Tower Hamlets Book Award 2019

About the Book Award

The annual Tower Hamlets Book Award is just one of the exciting events made possible by subscriptions to the Tower Hamlets Schools Library Services, and is a free event for subscribing schools.

The Book Award is for pupils aged 10 to 13. The aim is to encourage children to read, to bring children together to enable debate and discussion about books and to encourage children to share the pleasure of reading.

Download the book award guidelines and timeline 2019

The shortlisted books!

Download the shortlist PowerPoint (edited to correct timings and text)

  • The Boy at the back of the class by Onjali Rauf :There used to be an empty chair at the back of my class, but now a new boy, Ahmet, is sitting in it. He’s nine years old and very strange. He never talks, never smiles and doesn’t like sweets. But then I learned the truth: He isn’t strange at all. He’s a refugee who’s run away from a War. With bombs and fires and bullets that hurt people. And the more I find out about him, the more I want to help.
  • The Train to impossible places by P G Bell : Disturbed by a noise in the middle of the night, Suzy wakes to find that someone’s run a railway track through her house. When the train arrives, she finds herself whisked away to work for an interdimensional post office…
  • Now or never by Bali Rai : Private Fazal Khan, from India, is proud to be in the British Army in World War Two, but is that pride misplaced when his comrades turn on him during the frightening evacuation at Dunkirk
  • Freedom by Catherine Johnson : Nathaniel doesn’t want to move to England with his master’s family and leave behind his mother and sister on the Jamaican plantation. But then he remembers what his mother told him: once a slave sets foot on English soil, they’re free…
  • The Wild robot by Peter Brown : Robot Roz finds herself alone on a remote island, with only animals for company.  She has no idea how she got there, but in her programming is knowledge of what she ought to need to survive.  But then her programming was not designed for dealing with storms and vicious, unwelcoming animals….
  • Running on empty by S E Durrant : AJ’s parents both have learning difficulties. His Grandfather helped out with things like bills, money for the electricity meter and parents’ evening. But after he dies, AJ has to take on a lot more responsibilities and his ambition to be a runner suffers.

Canary Wharf Group will once again be kindly providing each subscribing school with a free set of the shortlist, as well as hosting the grand finale on 22nd November.

Additional sets are £33 each with book jackets. Order from

Why join in?

Because the award bridges primary and secondary schools, it encourages pupils from different phases to share in reading events and work together.

Schools who have taken part in the award have found it to be highly beneficial in encouraging children to broaden their reading range and develop their literacy – not just in reading but also in speaking and listening, as a core part of any book award is discussion and debate.

The award, and the primary and secondary book lists, encourage pupils to make their own choices about what they read, and to discover new and exciting authors and stories.

Schools have the opportunity to attend the grand finale, meet authors and generally have a great time.

Grand Finale

East Wintergarden

43 Bank St, Canary Wharf, London E14 5NX

Friday 22nd November

Booking for the finale will open here on 1st October.

  • Meet the authors : S.E. Durrant, Catherine Johnson and P. G. Bell
  • Enter the presentation competition
  • Quizzes and competitions
  • Cast your votes for the winning book!

For more info, email


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