Blue Peter Book Awards 2020

Real life tales of extraordinary children and a fantastical world of captivating inventiveness took the top spots in 2020, with Rise Up and Wildspark voted for by over 500 children.

The judging panel was made up of writer Meryl Fernandes, Joseph Coelho and Jean Menzies

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...

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The Best Story: Wildspark by Vashti Hardy


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The Best Book with Facts: Rise Up: Ordinary Kids With Extraordinary Stories by Amanda Li and Amy Blackwell

Rise Up

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Blue Peter Book Awards 2020: Best Story

Shortlisted books

Owen and the Soldier

Author: Lisa Thompson Illustrator: Mike Lowery

A beautiful tale of a courageous young man who overcomes his fears when he finds an unlikely companion in a park statue. Complex ideas of young carers, social anxiety and remembrance are sensitively weaved into a light and accessible story.

Read more about Owen and the Soldier

Vote for Effie

Author: Laura Wood

Laura Wood brings us a contemporary book for fierce pre-teens who want to make the world a better place. Effie's aims to make her new school a more inclusive space will encourage everyone to fulfil their potential. 

Read more about Vote for Effie


Author: Vashti Hardy

In a world where the spirits of dead people can be harnessed and given new life in mechanical animals, Prue takes on her late brother's apprenticeship in an effort to bring him back. A riotously enjoyable tale mixing fantasy, school stories, science fiction and big questions about life and death.

Read more about Wildspark

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Longlisted books in this category:

Blue Peter Book Awards 2020: Best Book with Facts

Shortlisted books

Fanatical About Frogs

Author: Owen Davey

The fifth in Owen Davey’s wonderful non-fiction series about animals adds frogs to the ranks of clear, fascinating reads, accompanied by truly amazing graphic illustration and just the right level of information to inspire all primary school kids. 

Read more about Fanatical About Frogs

How To Be An Astronaut and Other Space Jobs

Author: Dr Sheila Kanani & Sol Linero

Lots of children think they might like to be an astronaut, but what other jobs could one do and still be involved in space exploration and study? Complete with a press-out model rocket to build and pages of stickers to play with, this is an original and inspiring read.

Read more about How To Be An Astronaut and Other Space Jobs

Rise Up: Ordinary Kids with Extraordinary Stories

Author: Amanda Li Illustrator: Amy Blackwell designed by Kim Hankinson and Jack Clucas

A fantastic and inspiring book, sharing the stories of normal kids from across the world and their amazing achievements. After the biographical information, there are interesting suggestions for activities based on that child’s message or passion.

Read more about Rise Up: Ordinary Kids with Extraordinary Stories

Check out fun features on the books

Longlisted books in this category:

Who judged the 2020 shortlist?

Meet our judges, who selected a shortlist from the longlist which was handed over for the difficult task of picking the two winners to schoolchildren around the country.

Meryl Fernandes
 TV presenter and actress 

Young entrepreneur Meryl Fernandes is a stage and screen actress, a business woman and most notably an exciting new presenter who narrowly escaped life as a microbiologist. Best known for playing Afia in Eastenders, she has also performed at The National Theatre in critically acclaimed plays, and her other television credits include Doctor Who,  Demons and Minder.


Joseph Coelho
Poet, playwright and children’s author

Joseph Coelho is a poet and children’s author. His debut poetry collection Werewolf Club Rules was the winner of the 2015 CLiPPA Poetry Award and his next collection Overheard In A Tower Block was longlisted for the 2018 CILIP Carnegie Medal and shortlisted for the 2018 CLiPPA Poetry Award. His debut non-fiction book How To Write Poems contains a host of tips and tricks to help engage children with poetry. As well as poetry, Joseph also writes picture books. As a playwright, Joseph has written plays for companies including Soho Theatre, Polka Theatre, Theatre Royal York, Oily Cart, The Spark Children's Festival, Islington Community Theatre, and Pied Piper Theatre Company. 

Jean Menzies
Ancient historian, podcaster and video maker

While conducting her PhD research at the University of Roehampton, Jean Menzies is also passionate about promoting classical mythology and ancient history to a wider audience. She has a background in publishing and makes a wide variety of online content exploring education, history, and literature.


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