SHADOW FOREST BY MATT HAIG NAMED BOOK OF THE YEAR
The enormously popular and influential Blue Peter Book Awards, which celebrate the best children’s authors, today names Shadow Forest by Matt Haig as its Book of the Year. Chosen by children for children, a panel of eight child judges selected Shadow Forest - a dark and grisly tale about two orphans and a forest full of one-eyed trolls, as the winner. Matt Haig received his award in a special episode of Blue Peter to be broadcast on BBC1 at 4.35pm on Wednesday 4 March, ahead of World Book Day on Thursday 5 March. The show will also feature the deliberations of the child judges as well as mini-dramatisations of each book.
Excerpts from all the shortlisted books are available to download for free from the Blue Peter website – www.bbc.co.uk/bluepeter.
As well being crowned Book of the Year, Shadow Forest also won the Book I Couldn’t Put Down category.
It beat off stiff competition from the other two category winners to scoop the accolade. The other winners are: Mr Gum and the Dancing Bear by Andy Stanton and illustrated by David Tazzyman in the Most Fun Story with Pictures category; and Horrible Geography Handbooks – Planet in Peril by Anita Ganeri, illustrated by Mike Phillips, in the Best Book with Facts category.
Matt Haig said: “I am absolutely over-the-moon that Shadow Forest won, not only as a lifelong Blue Peter fan but also because this is one of the only national awards where children decide the winner. To say I was shocked is an understatement. I was halfway through a book event at a school when suddenly I turned around and saw a Blue Peter camera crew burst in to hand me the award. I nearly hyperventilated! I was up against some very stiff competition so I couldn’t believe I’d won my category let alone the overall prize, although I’m very pleased I did!”
Rhyl, 10, from Wales, one of the child judges, said: "Shadow Forest was my favourite book. It is a creepy fantasy book full of weird and wonderful creatures and I found it extremely hard to put down. Matt Haig had me gripped from start to finish."
Zoe, 11, from Scotland, another of the child judges, said: "Shadow Forest was by far the favourite book we judged. Personally, I couldn't put it down. It was so exciting: fun but scary at the same time. It was very well written and I never wanted it to end. When you read the book, you really felt like one of the characters. It was the best book in the final and I think most of the judges agreed."
Tim Levell, Editor of Blue Peter, said: “The Blue Peter Book Awards are special because they are chosen by children for children. We know how much our young audience loves reading, but on World Book Day, we want to encourage children to try some books they might not know about – and hopefully get some new favourites to add to their bookshelf!”
The enormously popular and influential Blue Peter Book Awards have been recognising and celebrating the best authors, the most creative illustrators and the greatest reads for children since 2000.
Book I Couldn’t Put Down and overall Blue Peter Book of the Year:
Shadow Forest by Matt Haig (Corgi)
Most Fun Story with Pictures:
Mr Gum and the Dancing Bear by Andy Stanton, illustrated by David Tazzyman (Egmont)
Best Book with Facts:
Horrible Geography Handbooks – Planet in Peril by Anita Ganeri, illustrated by Mike Phillips (Scholastic)