Aspiring comedians, polar bears and animal inventors make the line-up as we reveal the 2022 Blue Peter Book Awards contenders

Published on: 11 November 2021

Here are the six shortlisted titles for the influential 2022 Blue Peter Book Awards, designed to celebrate amazing authors, imaginative illustrators and the greatest reads for primary school-aged children published in the last 12 months.

This year, meet animal inventors changing the world, take a trip to Bear Island, or spend 24 hours in the Stone Age with the books shortlisted for the 2022 Blue Peter Book Awards.

The shortlist includes some unforgettable characters, including: Danny Chung and his grandmother from China; Billy Plimpton, who won’t let his stammer stop him from becoming a comedian; and April, who befriends a polar bear a long way from home.

In the Best Books with Facts category, there is so much to learn, from which animals invented the best swimming costumes, to finding out about all of the ‘Good News’ out there in the world – from life-saving robots to trees that help heal the planet.

All the books on this year’s shortlist are aimed at children aged between 6 and 12, a vital time when children discover which books they like and build their own independent reading habits.

Competing for the chance to be crowned Best Story are:

  • Danny Chung Does Not Do Maths by Maisie Chan, illustrated by Anh Cao (Piccadilly Press)
  • The Boy Who Made Everyone Laugh by Helen Rutter (Scholastic Children’s Books)
  • The Last Bear by Hannah Gold, illustrated by Levi Pinfold (HarperCollins Children’s Books)

The Best Book with Facts titles are:

  • 24 Hours in the Stone Age by Lan Cook, illustrated by Laurent Kling (Usborne)
  • Good News by Rashmi Sirdeshpande, illustrated by Adam Hayes (Wren & Rook)
  • Invented by Animals by Christiane Dorion, illustrated by Gosia Herba (Wide Eyed Editions)

Judged by a panel of experts who have whittled down a longlist to three books for each category, the final winners will be chosen by more than 300 school children across the country.

'One of the most special book prizes in the UK'

On being shortlisted for the Blue Peter Book Award, Hannah Gold, author of The Last Bear, said:

'Growing up, I distinctly remember being glued to Blue Peter, so it gives me immense pride and joy to know that my own book, featuring a rather large and magnificent animal, is now shortlisted for one of the most special book prizes in the UK to be voted for by children. In a time of unprecedented and frightening change facing our planet, we need children's books which offer hope for our future and receiving this kind of honour means Bear's message can be roared far and wide. And for that, I am incredibly grateful. Not just for me, but on behalf of all the wild polar bears everywhere.'

Commenting on what inspired her to write Good News, Rashmi Sirdeshpande said:

'I grew up loving comics, picture books, puzzle books and fact books. Anything that sparked that WOW feeling inside me. Anything that carried me away! Because books are the cheapest ticket to absolutely everywhere – real and fantastical. And I love that today especially, there really is something for everyone out there. I wrote Good News to give young readers the facts about the biggest challenges we face on this planet but also the facts about how far we've come already, how much amazing work is being done, and how we have so many reasons to be hopeful about the future. Good News is the hardest, truest, most important thing I've ever written and to see it shortlisted for this incredible award means everything to me.'

Diana Gerald, CEO, BookTrust said:

'Congratulations to all of this year’s shortlisted authors and illustrators for creating an incredible selection of books filled with funny and heart-warming stories and awe-inspiring facts. Books provide such an opportunity to touch on important topics that children are interested in, whether it is spotting misinformation, diversity or climate change, and bringing these issues to life in a fun, engaging and entertaining way. At an age when children are starting to grow and develop their interests, the Blue Peter Book Awards play an important role in showing children, families and teachers that there is a book out there to grab the attention of every child, no matter what their interests, and inspire even the most reluctant of readers to pick up a book.'

Blue Peter Editor Ellen Evans said:

'The BBC Blue Peter Book Awards celebrate the very best new kids’ books. The 2022 shortlist features three outstanding books with facts and three amazing stories. The shortlisted books are inclusive, funny, and about topics that kids care about. Now, over 300 kids take charge to read and review the books and pick the winners.'

Two winners revealed in 2022

The awards are rigorously judged by school children across the country. This year, over 1,000 schools applied to be a part of the judging process. The winning titles, voted for by over 300 children from 12 schools across the UK, will be revealed live on Blue Peter in Spring 2022, with the winning authors and illustrators appearing on the special awards episode of the show.

Download the press release (PDF, 2MB)

Find out more about the Blue Peter Book Awards, including past winners