• @teacher_mr_r

#BookBlether Awards

Well the first Sunday of the new year seems like a good time to announce the winners of the #SundayMorningBookBlether Awards for 2020. This has been quite an undertaking and when it was suggested that I do some end of year awards around a month ago I didn't realise quite what it would entail or how much work it would involve, but here they are.


There are less categories than I originally intended (which is down to the amount of time they all took) and two of the categories have been decided basically by me counting up the amount of mentions on the #SundayMorningBookBlether thread but the real aim of this is to celebrate some of the wonderful writers who have brought joy to our lives by writing fantastic books. It is interesting, though not at all surprising that the writers that tend to dominate supermarket shelves did not get a mention or nomination by anyone who took part.


I will start first with the two awards that had additional posts and voting: the hidden gems award and the non fiction award. I had intended on doing a poetry award as well but ran out of time. These two are particularly close to my heart as they are the books that don't tend to get as much promotion and they deserve it. If you haven't already, please take a look at the associated posts for these, there are some absolutely cracking books here that you need to know about.


The Hidden Gems Award


This award has been split into 2 sub categories as there were so many books of such a wide range that I split it into Middle Grade and Young Adult books.


The winner of the Hidden Gems award for Middle Grade book is:



The God of Small Boys by Joseph Lamb


Here's a bit about it:

Some summers were made for growing up…

Dundee, 1917. When his father goes to fight in the war, 11-year-old James is sent to live with his mill-town relatives and his cousin, Billy. In this unfamiliar world of poverty, bullying, and uncertainty, James fights to be accepted and learns the true value of friendship and family.

‘The God of All Small Boys is the one who grows trees, with branches in just the right places, so we can climb right to the top. He invented fireworks and dogs and sticks and horses and muddy puddles. And he lets us find secret places… like this!’


If you click on the book title it will take you to the publishers website where you can buy the book. It's published by Cranachan Publishing which is an independent publisher. If you are going to get the book please consider getting it from them or an independent book shop rather than a large online retailer-it helps keep them in business and able to continue producing fantastic books.


Honourable mentions


There were so many great books in this category but The God of Small Boys was a clear winner in terms of votes. Here is the rest of the top 5 which all deserve an extra mention.



Orion Lost by Alistair Chisholm

The House of One Hundred Clocks by A.M.Howell

Saturdays at the Imaginarium by Shauna Darling Robertson

The Garden of Lost Secrets by A.M. Howell


So a Sci Fi book, 2 Historical Fiction books by the same author and a poetry collection-what a perfect group of books to bring up the top 5!


The Hidden Gems award for Young Adult Book is:



The Great Godden by Meg Rosoff


Here's a bit about it:


This is the story of one family, one dreamy summer – the summer when everything changes. In a holiday house by the sea, in a big, messy family, one teenager watches as brothers and sisters, parents and older cousins fill hot days with wine and games and planning a wedding.


Enter the Goddens – irresistible, charming, languidly sexy Kit and surly, silent Hugo. Suddenly there's a serpent in this paradise – and the consequences will be devastating.


From bestselling, award-winning author Meg Rosoff comes a lyrical and quintessential coming-of-age tale – a summer book that's as heady, timeless and irresistible as Bonjour Tristesse and I Capture the Castle but as sharp and fresh as Normal People.


Again, if you click on the name it will take you to a link for the publisher where you can buy the book should you wish to.


The Non Fiction Award


The original list of nominations for this category was so large I had to do a long list vote so I could round down to a short list. There are so many brilliant non-fiction books around for children but the one that got the most votes from the short list is:



A day in the life of a Poo, a Gnu and You by Mike Barfield.


Here's a bit about it:


If you've ever wanted to know what a panda does all day long, how your heart manages to shift all that blood around your body or what makes a rainbow shine, you've come to the right book.


A Day in the Life of a Poo, a Gnu and You features the answers to all of these questions and many more, all told in a super-fun comic book format in three awesome sections: Human Body, Animal Kingdom and Earth and Science. A Day in the Life... is packed with facts, laughs and amazing illustrations you can dive into all day long.


Meet your grumpy liver that has to do practically EVERYTHING; your trusty hands that are very, well, handy; the spiky porcupines ready to charge; lonely Mars rovers abandoned on the Red Planet; raging tornadoes ready to rip through the pages of the book and bubbly volcanoes ready to blow.


Honourable mentions


This was a very close category and these books were close behind the winner:












Black and British by David Olusoga

I am not a label by Cerrie Burnell

The Britannica Children's Encyclopaedia by Christopher Lloyd

The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander

Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly


Another group of fantastic books!


And now onto the categories that were decided by counting the number of mentions and nominations when I asked for them on Twitter. There is the 'Future Classic' award and 'Book of the Year' award (or book enjoyed by the most people).


The Future Classic Award


When I asked for nominations for this category I was overwhelmed yet again by the amount (I never get over the passion and enthusiasm of the Twitter book community). There was some discussion on what constituted a 'future classic' and what would already be considered a classic (I decided to consider books that have been published in the last 5 years for future classics) as well as a discussion into what books have longevity-is it the best books or just the most popular because they are heavily promoted and passed on through generations? Well based on the mentions and nominations, here are the most popular books considered as 'Future Classics':



Number 1: The Midnight Guardians by Ross Montgomery.

This has been a very popular book since it was published in October and there has been a lot of deserved hype about it. I think this is a worthy winner of the Future Classics award.


When Col's childhood imaginary friends come to life, he discovers a world where myths and legends are real. Accompanied by his guardians - a six-foot tiger, a badger in a waistcoat and a miniature knight - Col must race to Blitz-bombed London to save his sister.

But there are darker forces at work, even than the Nazi bombings. Soon Col is pursued by the terrifying Midwinter King, who is determined to bring an eternal darkness down over everything.



Honourable mentions


Coming close behind the winner are these fabulous books:




Orphans of the Tide by Struan Murray

The House with Chicken Legs by Sophie Anderson

Crater Lake by Jennifer Killick

The Skylarks War by Hilary McKay


All fabulous books that I really hope will become classics in the future. It is interesting that two of the books were not published in 2020 but are older, which gives hope for their lasting appeal. I also need to mention that all of Sophie Andersons books got nominations and there was an amazing array of talented writers who were mentioned.


Here is the thread should you wish to see more:




The most popular book of the year award


For this award I simply asked people to tell me what book they had enjoyed most this year (although most people struggled to stick to just one book!). Based on what was mentioned most here are the most popular books read last year:



Number 1: Orphans of the Tide by Struan Murray.


This book had so many mentions, and I can understand why. It was my top read of last year as well (although I didn't fix the vote!)


The breathtaking fantasy adventure for fans of His Dark Materials that The Times calls 'Unputdownable'.

The City was built on a sharp mountain that jutted improbably from the sea, and the sea kept trying to claim it back. That grey morning, once the tide had retreated, a whale was found on a rooftop.


When a mysterious boy washes in with the tide, the citizens believe he's the Enemy - the god who drowned the world - come again to cause untold chaos.


Only Ellie, a fearless young inventor living in a workshop crammed with curiosities, believes he's innocent.


But the Enemy can take possession of any human body and the ruthless Inquisition are determined to destroy it forever.


To save the boy, Ellie must prove who he really is - even if that means revealing her own dangerous secret . . .


Honourable mentions


These books also got plenty of mentions and were very close behind in the voting:





October, October by Katya Balen

Crater Lake by Jennifer Killick

A Kind of Spark by Elle McNicholl

Orion Lost by Alistair Chisholm

The House with Chicken Legs by Sophie Anderson

The Midnight Guardians by Ross Montgomery


Again all of Sophie Anderson's books got a mention and The Girl Who Speaks Bear and The House of Tangled Magic were the next most popular books along with The Haunting of Aveline Jones by Phil Hickes and The Ghost of Gosswater by Lucy Strange. There was a wide range of mentions of fantastic books including two of Onjali Q Rauf's books: The boy at the back of the class and the star outside my window. Here is the thread should you wish to see more:



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