Announcing the 2022 Quiz Writers’ Choice Awards Winners!

By Chris Jarosh

On 28th April, we held the launch party for our 14th What Kids Are Reading report, which included the awards ceremony for our Quiz Writers’ Choice Awards! In this blog, we’ll share more about this year’s report and reveal this year’s winners too. Plus, hear from the winners themselves about what winning means to them!

Accelerated Reader and What Kids Are Reading

Our reading practice programme Accelerated Reader is used by over a million students in the UK and Ireland to track and improve their reading. Between them, these students take over 20 million reading comprehension quizzes on the platform every year! By looking at the quizzes that are taken, where, when, and by whom, we can build up a pretty good picture of the nations’ reading habits. This data is part of what we use to form our What Kids Are Reading report: the largest annual study of the reading habits and trends of students across the UK and Ireland!

One thing we look at in the report is which quizzes have been taken the most – giving us our ‘Most Read’ book lists – and which books have been rated the highest, giving us our ‘Most Popular’ book lists. And as you can imagine, these lists are quite predictable! J. K. Rowling? Yep. Jeff Kinney? Ah, there he is – again. Don’t get us wrong: there’s nothing necessarily wrong with children choosing these books. But it’s just that there are so many other great children’s books out there. Which is how the Quiz Writers’ Choice Awards were born…

The Quiz Writers’ Choice Awards

Our team of Accelerated Reader quiz writers are behind the 40,000 book quizzes on Accelerated Reader (AR). Every single new quiz that’s added to AR goes through them – and the first step for each one is reading the book.

The team add around 2,000 new quizzes to AR every year – that’s 40 a week! And it’s a pretty diverse selection: from picture books to hard-hitting young adult fiction, graphic novels to fascinating biographies and non-fiction. Basically, the Quiz Writing Team know what they’re talking about when it comes to children’s books! And that’s where the Quiz Writers’ Choice Awards came from: we wanted a chance to celebrate the books that our Quiz Writing Team thought were fantastic, but never appeared in the report because they weren’t as well-known or as widely read.

As ever, this year we had shortlists for Primary and Secondary, Fiction and Non-Fiction books. But, our Quiz Writers said, that’s not enough! The team wanted a way to recognise new voices in children’s literature this year, and so, we added a fifth category: Best Debut!

The Celebration

We invited all of the authors and publishers who made this year’s shortlist to our awards ceremony on 28th April. It was taking place in Glazier’s Hall, London Bridge, and we were very lucky to have author, illustrator and previous Quiz Writers’ Choice Award winner Sav Akyuz as our host this year! Sav did a fantastic job captivating the crowd as he told a story of a young boy’s reading journey – and illustrated it live as he went. Watch the full thing below!

Then it was time to announce the winners!

And the Winner Is…
Primary Fiction

The 2022 Quiz Writers’ Choice Award for Primary Fiction goes to My Hair by Hannah Lee and illustrated by Allen Fatimaharan, published by Faber & Faber.

Lower Years (age 5-8) | AR Quiz: #238736 | Book Level: 3.3

Our Quiz Writers said: “My Hair is a stunning picture book that can help promote self-love in children who might feel different to their peers. The rhyming text and endearing illustrations make this book a lot of fun! I can really imagine this book being read and enjoyed in a classroom setting.”

Watch Hannah’s acceptance speech below!

Secondary Fiction

The 2022 Quiz Writers’ Choice Award for Secondary Fiction goes to Run, Rebel by Manjeet Mann, published by Penguin.

Upper Years (age 14+) | AR Quiz: #239817 | Book Level: 3.7

Our Quiz Writers said: “Run, Rebel was my absolute favourite book I read that year for work! This is an empowering, feminist novel that left me in tears, but feeling hopeful.”

Unfortunately Manjeet was unable to make it to the ceremony, but she did record a short acceptance video for us – thanks, Manjeet! Watch it below.

Primary Non-Fiction

The 2022 Quiz Writers’ Choice Award for Primary Non-Fiction goes to To Liberty! by Catherine Johnson and illustrated by Rachel Sanson, published by Bloomsbury.

Middle Years (age 9-13) | AR Quiz: #238807 | Book Level: 4.9

Our Quiz Writers said: “To Liberty has all the elements of a classic adventure story, but it’s all the more incredible for being true! This book will inspire readers to find out more about the life of Alexandre Dumas.”

Secondary Non-Fiction

The 2022 Quiz Writers’ Choice Award for Secondary Non-Fiction goes to The Art of Drag by Jake Hall and illustrated by Sofie Birkin, Helen Li and Jasjyot Singh Hans, published by Nobrow.

Upper Years (age 14+) | AR Quiz: #240537 | Book Level: 9.1

Our Quiz Writers said: “This book is a love letter to drag! Drag from across the world, spanning the spectrum of gender identity, is celebrated and explored. It’s impossible not to feel inspired by the artists and history brought to life in the gorgeous illustrations and text.”

Unfortunately Jake was unable to make it to the ceremony, but they did record a short acceptance video for us, and we also heard from Zoe from Nobrow at the ceremony too. Watch them both below!

Best Debut

The 2022 Quiz Writers’ Choice Award for Best Debut goes to Mina and the Undead by Amy McCaw, published by UCLan.

Upper Years (age 14+) | AR Quiz: #240543 | Book Level: 5.0

Our Quiz Writers said: “This is a vampire murder mystery that will grip you until the very last page! With its nostalgic references and fresh take on our expectations of the genre, this book is a treat for horror fans old and new.”

Watch Amy’s acceptance speech below!

What a Day!

Huge thank you to everyone who came along to celebrate the launch of our 2022 What Kids Are Reading report and Quiz Writers’ Choice Awards celebrations. Don’t forget that you can download the report for free!

What did you think of the winners? Which books have you read in the last year that you loved? Tweet us and let us know!

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