Author Gill Lewis wins Haringey Children’s Book Award




Author Gill Lewis won the Haringey Children’s Book Award this month for her title ‘Scarlet Ibis’ which tells the story of two London siblings fighting to keep their family together.


Over 100 children joined together at Heartlands High School at the start of July to vote on their favourite shortlisted book and representing over 16 schools who have been taking part in this year’s inaugral award.


The Award process

Children in years 5 – 7 read 5 shortlisted titles chosen by local librarians written in the last 3 years. Students have been reading the books in their own school reading groups all term, as well as coming together for author visits and discussion days.


The shortlist

John Boyne, Stay where you are and then leave

Kate DiCamillo, Flora & Ulysses

Michael Foreman, The amazing tale of Ali Pasha

Gill Lewis, Scarlet Ibis

Piers Torday, The Last Wild


The ceremony

The HCBA ceremony included:

  • Voting by children
  • Opening remarks from Heartlands headteacher Simon Garrill & Deputy Mayor Ali Gul Ozbek
  • Keynote speech on the power of reading from award-winning ‘Box of Demons’ author Daniel Whelan
  • Speeches and questions from 2 of the 5 shortlisted authors Gill Lewis & Piers Torday
  • Summer Reading Challenge feature from Sean Edwards, Principal Librarian Children & Youth, Haringey Libraries
  • Bookstall supplied by Pickled Pepper Bookshop
  • Display of participating children’s work



Helen Swinyard, founder of the award said “our first ever Haringey Children’s Book Award has been so wonderfully supported by librarians, teachers and the local community that we are already planning for next year’s award. It was a great afternoon for everyone involved and a real boost for reading for pleasure in our borough, Gill Lewis was a worthy winner from a strong shortlist. We recommend reading all five shortlisted books!”


Schools who took part in the award ceremony

Heartlands High School


Highgate Wood
Rokesly Jnrs
St Paul’s RC
St Gilda’s
Alex Primary





The future

Although 17 schools signed up to take part this year, Swinyard would like to see even more schools join in the future, to make this a truly borough-wide award. Schools wishing to take part should contact her at the school to join the mailing list. The award has also been set up without a budget and is looking for local companies and organisations to sponsor the award so that more children can benefit next year.
For for information, or to attend the award ceremony, please contact Helen Swinyard or at Heartlands 020 8826 1230