Who will be named children’s favourite author of 2016 at the annual What Kids Are Reading Awards?

At 3pm yesterday, whilst Doris was wreaking havoc across the UK scores of teachers, librarians, authors, publishers and a good helping of Renaissance staff were raising the roof at Sadler’s Wells for the launch of the 9th annual What Kids Are Reading report and 3rd annual awards.

The host with the most…

Best-selling author Chris Bradford entertained and educated the assembled audience with tales of the extensive preparation he undertook when writing his Young Samurai, Ninja and Bodyguard series.

Chris Bradford

And his able assistant…

The entire ceremony was also ‘illustrated’ by Children’s Laureate and winner of the Lifetime Achievement award, the amazing Chris Riddell!

Chris Riddell

The Awards & Winners

Unlike many other awards where winners are often chosen from a shortlist of nominated titles, the What Kids Are Reading Awards is different. When writing the report, Professor Topping also looks at the ratings (1 to 4 stars) awarded by the reader after completing a Renaissance Accelerated Reader quiz on the book they’ve just read.

As such, every Primary and Secondary school pupil using Accelerated Reader over the entire 2015-16 academic year had the opportunity to ‘vote’ on every book they read. All of these ratings were collated and weighted by Professor Topping to identify the single most popular titles among Primary and Secondary pupils.

Most Popular Title – Primary

In this category, the top 10 most popular titles were written by just 4 different authors – and the winner actually had 6 titles in the list, including the top 3 positions.

And the winner is… Harry Potter & the Philospher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling.

Unfortunately, J.K. couldn’t be at the event, so her award was accepted by Helen Ward from Bloomsbury, who publish the Harry Potter series in the UK.

Most Popular Title – Secondary

Again, the top 10 positions were occupied by just 5 different authors, and the winner had the top 2 most popular titles.

And the winner is… Girl Online by Zoe Sugg.

Zoe (a.k.a.) Zoella was unable to collect her award in person, which was accepted on her behalf by Lucie Sharpe from Penguin Random House Children’s Books – but did take the time to record this video message:

Lifetime Achievement

What Kids Are Reading is a celebration of books and reading, and the Lifetime Achievement Award recognises the significant contribution the winner has made towards the promotion of reading for pleasure.

And the winner is… Chris Riddell.

Chris Riddell sketch

Quiz Writers’ Choice

The final category was first introduced at last year’s event, and like the Lifetime Achievement Award, is not based on data from the report, but draws on the skills and experiences of the Content Team at Renaissance UK who read and quiz thousands of books every year.

In alphabetical order, the nominees were:

  • Sara Barnard for Beautiful Broken Things (Macmillan Children’s Books), a YA novel which sensitively tackles the serious topics of abuse and suicide (Upper Years Interest Level)
  • Pamela Butchart for the hilarious Attack of the Demon Dinner Ladies (Nosy Crow). Don’t all junior school pupils suspect their dinner ladies of being demons? (Middle Years Interest Level)
  • Polly Ho-Yen for Where Monsters Lie (Corgi Books), a gripping mystery set in a small village featuring a young girl investigator (Middle Years Plus Interest Level)
  • Alex Wheatle for Crongton Knights (Atom). This sequel to “Liccle Bit” tackles the topics of gangs and life on an estate in modern Britain (Middle Years Plus Interest Level)

And the winner is… Alex Wheatle for Crongton Knights.

Alex Wheatle

Social media from the event