Blue Peter Book Awards 2019

The vibrant history of colour and the loving tale of a refugee boy's new life in London took the top spots in 2019, with The Colours of History and The Boy at the Back of the Class voted for by over 500 children.

The judging panel was made up of writer Ewan Vinnicombe, Darren Chetty, Louise Pentland and Alex T Smith.

Although the judges chose the shortlist, the winning titles were selected by hundreds of children from 12 schools across the UK. They read the shortlisted books and voted for their favourite in each category...

Get updates on this year's Blue Peter Book Awards

For more information, you can also follow @BookTrust on Twitter and visit the official Blue Peter website.

Blue Peter Book Awards 2019 - Best Story

Winner: The Boy at the Back of the Class

By Onjali Rauf, Orion Children's Books

Boy at the Back of the Class book jacket

The Blue Peter Book Award for Best Story 2019 was The Boy at the Back of the ClassOnjali Rauf's first book tells the story of how one ordinary nine-year-old child and three classmates are full of empathy for Ahmet (the boy at the back of the class), who comes to their school as a refugee from Syria. Through their sensitivity, curiosity, ingenuity, bravery and innocent niceness, they make a massive impact on Ahmet's life, friends, class, school, community and wider world.

Discussing the award, Onjali 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.'

Onjali Rauf on how to create a new world from the one you live in right now...

Shortlisted books

The Clockwork Crow

Author: Catherine Fisher

Orphan Seren Rhys has been sent to live with her mysterious Godfather after living for 12 years in an orphanage. The possibility of her first happy family Christmas seems like it might finally be within her reach.

On her solo journey to Wales, Seren is given a mysterious package to look after by a stranger and ends up feeling obliged to take it with her. But…

Read more about The Clockwork Crow

The House With Chicken Legs

Author: Sophie Anderson

A story of death, magic and the afterlife told by Marinka, who is desperate not to follow in her grandmother’s footsteps and wants to find her own destiny. Loosely based on the Slavic myth of Baba Yaga, this story is delightfully macabre and utterly engrossing.

Read more about The House With Chicken Legs

Catherine Fisher on how to write a fascinating fantasy story

Take Sophie Anderson's quirky quiz!

Longlisted books in this category

Blue Peter Book Awards 2019 - Best Book with Facts

Winner: The Colours of History

By Clive Gifford, illustrated by Marc-Etienne Peintre, QED Publishing

The Colours of History

The Blue Peter Book Award 2019 winner for Best Book with Facts was The Colours of History. Who would have thought a book about colour could be so interesting? Each brightly coloured page brings another shade of colour to life. Using pantone samples, this book teaches us about origins and uses for over 20 different colours to illustrate the history of colour. From red to green to purple, this is a book which covers everything.

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.'

Top ten facts about colour and their role over the centuries

Shortlisted books

Professor Astro Cat’s Human Body Odyssey

Author: Dr. Dominic Walliman Illustrator: Ben Newman

Everyone's favourite cat-astronaut investigates the human body in this beautiful, graphically illustrated look at everything from eyes to muscles, genetics to reproduction and the immune, endocrine and lymphatic systems.

Read more about Professor Astro Cat’s Human Body Odyssey

The Element in the Room: Investigating the Atomic Ingredients that Make Up Your Home

Author: Mike Barfield Illustrator: Lauren Humphrey

Professor Ohms, a scientific detective, takes you on a journey of discovery around the periodic table. Packed with many weird and wonderful facts, it's perfect for any aspiring scientists (or detectives!). 

Read more about The Element in the Room: Investigating the Atomic Ingredients that Make Up Your Home


The winners for the Blue Peter Book Awards were chosen by schoolchildren across the UK, who selected their two favourites from the shortlist put together by our judges (see below). The winning book from each category was annouced on World Book Day 2019: Thursday, 7 March. 

Ewan VinnicombeEwan Vinnicombe
Editor, Blue Peter

Ewan Vinnicombe has been Blue Peter Editor since 2013. Ewan is also the Head of Presentation for CBeebies and CBBC and, in his 17 years at the BBC, has worked on shows including Record Breakers, The Saturday Show and Live & Kicking.

Darren Chetty
Teacher, writer and researcher

Darren Chetty has published academic work on philosophy, education, racism, children’s literature and hip-hop culture. He is a contributor to the bestselling book The Good Immigrant, edited by Nikesh Shukla and published by Unbound. Darren is co-author, with Jeffrey Boakye, of the forthcoming What Is Masculinity? Why Does It Matter? And Other Big Questions, published by Wayland. Darren tweets at @rapclassroom.   

Louise Pentland
Author, parenting, lifestyle and beauty blogger and vlogger

Louise Pentland's two YouTube channels have amassed over 3.7 million subscribers. In 2015, Louise released her debut non-fiction book, which became a Sunday Times Number 1 Bestseller. In 2017, Louise turned her hand to fiction writing with the release of her debut novel, Wilde Like Me, which also became a Sunday Times Number 1 Bestseller. And the follow-up, Wilde About the Girl, which was published in August 2018, also went straight into the charts as a top 5 bestseller.

Alex T Smith

Alex T Smith is the award-winning creator of the bestselling Claude series, which is published in 16 languages worldwide, and is now a TV show on Disney Junior. Alex's newest series, Mr Penguin, launched in 2017 to widespread praise. Alex's quirky, witty writing and illustrations are instantly recognisable, critically acclaimed and as popular with adults as children. Alex is also widely praised for his work illustrating children's classics. Alex has won the UKLA Picture Book Award and the Sainsbury's Children's Book Award, and been shortlisted for the Waterstones Children's Book Award. He has also been the official World Book Day illustrator.


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