I’ve just finished three days of working with six primary schools in Nottingham which are all involved in something called Mega Reads. Aimed at Year 3s, ‘Mega Reads’ is the consortium of schools’ own mini book award. What happens is the Y3s are given four short-listed titles to choose from and then they decide which one they like best. Simples! In June, all six schools meet for a grand finale which involves a quiz with real buzzers and stuff.
Last year children’s writer Jonny Zucker was invited to launch the event. This year it was lil’ old me.
Children from Whitemoor Primary holding the Mega Reads 2013 books. Other schools involved were Old Basford Primary, Hempshill Hall Primary, Rosslyn Park, Ambleside Primary and Heathfield Primary.
I really enjoyed my role, which wasn’t to talk about my books as much as to give tips about what makes a good read (so I guess, inadvertently, that I was talking about my books – tee-hee). We discussed covers and blurbs and how, although important, they weren’t the key factors.
Key factors as to what makes a great book in my opinion are:
- If you can’t put it down
- You learn something from it
- You can’t wait to see what happens and yet you don’t want it to end
- You have an emotional reaction to it (i.e. it makes you angry, sad, laugh, cry, reflective)
- The language flows
- You remember the story long after you’ve finished it
The problem for the judges occurs if every book on the list ticks every key factor. All four Mega Reads titles are excellent, all four are different, so it will be down to individual taste.
Winnie Goes for Gold by Laura Owens illustrated by Korky Paul is a collection of short stories about the legendary witch
A Boy, A Bear and A Boat written and illustrated by David Shelton is a gentle, quirky, longer read that is guaranteed to enchant. This title has also been short-listed for the Carnegie Medal 2013.
Clone Chaos written and illustrated by Simon Bartram is a further adventure of Bob, the Man on the Moon and his faithful dog Barrie
Class Three All at Sea by Julia Jarman with illustrations by Lynne Chapman is an amusing rhyming picture book in which pirates kidnap the class teacher.
Good luck everyone – writers, illustrators and Y3 judges.
The Y3s at my Patron of Reading school, Ysgol Esgob Morgan, are going to ‘shadow’ the award and vote for their favourite on June 18th, too. I am hoping the children from Nottingham will swap opinions and reviews on Blwyddyn/Class 3’s blog. How’s that for reading initiatives, eh?