Winners of the ReadingZone Picture Book Competition 2022

Posted on Tuesday, June 21, 2022
Category: News

Winners of the ReadingZone Picture Book Competition 2022

The winners of the ReadingZone Picture Book Competition 2022, challenging those aged four to 18 years to make a picture book, have been announced!

The ReadingZone Picture Book Competition 2022, in partnership with World Book Day, challenged those aged four to 18 years to make their own picture book.

We are delighted to confirm that, after a very difficult task of selecting the longlists and shortlists from the brilliant entries we received, our lead judge - author and illustrator Sarah McIntyre (Grumpycorn, The New Neighbours and Pugs of the Frozen North)- has chosen the winners. 

The competition was open to individual children, libraries and schools internationally.  Prizes include £100 of books for each winner's school or library, plus a free online author event for the overall winner.  The categories included Young Creators (ages four to six years); Primary (ages seven years plus) and Secondary (ages 11 years plus). There is an additional Achievement Award for the most enthusiastic 'behind the scenes' activities that have gone into making picture book entries.  Picture books could be made by individuals, groups or whole classes, using any media and covering any subject or theme. 

Here's a message from our judge, author and illustrator Sarah McIntyre:

"Big thanks to everyone who pulled together picture books to send to this year's Reading zone Picture Book Competition! As someone who makes picture books myself, I have a huge amount of respect and awe for the amount of time and effort that can go into making them.  The entries were very strong, particularly from the Primary School group; I struggled very hard to pick winners and nearly wept at not being able to give awards to some incredible books. Congratulations to the winners, and also to those who didn't win: I spotted a huge amount of talent among you, too, and I hope you keep on writing and drawing."

***  Young Creators Winner: (ages 4-7 years)  ***

Moonlight and the Storm
By Class 4  (Arubury Primary School)

"The artwork in this book really crackles, right from the sharp, exciting front cover. I love how the jagged shapes and green scales of Moonlight the dragon convey the sense of tension and electricity. It was clever to pick such strong, distinctive colours for the dragon; the green and purple make him stand out from his background and makes the character's identity instantly obvious, even though he's drawn by different illustrators. The story felt fun and fresh. Congratulations on your win, Class 4!"

Young Creators Runners-Up:

How to Understand a Dinosaur
By Pippa 
"This story has a strong, clear structure, and well-developed main characters, with joyful pictures. I thought the cactus spikes were a great idea, and made for interesting illustrations, with all those coloured spikes. You can be very proud of this book, Pippa!"

Joshua and the Disappearing Vegetables
By Joshua, Uriah and Florence (Dudley House School)
"This story by Joshua, Uriah and Florence is genius, right from the title and concept to the way the words roll along. I love the double mention of the 'delicious, juicy vegetables', it's funny and the repetition makes it so obvious that something really bad is going to happen. And this is rubbed in further with the mention of 'yummy, scrummy vegetables'. I like the spooky picture of the robber in the dark rocky cave, and I laughed out loud when everything was patched up quickly and they had vegetable soup. Nice pattern work around the back-cover blurb, too!"

Honorable Mention:

The Big Bad Cat
By Ladybirds class (All Saints Primary)
"This is a great retelling of the Big Bad World story with a Big Bad Cat and three mice. The text is nicely short and to the point, and I love the boldness and solidity of the illustrations - they really stand out on the pages! Great work, Ladybirds class!"

Young Creators Shortlisted Picture Books:

Fluffy Friends
By Elise and Olly (Oakway Academy)
"This is a lovely story about feelings and friendship! I love how the pictures are well-defined and solid, they focus the eye very well. I love the page where either Elise or Olly have interjected their own handwriting, where the bee is introduced - they have great expressions. Nice work, Elisa and Olly!

The Pirate and the Girl
By Isabella  
"Hurrah for this exciting pirate adventure. Nice work, Isabella!"

 ***  Primary Winner and Overall Winner  ***

The Day Miss Trout Exploded
By Josie 

"This is great, Josie! The idea for the story is brilliant, and I love how you build up the laughs with three incidents in a row where Zeph winds up his teacher. (Miss Trout is perfect name!) I thought it wouldn't get any better after she exploded (I love the chaos and bold simplicity of that page!) but there's a very sweet moment when Zeph puts Slug-Miss Trout in his lunchbox to keep her safe, accompanied by a lovely drawing. I like how you vary the visual formats, sometimes zooming in for detail and sometimes showing the larger scene. The writing is fresh, to-the-point, and funny right from the title onward; excellent work, and congratulations on your win!"

Primary Runners-Up:

Dragons Over London
By Class 5, Blue Gates Junior School
"This book has a wonderful concept behind it, examining the details of painted objects and using them to build this legend with its epic tone. The illustrations are fascinating and pulled me right in with their intricate and unexpected details. The visual research, enhanced by the watercolour paintings gave this book a very rich, distinct and unusual look that made it stand out from the rest. This book definitely had the best endpaper patterns!"

The Untold Norse Saga of Gary vs the Giant
By Niamh (Newport Primary School)
"This is ace!! I love the varied layouts with their bold colours and funny pictures. The story is hilarious, well told and broken up nicely with narration, speech and picture labels. The concept of a Health & Safety Norse God is excellent, with a great story build-up and even a funny twist at the end."

Honorable Mentions:

A Bear's Year
By Class 13  (Arbury Primary School)
"What a beautiful book! I love the way the cut paper gives the book a clean, bold overall unity of colour and style, and lends itself to some great patterning of snow and leaves. I particularly found the pages with the snowy mountains, the first picture of the bear hibernating in its cave, and the vivid orange, red and turqoise of the page where the season first turns to autumn. This book has a very polished, professional look - well done, Class 13!"

Fudge Finds a Friend
By Class 10  (Arbury Primary School)
"I love this book so much! Class 10 has used line and watercolour to beautiful effect, with particularly fine patterning on the ladybird's leaves, on the crocodile and on the bamboo shoots. The repetition creates a good story build-up, and there's an excellent map right at the beginning. I like the building friendship between Bonnie and Fudge, how they stand closer together as the story continues; something about soft texture of the colours makes this particularly poignant, and how we get to see them together at the end of the story, after the words have finished. I'd love to give this class more high-quality watercolour paper so the paper doesn't buckle, but they have worked absolutely magnificently with what they're using."

Primary Shortlisted Picture Books:

Audrey Bear's Idea
By Aysu & Selin (Home entry)
"Good work, Aysu and Selin! This book looks very carefully put together and polished, and you've put a lot of work into creating the rhyming verse. You've done some lovely things with visual patterning and varied page layouts."

Frog's Birthday Party
Penguin's Class  (All Saints Primary School)
"This is a great collaboration with an absolutely gorgeous front cover with fun title lettering. The book stands out for having lots of great details to spot, and a general sense of joyousness. Many of the double-page spreads also have an unusual and interesting border pattern which helps the book stand out. Nice work, Penguin's Class!"

The Titanic: My Story
By Ava (Robert Mellors Primary School)
"This story has a nice use of collage; I like how Ava has framed the story between the two printed historical announcements, and then the book's unexpected pop-up element."

The Treasure Hunt of Secrets
By Group  (Wingham Primary School)
"While this book was very short and I would have liked to have seen more twists and turns to Ivy, Buster and Buddy's adventure in the woods, what is there is great. I particularly love the double-page spread with the ominous-looking trees, it's both darkly atmospheric and funny at the same time. The front and back covers are also vivid and intense, nice work. I'd love to see more from this group of creators!"

A Story with a Point
By Anna (Heathfield House)
"Nice work, Anna! I love the bold, graphic feel about these picture book layouts. The illustration of all the pencils 'sleeping in their natural habitat' was great and made me laugh. I felt sad when Lucas felt he had to break his lead as a sacrifice for his friendship with Sammy, but these things do happen (especially in the pencil world). The story's a fun, creative imagining of the social world of pencils, well done."

***  Secondary Winner  ***

I Remember When
By Yandy (King Edward High School)
"This book stood out as the winner for the huge amount of work that obviously went into it, the beautifully chosen colour palette, and the clever way Yandy was able to create atmosphere with a montage of images. I like the way the simple cover image contrasts with the complexity of the pictures inside. The first two pages showing the mother welding metal wings for her child are particularly striking; I liked seeing the different stages of the welding process, and the rich browns create a warm, intimate setting. And this is nicely book-ended by the intimacy of the family scene on the final page. While some of the pages lacked narrative clarity, I thought that the overall artistry was enough to push this book to the top. Congratulations on your win, Yandy!"

Secondary Runners-Up:

The Whale Hotel
By Florence (Oxford High School)
"I was impressed by the digital brush strokes and lighting in this book that set such a luminous underwater atmosphere. This, together with the clever concept of the Whale Hotel were what pushed this story up to win a Runner-Up award. I liked how the story pushed the Horatio the whale beyond his crush on Maia, to develop a project that took him out of his usual routine and had him travelling and meeting other sea creatures. The colour palette is lovely, and I admire the way Nancy the octopus stands out so clearly with her vibrant orange. Her delicate perkiness also contrasts beautifully with the solid lugubriousness of the big whale. Congratulations, Florence!"

Who is Woix
By Wojciech, Poland
"It's clear that a lot of planning and careful work went into making this very professional-looking book. I liked the varied, dramatic layouts, solid colouring, and clear storytelling. The illustration of Frank and Woix brushing their teeth made me laugh! I like how, at the end, you show the tremors of the earth by the fallen chair. And I like the lighting effect you get inside the UFO beam. Well done, Wojciech Smoczynski, congratulations on being a Runner-Up for the prize, and kudos to you from applying all the way from Poland!"

Secondary Shortlisted Picture Books:

Funny Bunny
By Marie
"I love that this is a pocket-sized joke book! It genuinely made me laugh, and the paint technique gave the artwork a nice unified feel to it. Good work, Marie!"

The Adventures of Pip the Penguin
By Erica, Amelia, Antonia, Annabelle (St Augustine's Priory)
"Nice work, Erica, Amelia, Antonia and Annabelle! I like the way you've told Maya's story, and I like the pages best that have pictures with Maya in them: on the train, holding Pip, embracing her new home, and with her new friend on the playground. It's great that you included a new word in Ukrainian for readers, and I love that you included a biography page at the end!"

The Adventures of Fred the Spider Plant
By Lizzie & Esme (Oxford High School)
"I love this story of a class spider plant! The illustrations have lots of fun details, like the elephant watering can, and Miss Pansy's fancy outfit. It's a great idea, giving a classroom object a fun back story. Nice work, Lizzie and Esme!"

  ***  Achievement Award  ***

This award is presented to a school or library for the most enthusiastic 'behind the scenes' activities that have gone into making picture book entries, such as sharing picture books with other year groups, or the whole school getting involved.

The winner of this year's Achievement Award is All Saints Primary School for its cross-school project and the high standard of its picture book entries. Two of its children's picture books were shortlisted in the competition - Frog's Birthday Party and The Big Bad Cat, which was also given an Honorable Mention by our judge, Sarah McIntyre.

The Runner-Up for the Achievement Award is St George's Junior School and the collaborative creation of its picture book, A Georgian Tale: What’s the Deal With Zeal?, which was printed by the school and copies sold to support the school's charity in the Congo.

Congratulations to all our winners, runners-up and shortlisted entrants, and to everyone who took part in the ReadingZone Picture Book Competition 2022. We have loved reading all your entries and look forward to seeing what you will send us next year!  All entrants will receive letters and certificates in the post or by email over the next few days.