A Kind of Spark and A Day in the Life of a Poo, A Gnu and You are crowned winners of the 2021 Blue Peter Book Awards

Published on: 04 March 2021

Celebrations of neurodivergence and hilariously illustrated trivia come top of the list for Best Story and Best Books With Facts at the 2021 Blue Peter Book Awards.

The 2021 Blue Peter Book Awards winner, A Kind of Spark and A Day In The Life Of A Poo, A Gnu And You

Spanning themes of friendship and celebrating difference to a laugh out loud cartoon book that explains unusual facts in a hilarious way, the winners of the annual Blue Peter Book Awards are sure to make readers laugh and cry in equal measure. Beating the stiff competition this year, the winner of Best Story is A Kind of Spark by Elle McNicoll and winner of the Best Books with Facts is A Day in the Life of a Poo, A Gnu and You by Mike Barfield and Jess Bradley.

A Kind of Spark is the brilliant debut novel from neurodivergent writer Elle McNicoll, offering an utterly convincing and honest narrative voice. Challenging the stereotypes that can be associated with autism, this is a powerful book with a gentle touch which teaches us that there are ‘many different ways to be autistic’. Readers will revel in joining Addie in her crusade for equality and truth, celebrating the fact that it is okay to be different.

A Kind of Spark by Elle McNicollA Kind of Spark by Elle McNicoll

Author, Elle McNicoll said:

"As someone who grew up watching Blue Peter and discovering brilliant new books from the show, it is an extraordinary moment to be recognised. To be a part of their World Book Day celebrations is great, and to have been voted the winner by readers is life changing.”

Read our review of A Kind of Spark

Blog: Elle McNicoll on being a neurodivergent author

A Day in the Life of a Poo, A Gnu and You gives readers the inside story of brains, pimples, farts, porcupines, Japanese knotweed, clouds, clocks, Mars rovers, snowflakes - and everything in between. Each element has its own page and is written in the form of a first-person diary, hilariously presented in strip cartoons. This book is fabulously informative as well as very funny and gives the reader the feeling of knowing everything that’s worth knowing.

A Day In The Life Of A Poo, A Gnu And You by Mike Barfield and Jess BradleyA Day In The Life Of A Poo, A Gnu And You by Mike Barfield and Jess Bradley

Author, Mike Barfield said on receiving the award:

“Winning any award is a huge honour but winning the Blue Peter Book Award is extra special. I adored the programme as a child, and again as a parent, watching it with my own (now grown-up) children. The child in me that still persists to this day does find it rather amusing that a book with ‘Poo’ in its title will now have to be mentioned several times on the show. Gnu-sized thanks to the programme, to BookTrust, my brilliant illustrator Jess Bradley, to publisher Buster Books and my lovely agent Anne Clark. All are a part of winning this prize.”

Illustrator, Jess Bradley said:

“As someone who grew up watching Blue Peter, this is the MOST exciting award to win, so a massive thank you to all of the readers who voted for us. I had so much fun drawing everything from poos to gnus, and I’m really happy to know that so many children enjoyed reading about them!”

Read our review of A Day In The Life Of A Poo, A Gnu And You

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Managed by BookTrust, the UK’s largest children’s reading charity, 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 200 children from 12 schools across the UK.

Diana Gerald, CEO, BookTrust commented:

“Every year without fail, the Blue Peter Book Awards showcase the exceptional talent in the world of children's books and this year is no different. These fantastic books will help children to be inspired, creative, confident and encourage different ways of thinking. As always with the judging, it was a very close call, but Elle, Mike and Jess triumphed. Congratulations to the very deserving winners.”

On Thursday 4th March, Elle Mike and Jess will all be guests in the special World Book Day edition of Blue Peter on CBBC and BBC iPlayer from 5pm.  

Blue Peter Editor, Ellen Evans, says:

"The Blue Peter Book Awards give kids the opportunity to vote for their favourite books and it’s fantastic to hear them talk about reading for fun. The two winners are brilliant books. I hope Elle McNicoll’s A Kind of Spark will inspire kids to find their own voice, like Addie, and to stand up for what they believe in. Mike Barfield and Jess Bradley’s A Day in the Life of a Poo, a Gnu and You, is so visual and fun, that young readers will love discovering all kind of facts about the world they live in, from the secret diary of a slug, to how your heart beats, or why volcanoes explode.”

Download the press release

Blue Peter is live  every Thursday at 5pm on CBBC and BBC iPlayer.

Keep up-to-date with the Awards at www.booktrust.org.uk/bluepeter and on Twitter by following @Booktrust and #BPBA