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Willow Tree Primary School represents Yorkshire at the Children’s Book Awards.

In June, four lucky children had the amazing opportunity to represent the Harrogate Book Group at the Children’s Book Awards, the only national book award based solely on votes from children.

As one of nearly 30 book groups across the country, the Harrogate Book Group has been busy reviewing books for the awards so having the chance to attend the actual event was a fantastic experience for the children.

Despite the early morning start, the children were incredibly excited to catch the first train down to London accompanied by two teachers from Willow Tree and they all arrived at the event full of enthusiasm. After being given the chance to buy books from the shortlisted authors, the children got to share a table with Lisa Thompson, author of The Goldish Boy and the Light Jar and then meet a number of other authors and illustrators including Tom Palmer, Catherine Doyle, Vashti Hardy, Alex T Smith and Arree Chung. They were also lucky enough to get wonderful portraits drawn by author and illustrator Sarah Mcintyre.

As part of the book group’s work each is tasked with producing a collection of works inspired by the book of a short-listed author. Harrogate Book Group were responsible for giving Duncan Beedie his portfolio which had been carefully collated by the Chair of the Group, Fiona Brady. Duncan was clearly extremely grateful and incredibly impressed by the work and effort that had gone into it.

Once the portfolios were awarded it was time for the main awards where the overall winner was announced as Arree Chung for his book Mixed, a compelling story about colour, tolerance and embracing differences.   

Year 4 teacher, Mr Strzeszewski commented "The day was so inspirational for the students of Willow Tree Primary School. It was wonderful to see the authors and illustrators speak so freely about their works and engaging with the children throughout the day. Reading for pleasure is such a vital part of a child's education and organisations such as 'The Federation of Children's Book Groups' help to foster and harness this love for reading."

An unforgettable day for all involved, Year 6 pupil Scarlett’s enthused "It was amazing to represent our school at the Children's Book Awards. The authors and illustrators were so welcoming and friendly - they inspired me to write more and showed me that anyone can write if they try."