Southern School Book Award
The Southern Schools Book Award is a prestigious and exciting opportunity, involving over twenty-five different school across Sussex and Kent and this year Chailey School were lucky enough to be invited again to share in the celebration of books, authors and reading for young people.
Fourteen Year Nine students were specially selected, as avid readers and writers, by the Chailey English department. Shortlisted books were read over the summer holiday and students were then able to engage in fortnightly meetings to discuss, question and enjoy the selection of young adult novels.
The meetings were not only interesting but challenged the students and encouraged them to think critically about the author’s deeper ideas and meanings, and to compare the different levels of literary content that every author managed to excel at.
The books themselves covered issues and ideas directly chosen to interest and stimulate young minds and to expand the students’ capability with challenging topics from human rights, ethics and terminal illness to the extended imaginations of fantasy and adventure themes. There were passionate debates and discussions for six half-hour meetings led by Miss Fenn, until the students voted for their favourite and most engaging book to win the award.
After all the votes were counted from across East Sussex, students from each school attended the presentation evening on 25th January at the beautiful Roedean School in Brighton, where the authors addressed the students with readings, discussions, a question panel and an opportunity to meet each author and have their books signed. As well as this, every student was awarded a free book token to purchase other books from the authors including Lisa Heathfield, who won the Book Award in 2018 and was presenting the evening and has since published several popular young adult novels. The winner this year was Will Hill, with After The Fire: a thought provoking, exciting novel, and a favourite amongst the students of Chailey School. Afterwards, the students had their books signed and were treated with refreshments.
“It was a wonderful opportunity and really fun,” said Chailey pupil Edward Joyce, one of the book club students, who agree that it was a wonderful experience and the skills they developed in discussing the books will benefit them in all areas of the curriculum . Overall, Chailey was privileged to take part in this fantastic experience and hopes to engage many more young readers in the future.
Written by Lucy Joyce