The International Schools Book Awards

“Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.”

Mason Cooley

Announcement!! Book Review Competition Now Open! Click here to send in your book review

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We are delighted to introduce the inaugural International Schools Book Awards in partnership with The Awesome Book Awards.  

The aim of the Awards are to bring our community of young readers in schools across the UAE and beyond together through the joy of books and reading. We open the door to exceptional authors telling remarkable stories and empower children to independently read for pleasure and creativity. Let’s allow imaginations to run wild on the pages of these beautifully written children’s books.

The theme for the Awards is Travel and all three books circulate around this. In a time when travel is restricted, we journey across the world on colourful voyages fuelled by intriguing mysteries and tales of adventure.

Shortlisted titles:

Kensuke’s Kingdom by Michael Morpurgo The Explorer by Katherine Rundell The Highland Falcon Thief (Adventures on Trains) by MG Leonard and Sam Sedgman

How does it work?

The International Schools Book Awards is open to all pupils aged 9 -13. It is based on the concept of The Awesome Book Awards, which is hosted by Cranleigh UK.   

Three books have been selected by a panel of readers from Cranleigh Abu Dhabi and Cranleigh UK.  These novels are suitable for readers in the listed age group and appeal to both boys and girls. 

We invite children to read and review the books, vote on their favourite books from home with the help of parents/carers. Children will also have the unique opportunity to ask the authors questions around the books. 

Where can we find the books? 

Given current restrictions on obtaining physical books, we would recommend an electronic approach to reading the three titles. All of the books can be found in ebook format from Amazon Kindle, which can be read on either a Kindle device or using an app available on either Android or IOS or alternatively they can be accessed via audiobook format from or Audible are currently offering a 30 day free trial during this period.

Dates for your diary: 

3rd May: International Schools Book Awards begin

10th May: Participating pupils are invited to submit questions to their favourite author – click here

24th May: Book Review competition opens (optional) – more info to follow on how to upload your book reviews 

8th June: Voting opens – via a Google voting form which will be found here soon! 

15th June: Voting closes. Book Review Competition closes.

W/C 21st June: Winner of Book Awards announced and winner of Book Review Competition announced.

Book Excerpts . . . 

Kensuke’s Kingdom by Michael Morpurgo
Winner of The Children’s Book Award (2000)
“I heard the wind above me in the sails. I remember thinking, this is silly, you haven’t got your safety harness on, you haven’t got your life jacket on. You shouldn’t be doing this . . . I was in the cold of the sea before I could even open my mouth to scream.” Washed up on an island in the Pacific, Michael struggles to survive on his own. With no food and no water, he curls up to die. When he wakes, there is a plate beside him of fish, of fruit, and a bowl of fresh water. He is not alone…

The Explorer by Katherine Rundell
Winner of the London Book Fair Children’s Travel Book of the Year 2018
From his seat in the tiny aeroplane, Fred watches as the mysteries of the Amazon jungle pass by below him. He has always dreamed of becoming an explorer, of making history and of reading his name amongst the lists of great discoveries. If only he could land and look about him. As the plane crashes into the canopy, Fred is suddenly left without a choice. He and the three other children may be alive, but the jungle is a vast, untamed place. With no hope of rescue, the chance of getting home feels impossibly small. Except, it seems, someone has been there before them.

The Highland Falcon Thief by MG Leonard & Sam Sedgman
A chuffing triumph’ The Times, Children’s Book of the Week
Harrison Beck is reluctantly joining his travel-writer Uncle Nat for the last journey of the royal train, The Highland Falcon. But as the train makes its way to Scotland, a priceless brooch goes missing, and things are suddenly a lot more interesting. As suspicions and accusations run high among the passengers, Harrison begins to investigate and uncovers a few surprises along the way. Can he solve the mystery of the jewel thief and catch the culprit before they reach the end of the line? Hear whispers in the dining car, find notes in the library, and unknown passengers among the luggage as you help Harrison to solve the mystery aboard one of the world's grandest trains. Fast-paced and packed with illustrations and clues, Adventures on Trains is a stop you won’t
want to miss!