations for the award usually run from March to June, but the service extended the voting deadline to 10 July, to give all participating schools a chance to vote before the end of the summer term.

Nigel Jupp, West Sussex County Council Cabinet Member for Education and Skills, said: “The awards have been run by the West Sussex Schools Library Service for the past five years. They are a great success and always well received by the schools and pupils who participate.

“The awards encourage children to read for enjoyment, which is key to developing literacy and life skills for the future. Research shows that reading for pleasure helps children make sense of the world, form good relationships and gain a sense of cultural identity, all qualities that are constantly being developed in children in West Sussex primary schools.”

Schools are invited to participate in next year’s Story Book Award from November 2020.

The award is aimed at Y5 pupils and schools can participate as a class or book group.

Schools are provided with copies of the shortlisted titles, the award longlist, bookmarks and a briefing pack.

For more information on the West Sussex Schools Library Service, visit schools.westsussex.gov.uk/Services/3148.

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