The Boy at the Back of the Class and The Colours of History win 2019 Blue Peter Book Awards

Published on: 07 March 2019

Uncovering the mysteries of colour and tales of finding your place in the world top the list for Best Book with Facts and Best Story prize.

The Boy at the Back of the Class by Onjali Q Raúf and The Colours of History by Clive Gifford, illustrated by Marc-Etienne Peintre, have been revealed as the 2019 Blue Peter Book Award winners. 

Find out more about the prize

Managed by BookTrust, the immensely popular Blue Peter Book Awards honour amazing authors, imaginative illustrators and the best books for children published in the last 12 months. The winning titles were voted for by over 300 children from 12 schools across the UK.

Winner of Best Story is: The Boy at the Back of the Class by Onjali Q Raúf

Onjali Q Raúf's latest book tells the story of how four classmates have a massive impact on the life of Ahmet, a boy that comes to their school as a refugee from Syria. It's an inspiring tale that will help children be the best they can be and realise the power of kindness.

Discussing the award Onjali Q Raúf said:

'What a wonderful, surreal and truly epic honour it is to win this wonderful award! I can hardly believe that my childhood dream of owning a Blue Peter badge one day has come true in the most unexpected way possible! I am utterly bowled over by the love and support The Boy at the Back of the Class has received not just from the marvellous Blue Peter Judges, but all the children who voted for its place as a winning title this year – thank you.'

Winner of Best Book with Facts is: The Colours of History by Clive Gifford, illustrated by Marc-Etienne Peintre

Author Clive Gifford said:

'To be recognised by a show I watched and loved as a child (and still do as an adult) is a remarkable thing. I’m tickled pink! I want to thank all the children who voted for The Colours of History. And a big thank to BookTrust for the remarkable work they do. Awards like these are so important in getting across how books with facts can tell incredible and important stories and excite, inspire and entertain young minds as much as fiction.'

Illustrator Marc-Etienne Peintre commented:

'I was very lucky to get to work with Clive and the Quarto team on such an interesting subject. I am extremely honoured to have won this prize, and most of all, to know that the children the book is intended for have read and enjoyed The Colours of History.'

Two winning books for World Book Day

On Thursday 7 March, the winning two authors will appear on a special World Book Day edition of Blue Peter, the longest running children’s programme in the world. Also appearing on the show are our judges, award-winning author and illustrator Alex T Smith, and author and UK’s number one parenting vlogger Louise Pentland.

Alex T. Smith, Author, Illustrator and Blue Peter Book Awards judge said:

'It’s been an absolute pleasure to be part of the Blue Peter Book Award judging panel this year, and such a delight to work with the other judges. It was a very competitive shortlist with brilliant titles, and it was a very close call but we think the students have made a fantastic decision!'

Blue Peter editor Matthew Peacock said:

'We’ve had a fantastically strong selection of titles for the Blue Peter Book Awards 2019 and it’s great to see children from across the UK voting to decide the outcome.
Congratulations go to Best Story Book winner Onjali Q Rauf for The Boy at the Back of the Class which is such an informative and poignant tale about a subject that is very important to many children today. I’m also incredibly pleased we are able to present Clive Gifford with the award for Best Book with Facts. The Colours of History is such an original take on a history book, linking colours to amazing facts.'

Diana Gerald, CEO of BookTrust, commented:

'Each year the Blue Peter Book Awards is an excellent opportunity to celebrate talented authors and illustrators who create amazing books. This year was no different; the nail-biting school verdict was a very close competition, but we are delighted that Onjali and Clive took the top places – two very deserving winners who continue to encourage so many young children to read and love stories.' 

What do you think of the two Blue Peter winners? Share your thoughts on Twitter with #bluepeter

Find out more about the Blue Peter prize

Download the full press release (.doc, 413 KB)

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