Announcing our 2022 Quiz Writers’ Choice Awards Shortlists!

By Ruth Atkinson

The shortlist for the 2022 What Kids Are Reading Quiz Writers’ Choice Awards is finally here!

The Quiz Writers’ Choice Awards are held every year alongside the release of our What Kids Are Reading report. The report highlights the books that have been read the most by children in the UK and Ireland, which is fantastic, but actually – some of the books that we love the most don’t end up in the report, because not enough people know about them. The Quiz Writers’ Choice Awards are a chance for us to celebrate the books that our Quiz Writing team read and liked the best. All of the books on the shortlists are ones we read and quizzed in the last year.

With the launch of the What Kids Are Reading 2022 report fast approaching on 28th April, we thought it was time for us to announce this year’s Quiz Writers’ Choice Awards shortlists! As ever, we have shortlists for Primary and Secondary, Fiction and Non-Fiction books. But this year we also have a new category – Best Debut! We think it’s so important to recognise new voices in children’s literature and this category is the perfect way for us to do that.

We say this every year, but honestly: choosing the books to feature on these lists was so difficult. Every single one of these books is worthy of praise and we’d love to see these books more widely read and enjoyed in schools. Please do consider getting copies of these books for your school library if you can!

And don’t forget – you can click here to pre-order the report ready for its launch on 28th April, and click here if you’d like to join our launch event, where we’ll also be announcing the Quiz Writers’ Choice Awards winners!

The Primary Fiction Shortlist

The Shark Caller by Zillah Bethell
Published by Usborne
Middle Years (age 9-13) | AR Quiz: #240174 | Book Level: 3.8
Quiz Writer Lee says: “This book ties in themes of friendship, love, grief, acceptance and revenge.”

Boot by Shane Hegarty, illustrated by Ben Mantle
Published by Hodder
Middle Years (age 9-13) | AR Quiz: #240507 | Book Level: 4.7
Quiz Writer Krista says: “This is a wholesome tale about found families and discovering your true self.”

My Hair by Hannah Lee, illustrated by Allen Fatimaharan
Published by Faber & Faber
Lower Years (age 5-8) | AR Quiz: #238736 | Book Level: 3.3
Quiz Writer Kerry says: “My Hair is a stunning picture book that help promote self-love in children who might feel different to their peers. I can really imagine this book being read and enjoyed in a classroom setting.”

Llama Out Loud by Annabelle Sami, illustrated by Allen Fatimaharan
Published by Farshore
Middle Years (age 9-13) | AR Quiz: #238760 | Book Level: 4.8
Quiz Writer Krista says: “Levi the llama is a brilliant character! He certainly causes a lot of trouble, but he’s the sort of fun-loving llama we all need in our lives.”

An image showing the covers of the four books on the Primary Fiction shortlist.

 

The Primary Non-Fiction Shortlist

Find the Spy by Zoe Armstrong, illustrated by Shelly Laslo
Published by Puffin
Lower Years (age 5-8) | AR Quiz: #238756 | Book Level: 5.8
Quiz Writer Lee says: “Find the Spy takes you on a journey to discover the true stories of eight fascinating spies – and budding spies can learn skills such as the art of disguise and coding secret messages.”

The Celts by John Farrelly
Published by O’Brien Press
Middle Years (age 9-13) | AR Quiz: #238698 | Book Level: 6.2
Managing Editor Cecelia says: “If ever there was a book that shows history isn’t boring, this is it! It’s filled with fascinating, sometimes gruesome, often humorous tales, and these are supported by brilliant illustrations.”

To Liberty! by Catherine Johnson, illustrated by Rachel Sanson
Published by Bloomsbury
Middle Years (age 9-13) | AR Quiz: #238807 | Book Level: 4.9
Quiz Writer Peter says: “To Liberty! has all the elements of a classic adventure story, and it’s all the more incredible for being true!”

The Secret Life of Spies by Michael Noble, illustrated by Alexander Mostov
Published by Wide Eyed Editions
Middle Years (age 9-13) | AR Quiz: #239230 | Book Level: 7.2
Quiz Writer Krista says: “Woven in with first-person tales of intrigue and deception are sidebars with information on everything an aspiring spy needs to know. The compelling biographies are brought to life with vibrant illustrations.”

An image showing the covers of the four books on the Primary Non-Fiction shortlist

The Secondary Fiction Shortlist

Sasha Masha by Agnes Borinsky
Published by Square Fish
Upper Years (age 14+) | AR Quiz: #240699 | Book Level: 4.4
Quiz Writer Laura says: “Sasha Masha is a coming-of-age story that explores gender, sexuality and relationships while reassuring the reader that they don’t have to rigidly define themselves and that it’s okay to be on a journey of self-discovery.”

Run, Rebel by Manjeet Mann
Published by Penguin
Upper Years (age 14+) | AR Quiz: #239817 | Book Level: 3.7
Quiz Writer Kerry says: “In Run Rebel, the only time Amber really feels free is when she’s running, which her father forbids her to do. Running becomes her own quiet way of rebelling. I absolutely love novels told in verse and this one is gut-wrenchingly realistic.”

The Falling in Love Montage by Ciara Smith
Published by Andersen Press
Upper Years (age 14+) | AR Quiz: #239667 | Book Level: 5.2
Quiz Writer Liz says: “The Falling in Love Montage is a really fantastic romantic book to get lost in, especially for rom-com fans!”

Windrush Child by Benjamin Zephaniah
Published by Scholastic
Middle Years Plus (age 12+) | AR Quiz: #239425 | Book Level: 4.8

Quiz Writer Kerry says: “In Windrush Child the author gives us a glimpse into the life of a child of the windrush generation, Leonard, who comes to England with his mum. Although Leonard faces racism in many forms, these chapters are handled sensitively and this is a great book for starting conversations among young people.”

An image showing the covers of the four books on the Secondary Fiction shortlist

The Secondary Non-Fiction Shortlist

Noor-un-Nissa Inayat Khan by Sufiya Ahmed
Published by Scholastic
Middle Years Plus (age 12+) | AR Quiz: #239170 | Book Level: 5.2
Quiz Writer Peter says: “Noor-un-Nissa Inayat Khan brings to life the eponymous British-Indian princess who became a spy in France during the Second World War. It leaves the reader in awe of Noor’s courage and convictions.”

The Art of Drag by Jake Hall, illustrated by Sofie Birkin, Helen Li and Jasjyot Singh Hans
Published by Nobrow
Upper Years (age 14+) | AR Quiz: #240537 | Book Level: 9.1
Quiz Writer Krista says: “This book is a love letter to drag! It dives into the history of the art form, from its earliest iteration to the stars we see on our television screens today. It’s impossible to not feel inspired by the artists and history brought to life in the gorgeous illustrations and text.”

Amazons, Abolitionists, and Activists by Mikki Kendall, illustrated by A. D’Amico
Published by Ten Speed Press
Upper Years (age 14+) | AR Quiz: #240559 | Book Level: 7.5
Quiz Writer Lee says: “This is a fascinating graphic-novel style book that covers key events and figures that have advanced women’s rights throughout history.”

The Royal Rebel by Bali Rai, illustrated by Rachael Dean
Published by Barrington Stoke
Middle Years Plus (age 12+) | AR Quiz: #240713 | Book Level: 4.4
Quiz Writer Liz says: “This is an intriguing story of an incredibly brave woman from history, and it’s also a great introduction to the Suffragettes which challenges the things we think we already knew about them.”

An image showing the covers of the four books on the Secondary Non-Fiction shortlist

Best Debut

Ace of Spades by Faridah Àbíké-Íyímídé
Published by Usborne
Upper Years (age 14+) | AR Quiz: #240862 | Book Level: 5.1
Managing Editor Cecelia says: “We were gripped by Ace of Spades! This is a page-turner told from the point of view of two Black teens seeking to find out who is behind online bullying at a prestigious, predominantly white high school.”

Me, My Dad and the End of the Rainbow by Benjamin Dean, illustrated by Sandhya Prabhat
Published by Simon & Schuster
Middle Years (age 9-13) | AR Quiz: #240713 | Book Level: 4.4

Quiz Writer Liz says: “Me, My Dad and the End of the Rainbow is full of love, joy, and family. In the book, Archie sets out on a journey, both literally and emotionally, which ends up bringing his family so much closer. This was such a heartwarming read!”

Blood Moon by Lucy Cuthew
Published by Walker
Upper Years (age 14+) | AR Quiz: #238621 | Book Level: 4.1

Quiz Writer Laura says: “Blood Moon tells the story of astronomy-lover Frankie who gets her period during her first sexual experience. This book breaks the taboo of talking about periods while addressing the issue of online shaming.”

Mina and the Undead by Amy McCaw
Published by UCLan
Upper Years (age 14+) | AR Quiz: #240543 | Book Level: 5.0
Quiz Writer Peter says: “This vampire murder-mystery will grip you to 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.”

An image showing the covers of the four books on the Best Debut shortlist

We’ll be announcing the winners when we launch the What Kids Are Reading 2022 report, on 28th April. To  join the launch event and awards ceremony live, either in-person in London or by watching the online stream, click here.



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