Winners of the ReadingZone Create a Picture Book Competition 2023 Announced!

Posted on Tuesday, June 27, 2023
Category: News

Winners of the ReadingZone Create a Picture Book Competition 2023 Announced!

The winners of the ReadingZone Create a Picture Book Competition 2023 have been announced, recognising the tremendous creativity of children and young people. This year's judge is author and illustrator Elys Dolan, who has chosen the winning picture books. All schools and settings that have taken part in the competition will receive a letter and certificate to acknowledge their work.

The ReadingZone Create a Picture Book Competition challenges children aged four to 18 years to create a picture book on or around World Book Day. There are four categories:  Young Creators (4-7 years); Primary (7-11 years), Secondary (12 years plus) and the Achievement Award, recognising particular effort and imagination in creating a picture book.  The winners of each category will receive £100 of books for their school or public library, with the overall winner also enjoying a live virtual author event.

The ReadingZone Create a Picture Book Competition shortlists and winners for each category

Young Creators Award

The Winner of the Young Creators Award is:   Princess Alice and the Fossil Hunting Competition  By Theodora Polishchuk  (Aboyne Lodge School)
The judge Elys Dolan said: "There were plenty of surprises in this story and I loved the way Princess Alice sorted it all out with a goldfish, very clever! There are some great drawings of people in the illustrations which brought the story to life, and I particularly liked the picture of Alice hooking a duck. Great work!"

Young Creators' Shortlist in Full:

Goldilocks and the Three Crocodiles  By Reception (Canterbury Cross Primary School)

Princess Alice and the Fossil Hunting Competition  By Theodora  (Aboyne Lodge School)

Rude Rosie, the girl who never listens  By Lior  (Devonshire House)

The Giraffe Without a Job  By Fred (Westclyst Community Primary School)

The Grass Snake and the Frog  By Willow Class (Fladbury First School)

The Three Friends  By Maya (Devonshire House Prep School)


Primary Category Award

There are two Runners-Up in the Primary Category:  

The Mystery of the Littering Giant By Year 5 (Canterbury Cross Primary School)
Elys Dolan said:  "This is a strong story with a valuable environmental message. I love the way that paper engineering has been used in the illustrations, with flaps, pop-ups and envelopes. The way facts are merged into the story works really well, and I learned new things from reading this book. There's some great drawing in this book and you can see the time and care that went into making it. A wonderful collaborative effect, well done!"

A Bear Names Polly By Aysu and Selin  (West Lodge School)
Elys Dolan said:  "I found the illustrations in this book particularly impressive. The main character, Polly, is so expressive and the way she's drawn gives the reader a real sense of her personality. Such a lot of careful attention has gone into the way the book is coloured which gives it a joyful and optimistic feel. A very skilful entry."

The Winner of the Primary Category is:   The Day the Pickles Took Over by Henry and Benjamin  (St Thomas CE Primary School)
Elys Dolan said:"This is an amazing sci-fi comedy and it's bonkers in all the best ways! The story is wild and unpredictable in a way the made me want to keep turning the pages. I love the narrator who keeps correcting themselves and talking to the reader. The pickles themselves manage to be fun and a bit scary at the same time, which I think works for the characters. This book really made me laugh."

Primary Shortlist in Full:

The Mystery of the Littering Giant  By Year 5 (Canterbury Cross Primary School)

A Bear Names Polly  By Aysu and Selin  (West Lodge School)

The Day the Pickles Took Over  By Henry and Benjamin (St Thomas CE Primary School)

A Safety Guide to Using Paper By Harry (Westclyst Community Primary School)

The Book  By Finlay (Westclyst Primary School)


Secondary Category Award

The Winner of the Secondary Category is:   The Perfect Princess by Amara (Sarah Bonnell School, London)
Elys Dolan said: "It was a delight to read a story with an epic plot and an independent female lead. The use of papercuts with details in pen for the artwork communicates the story really well while giving it a dramatic and brooding atmosphere. It's an excellent book, congratulations!"


Achievement Award

There are two Runners-up in the Achievement Award Category:

The Very Hungry Dragon (Fairways Primary School)
Our judges really enjoyed this retelling of The Very Hungry Caterpillar which has been beautifully produced by children ages 4-11 years at Fairways Primary School, with careful use of illustrations and some surprising twists on the original story. Well done!

A Safety Guide to Using Paper By Harry (Westclyst Community Primary School)
With a number of their picture books shortlisted for this year's competition, the judges were impressed by the imaginative approach of the children from Westclyst in creating their picture books and they enjoyed the wide range of entries from the school, which has embraced the picture book competition and encouraged so many of its children in becoming authors and illustrators. A great effort from Westclyst Community Primary School!

The Winner of the Achievement Award is:   The Mystery of the Littering Giant by Year 5 (Canterbury Cross Primary School)
As our judge Elys Dolan has said previously. this entry, together with further Reception and Year 6 entries from Canterbury Cross Primary School, demonstrated a high level of engagement and enjoyment with the project from the children, resulting in outstanding picture books and some beautiful collaborative work. Congratulations.

Overall Winner

The Overall Winner of the ReadingZone Picture Book Competition 2023 is The Day the Pickles Took Over by Henry and Benjamin (St Thomas CE Primary School).  Congratulations to our winners who, in addition to winning books for their school as the Primary Category Winner, will also enjoy a virtual virtual visit to their school.

Elys Dolan said:   "This may be an unconventional choice for a winner, but when I was going back over the picture book entries it seemed like this was the one that may well reflect the authors' personalities the best, and that a huge amount of wild joy probably went into making it! It's genuinely funny, which is no easy thing to do, and I think this come from that the authors were probably trying to make each other laugh when they were making it. The plot is wild and original in a way makes me think it should be adapted as a feature film. It's so memorable."


Thank you to all the schools, libraries and homes, and children and students who took part in this year's Create a Picture Book Competition. We saw some wonderful creations, and hope that some of you will in future years go on and publish books of your own. Well done to all the authors and illustrators who took part in this year's competition, and a huge 'thank you!' to our judge, Elys Dolan, for choosing the winning picture book entries, and for all your wonderful tips and guidance for those taking part!