2023 Salford Children’s Book Award

The winner of the 20th Salford Children’s Book Award was announced at the ceremony on 28th June 2023, at the University of Salford’s New Adelphi Building.  Pupils and staff from ten Salford secondary schools attended, and were excited to meet all six of the shortlisted authors, as well as host James Campbell. 

As well as meeting their literary icons, pupils made presentations about their favourite books, and heard the authors talk about their creative writing processes and literary journeys.   

The winning book was Ghostcloud by Michael Mann, who said: “I am on cloud nine and I am over-the-moon! It means such a lot to us authors to get feedback from fans and readers and the Salford high school pupils were simply amazing today; their presentations and insight was so impressive.” 

Chris Farey, Head of Libraries at Salford Community Leisure, said: “We are delighted to be celebrating 20 years of the Salford Children’s Book Award. We are continually looking to inspire and engage young people by providing the most diverse range of reading materials possible in our libraries. It’s well known that reading for pleasure enhances learning, literacy and well-being, and greatly improves future prospects. It’s a very popular event in the calendar and hugely beneficial to pupils and schools from all around the city. ‘ 

The Salford Children’s Book Award is run by Salford Schools’ Library Service with support from Salford Libraries.  To find out more about the award, contact the Schools’ Library Service on 0161 778 0936, or email schools.library-service@scll.co.uk

2023 Shortlist

Cardboard Cowboys by Brian Conaghan

Nobody at school can see past Lenny’s size to the person within. So when lessons get too tough, Lenny always goes to his bench to think. At least there no one can see him. Then one day, midway through lobbing his empty can of Irn-Bru into the canal he’s stopped by Bruce. Bruce lives in a cardboard home hidden away by the banks, and he doesn’t approve of kids messing up his front lawn…

But a bumpy start soon gives way to an unexpected friendship – and an epic road trip – that will change both of them for life…

Storm Horse by Jane Elson

Daniel is dyslexic and most of the time, school just doesn’t make sense. He’s in the bottom reading group at school with other kids who are trying to make sense of it all. But when a mystery horse gallops into their lives one stormy evening, it changes everything. Desperate to keep him safe they form the Secret Horse Society and vow to protect this amazing creature. Inspired by stories of the great racehorse Seabiscuit, they name him Jammie Dodger and find they when they work together, nothing seems impossible. Even the Big Read Off at school. They just need to keep their new horse friend a secret.

How I Saved the World in a Week by Polly Ho-Yen

Billy’s mum isn’t like other mums. All she wants is to teach him the Rules of Survival – how to make fire, build shelter and find food. She likes to test Billy on the rules until one day she goes too far, and Billy is sent to live with a dad he barely knows.

Then the world changes suddenly and forever, as people begin to be infected with a mysterious virus that turns their skin grey. As chaos breaks out and Billy has to flee the city, he knows that this is what his mum was preparing him for – not just to save his family, but to save the whole world.

Twitch by M.G. Leonard

Twitch has three pet chickens, four pigeons, swallows nesting in his bedroom and a passion for birdwatching. On the first day of the summer holidays, he arrives at his secret hide to find police everywhere: a convicted robber has broken out of prison and is hiding in Aves Wood. Can Twitch use his talents for birdwatching to hunt for the dangerous prisoner and find the missing loot?

Ghostcloud by Michael Mann

Kidnapped and forced to shovel coal underneath a half-bombed, blackened power station, 12-year-old Luke’s life is miserable. Then, he discovers he can see things others can’t. Ghostly things. Specifically, a ghost-girl named Alma. Alma, who can ride clouds through the night sky and bend their shape to her will, befriends Luke. And with Alma’s help, Luke discovers he is in fact a rare being – half-human and half-something else …

Then Luke learns the terrible truth of why children are being kidnapped and forced to work in the power station, and he becomes even more desperate to escape.

Nisha’s War by Dan Smith

Malaya, 1942: Nisha’s home is destroyed by war and she and her mother, Amma, flee to her father’s ancestral house in England, perched on a cliff top on the cold Northern coast.

When Amma falls gravely ill, Nisha is left to face her formidable grandmother alone. Grandmother’s rules are countless, and her Anglo-Indian granddaughter is even forbidden from climbing the old weeping tree.

But when a ghost child beckons Nisha to sit under its boughs, and promises her Amma’s life in return for three truths, its pull proves irresistible …