Cumbrian secondary school pupils are all set to give their verdict on their favourite fiction authors. The winning writer in a new county-wide scheme launched by Cumbria County Council's Schools Library Service will be announced at Ullswater Community College, Penrith, on Thursday, June 19 at 2.15pm. County Councillor Tim Heslop, spokesman on Libraries and Culture says:
"This is the first year of this innovative scheme which is going very well. It is encouraging us to look ahead, develop the scheme and make it bigger in future years. The idea is to involve young people in reading for fun and enjoyment, finding a pleasure they can turn to throughout their lives."
In previous years library services for schools have encouraged secondary schools in Cumbria to participate in a national children's book award, The Carnegie Medal. This year the Cumbria Schools Library Service launched the Cumbrian Schools' Book Award 2003 - Spellbinding - specifically for Cumbrian secondary schools. Nominations were collected from pupils aged 11 to 13, from 20 participating schools. A list of ten titles was drawn up and pupils were encouraged to read and review these books. From their preferences a shortlist of three has been produced. The final winner will be selected by about 35-40 pupils voting at Ullswater Community College on Thursday June 19 and will be announced by the college head, David Robinson, at 2.15pm.
In the morning, before voting, attending pupils and school librarians will discuss the shortlisted books, which are: The Edge, by Alan Gibbons, The Thief Lord, by Cornelia Funke, and Mortal Engines, by Philip Reeves. Before lunch Alec Williams, from West Yorkshire, who has 30 years' experience working in libraries and education, will read a selection of poetry and passages from books to the youngsters. The short-listed authors will be notified of their success in the scheme.