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BASH proves a hit with young book lovers

Bookworms from primary and secondary schools across the borough have been hard at it over the past few months, deciding on their favourite reads of the year.


Article date: 29 March 2022

As part of St Helens Schools Library Service's BASH (Book Awards St Helens) - an annual reading for pleasure scheme where children and young people are encouraged to read the latest, modern and enticing fiction written specially for them - pupils have been busy taking part in library workshops to agree on which book should be crowned number one from a short-list of nominations in their age category.

Celebration events, held at Chester Lane Library, saw winning titles announced by prominent children's authors, with Mayor of St Helens Borough, Sue Murphy, among those in attendance.

Author and illustrator, Liz Million - who held fun illustration workshops with local primary school BASH participants - was on hand to announce 'King of the Swamp' written by Catherine Emmett and illustrated by Ben Mantle, as the winner of the BASH 5+ award - while Hannah Gold's 'The Last Bear' was given the nod in the 9+ category.

Special guest for the 11+ event was Manchester author Martin Griffin who delivered a masterclass in how to start to write your own story - as well as some very clever tips and tricks.

Martin - who specialises in sci-fi and fantasy adventures for young readers - declared 'EverNight' by Ross Mackenzie as the winner of the 11+ category.

Awards were also given for the best 5+ colouring in competition, as well as best book reviews for 9+ and 11+ with winners receiving a set of the shortlisted books as prizes.

Congratulating pupils for their efforts this year, Councillor Sue Murphy, Mayor of St Helens Borough, said:

"It's wonderful to see so many young people from the borough get involved in BASH to share their valued opinions on books, and I'd like to thank them for their important input.

"Reading is such a wonderful gift which has the ability to spark creativity and broaden learning and St Helens Library Service is committed through a number of initiatives like this to ensure young people have the opportunity to keep on reading."

All books featured on the BASH shortlists are available to borrow from your local library, with selected titles available online.

BASH is available to all schools that subscribe to the Schools Library Service. For more information, contact Kathryn Boothroyd by calling 01744 677486, or email