Windows Into Other Worlds: Here are the winning entries, full of the wonderful worlds you've explored in books
Published on: 15 July 2019 Author: Candy Gourlay
Author and current BookTrust Writer in Residence Candy Gourlay talks us through the brilliant drawings and words she received, as part of her creative competition for schools.
I was worried when three big FAT envelopes from Booktrust squeezed into my letter box. I knew they contained all the entries to the Windows Into Other Worlds Competition that I had set as BookTrust’s Writer in Residence. The envelopes looked awfully large and well-stuffed.
When I opened the envelopes, leafing through the entries, I was smiling and laughing and going, “Wow!’ so much that one of my children popped their head into my office to ask if I was all right.
Reader, I pored over every single one. I made many piles on my desk as I read and re-read them. A longlist of entries from children age 4 to 7, a longlist of entries from children aged 8 to 11. Then I made a shortlist of each longlist. But it wasn’t short enough, because I LOVED so many entries. Then I went to bed and promised myself I would really, really winnow them down in the morning. And then, for a long time, I couldn’t.
Reader, it was hard.
But in the end, I found a winner.
Winner: Freddie dives into the world of Tiddler
It is four-year-old Freddie Ferguson from Mrs Houda’s Reception class at Thelwall Community Infant School in Warrington, Cheshire. Freddie’s homage to Tiddler by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler was moving and magical and made me wish I could be a sea creature (an octopus, actually) and explore the gorgeousness of the world under the ocean.
'When I read the book Tiddler [by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler], I imagine I turn into Freddie the Fish. The sea is so deep and blue with lots of strange sea creatures. I would be a leopard fish and swim faster than the speed boats. I get tangled in the seaweed and a turtle rescues me.'
Totally, utterly beautiful, Freddie! Every member of your Reception Class will receive a copy of my own undersea picture book, Is It a Mermaid? – fabulously illustrated by Francesca Chessa. And you, Freddie, will receive a bundle of my books. I hope you enjoy them!
Thankfully, I was allowed to choose two runners-up!
Runner-up: Tyler takes a magic carpet ride
One runner up is eight-year-old Tyler Judges-Smith from Mrs Daly’s class in Fleetdown Primary School in Dartford, Kent.
Tyler chose The Arabian Nights as his window to another world and his drawing caught my eye with its little figures and minarets. When I inspected it more closely, I realised, amongst others, I was looking at the scene where the robbers are realising that their plot to kill Ali Baba had been foiled by Ali’s faithful servant girl. Flying overhead with a delicious 'Ahh' speech bubble is Aladdin on a magic carpet!
Tyler also picked a wonderful passage from his book:
'Here is a ring on a silver dish, put it on your finger and make a wish. Here is a genie who waits in a flask.'
Thank you, Tyler, I loved studying your illustration and remembering how much I loved the wondrous tales from The Arabian Nights, when I was a kid – there were so many stories in your picture, it was like reading a book!
Runner-up: Quin considers a different outlook on the world
The other runner-up is 10-year-old Quin Thirsk from Latymer Prep School in Hammersmith, London. Quin’s entry is a masterpiece! At the centre is an arresting portrait of the hero, Christopher [from The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time], hands clapped over his ears, his face twisted in pain at the chaos around him. Around him are the things that comfort him – prime numbers, a code to facial expression, and a rigid time schedule – and the disturbing event that disrupts his sense of order: the dead dog (I love the dead dog’s expression).
'I love how, even though the book is set in England, everything is different when seen from Christopher’s perspective. Christopher’s world is different to my world because he sees and remembers so much more detail. However he does not understand it in the way I do. That’s what makes his world interesting.'
Congratulations to Quin and Tyler, you will each receive a bundle of my books. I hope you enjoy them!
I am so happy for Freddie, Tyler and Quin … but I’m sad I wasn’t allowed to pick more winners. There were so many beautiful pieces of work!
Take a look at more entries that dazzled us
Allegra's illustration of War Horse by Michael Morpurgo
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Arya's illustration of Cliffhanger by Jacqueline Wilson
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Asha's illustration of How To Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell
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Beatrice's illustration of Rick Riordan’s Camp Half-Blood
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Ben's illustration of The Northern Lights by Philip Pullman
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Daisy's illustration of the Scarlet and Ivy books by Sophie Cleverly
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Eduardo's illustration of Kensuke's Kingdom by Michael Morpurgo
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George's illustration of Granny by Anthony Horowitz
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Grace's illustration of How To Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell
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Jojo's illustration of Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow Hardcover by Jessica Townsend
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Laaiba's illustration of The Lorax by Dr Seuss
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Malika's illustration of C S Lewis’ Narnia
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Mia's illustration of The Girl Who Walked on Air by Emma Carroll
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Naomi's illustration of Rapunzel by the Brothers Grimm
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Olivia's illustration of Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell
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Rebecca's illustration of The Wolf Wilder by Katherine Rundell
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Serena's illustration of The Lost Words: A Spell Book by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris
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Tianyon's illustration of The Demon Dentist by David Walliams
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Tom's illustration of Rick Riordan’s Camp Half-Blood
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There was eight-year-old Laaiba who loved the made-up words in The Lorax by Dr Seuss and drew a brilliant whiskery Lorax saying 'Listen up!' to the world. Five-year-old Naomi drew Rapunzel in her tower, throwing her long golden braid down to a grinning prince.
Then there was Serena who was inspired by The World of Lost Words by Robert MacFarlane and Jackie Morris – 'I love nature and the book looked unusual. I soon saw it was a book about spells', and concludes, 'I decided it was my job to get the lost words back into our English language.'
Edoardo, 10, drew an endless shimmering sea to capture the world of Kensuke’s Kingdom by Michael Morpurgo. Olivia, 10, chose the scene where Charles finds baby Sophie on the beach in Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell. ‘It’s different from our world,’ Olivia wrote, ‘because no one puts a baby in a cello.’
I loved 10-year-old Mia’s drawing of The Girl Who Walked On Air by Emma Carroll, complete with tightrope over a waterfall. She loved ‘the whiff of death’ and the ‘danger’.
Jojo, age 10, chose Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend, reconstructing the world, complete with a liftable flap to show the interior of Hotel Deucalion! ‘The thing that I love about this world is how magical and mystical it is. Anything can happen at any day, any place or any time!’
Then there’s the terror of war in Allegra’s explosive rendition of War Horse by Michael Morpurgo. ‘Luckily,’ writes Allegra, 10, ‘today there is no war going on.’ And the deep, deep forest from The Wolf Wilder by Katherine Rundell. ‘I would be frightened coming into those woods alone,’ writes Rebecca, 10, ‘I could get lost.’
Magic and magical creatures abounded in the entries. All J K Rowling’s creatures from Harry Potter were present and accounted for, Philip Pullman’s armoured bear [Ben], Cressida Cowell’s dragons and the Viking children who would train them [Asha, Grace], monsters and mythological creatures from Rick Riordan’s Camp Half-Blood [Beatrice, Tom], the Lion from C S. Lewis’s Narnia [Malika], Anthony Horowitz’s evil granny [George], David Walliams’ demon dentist...
There were also ordinary children doing extraordinary things – hapless Tim falling off a cliff from my favourite Jacqueline Wilson book, Cliffhanger [Arya], Scarlet and Ivy from Sophie Cleverly’s mystery series [Daisy]…
I could go on!
I hope other authors will be as inspired as I am to create more magical worlds for their readers.
And children, keep on reading, you never know what world you might find yourself in!
Writer in Residence
Our current Writer-Illustrator in Residence is Michael Rosen, who is writing blogs, running competitions and giving us their unique perspective on the world of children's books.