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Prize-winning books to read from 2019

The Boy at the Back of the Class

Every year, there are loads of brilliant book prizes that celebrate the work of all the amazing children’s authors and illustrators writing for children, tweens, teens and young adults.

This list has been created from some fantastic books that have won awards over the last year and come fully recommended for your child.

So, without further ado, here are the winning books in one handy round-up!

Let us know what would win the award for your favourite children’s book of the year @BookTrust.

  • The Boy at the Back of the Class

    Author: Onjali Q Raúf
    Publisher: Orion Children's Books
    Interest age: 7-11
    Reading age: 10+

    This is the story about how four classmates have a massive impact on the life of Ahmet, a boy that comes to their school as a refugee from Syria. An inspiring and sweet tale that should help children be the best they can be and realise the power of kindness.

  • Julian is a Mermaid

    Author: Jessica Love
    Publisher: Walker Books
    Interest age: 4-7
    Reading age: 6+

    When Julian spots three women in lavish mermaid costumes, it fires his imagination and all he can think about is becoming a mermaid himself – with a little help from his nana’s soft furnishings.

  • The Skylarks' War

    Author: Hilary McKay
    Publisher: Macmillan
    Interest age: 9-12
    Reading age: 9-12

    Clarry and Peter love spending their summers in Cornwall with their cousin Rupert, but how will things change when he enlists for the First World War? A hugely evocative, powerful and impressive story.

  • The Explorer

    Author: Katherine Rundell Illustrator: Hannah Horn
    Publisher: Bloomsbury
    Interest age: 10+
    Reading age: 10+

    Fred, Con, Lila and little Max’s plane is on the way to Manaus when it falls out of the sky. Now, lost in the Amazon rainforest, they must figure out the basics of survival. Rundell’s writing is exquisite and this story is completely, utterly wonderful.

  • Cyril and Pat

    Author: Emily Gravett
    Publisher: Two Hoots
    Interest age: 4-7
    Reading age: 6+

    Cyril the Squirrel is so lonely that, when he finally makes a friend, he doesn’t seem to notice that "Pat" might not be quite what he seems. A colourful, rhyming story about friendship against the odds.

  • Mr Bunny's Chocolate Factory

    Author: Elys Dolan
    Publisher: Oxford
    Interest age: 4-8
    Reading age: 6-8

    Mr Bunny gets taught a big lesson about how he should treat his employees when his chickens go on strike in this funny and sophisticated Easter egg tale.

  • The Poet X

    Author: Elizabeth Acevedo
    Publisher: Electric Monkey
    Interest age: 13+
    Reading age: 13+

    Xiomara, a teenage girl of Dominican heritage, is starting to notice boys, but her strict Catholic parents have decided on no contact with the opposite sex until marriage. A verse novel that sings with the rhythms of slam poetry, this is powerful and affecting.

  • Freedom (1783)

    Author: Catherine Johnson
    Publisher: Scholastic
    Interest age: 9-12
    Reading age: 9-12

    This is a brilliant adventure story that manages to give young readers a really important insight into slavery without being so upsetting that it’s impossible to read: a very fine balance, masterfully achieved.

  • The Colours of History

    Author: Clive Gifford Illustrator: Marc-Etienne Peintre
    Publisher: QED Publishing
    Interest age: 8-11
    Reading age: 9+

    Full of fascinating facts about colour, this book focuses on a topic that is not often covered in children’s books. It offers a wide range of opportunities and new ideas for parents and schools, working across the curriculum through art, history and beyond.

  • I Am Bat

    Author: Morag Hood
    Publisher: Macmillan
    Interest age: 0-3
    Reading age: 3-6

    This brilliantly funny, fruit-filled book captures the fickleness and changing whims of childhood in a few short sentences and brightly coloured images. Bat is a fully formed character from page one, full of quickly changing emotions and bursting with vitality. 

  • Long Way Down

    Author: Jason Reynolds Illustrator: Chris Priestley
    Publisher: Faber
    Interest age: 12+
    Reading age: 12+

    Written in verse, Long Way Down is breathtakingly gripping and spectacular. You almost read it without breathing; the action is so tense, the language so powerful. Give it to every teenager you know!

  • If All the World Were

    Author: Joseph Coelho Illustrator: Allison Colpoys
    Publisher: Lincoln Children’s Books
    Interest age: 0-5

    This beautiful story tells the love that one little girl has for her ageing grandad. One day he isn’t there anymore, but the little girl finds evidence of their happy times together. A touching, sensitive text that doesn’t dwell on the sadness and could bring real comfort.

  • The Storm Keeper’s Island

    Author: Catherine Doyle
    Publisher: Bloomsbury
    Interest age: 10+
    Reading age: 10-12

    Fionn and his sister Tara are spending their summer on the remote island of Arranmore, off the coast of Ireland, staying with their grandfather. Readers will be swept away by the setting, atmosphere and magic of Arranmore as Fionn discovers its history and secrets. 

  • The Ice Monster

    Author: David Walliams
    Publisher: HarperCollins
    Interest age: 6-11
    Reading age: 7+

    The Ice Monster is an epic, loosely historical adventure that is funny, easy to read and shoots along at a rocket pace. Tony Ross’ glorious cover and artwork on almost every page are also a joy. 

  • You Are Awesome

    Author: Matthew Syed Illustrator: Toby Triumph
    Publisher: Wren & Rook
    Interest age: 10+
    Reading age: 9+

    An accessible, funny self-help manual for pre-teens and teenagers, based on Carol Dweck’s growth mindset theory: how to train your mind and take a more positive, proactive attitude to life.