2021 Blue Peter Book Awards

The winners of the 2021 Blue Peter Book Awards have been announced. The awards have been around for over 20 years and celebrate the best authors and illustrators in children’s books in the UK. Here are the winners and the longlisted titles:


A Kind of Spark by Elle McNicoll (released in October 2021 in the United States)


A Day in the Life of a Poo, a Gnu and You by Mike Barfield and Jess Bradley


Adventures on Trains: The Highland Falcon Thief by M.G. Leonard and Sam Sedgman, illustrated by Elisa Paganelli

School's Cancelled (Anisha the Accidental Detective #2)

Anisha Accidental Detective: School’s Cancelled! by Serena Patel, illustrated by Emma McCann

Be Plastic Clever

Be Plastic Clever by Amy and Ella Meek

Copycat Science by Mike Barfield

The Girl Who Stole an Elephant by Nizrana Farook

Fearless! How to be your true, confident self

Fearless! How to Be Your True, Confident Self by Liam Hackett, illustrated by Mike Perry

The Humans

The Humans by Jonny Marx, illustrated by Charlie Davis

I Like Animals… What Jobs Are There? by Steve Martin, illustrated by Roberto Blefari

Inventors by Robert Winston, illustrated by Jessamy Hawke

Life Of Riley: Beginner's Luck

Life of Riley: Beginner’s Luck by Simon James Green, illustrated by Alexsei Bitskoff

Llama Out Loud!

Llama Out Loud by Annabelle Sami, illustrated by Allen Fatimaharan

Pizazz by Sophy Henn (released in June 2021 in United States)

Professor Astro Cat’s Deep Sea Voyage by Dr. Dominic Walliman, illustrated by Ben Newman

Question Everything!: An investigator's toolkit (Real Life Book 3)

Question Everything! An Investigator’s Toolkit by Susan Martineau, illustrated by Vicky Barker

Snow Foal

Snow Foal by Susanna Bailey

Tamarind & the Star of Ishta

Tamarind and the Star of Ishta by Jasbinder Bilan

Where the Wilderness Lives

Where the Wilderness Lives by Jess Butterworth

Who Do You Think You Are? by Alice Harman, illustrated by Blok Magnaye

The Mysterious Disappearance of Aidan S. by David Levithan

Cover image

The Mysterious Disappearance of Aidan S. by David Levithan (9781984848598)

When Aidan disappears one day, Lucas and his family spend all their time searching for him. The police and the entire community come out, looking for Aidan. After six days of being gone, Aidan suddenly reappears in the attic of their house. He tells an incredible story of entering a fantasy world through the cupboard in the attic. Lucas, his younger brother, desperately wants to believe him. The two spend the darkness before they fall asleep talking about where Aidan was. But their parents don’t believe him at all and the police, while not pushing for him to tell the truth, clearly see his tale as a coping mechanism. When his story is accidentally released by the police, the entire school begins mocking Aidan. Lucas sticks by his brother’s side, though underneath is still not sure what to believe.

Levithan has published books for teens primarily and this time turns his talent to a book for middle graders. It’s a book that asks a lot of questions and allows them to linger, hanging in the air without resolution for some time. It’s a book that forces readers to ask themselves what they believe in, what they would do, what choices they would make in this situation. As always, Levithan’s prose is engaging and his pacing is skillful, something that is particularly important in a book like this, not allowing it to drag but carrying the book forward.

The central question of believing his brother places Lucas in a precarious position. He finds himself knowing more than anyone else about Aidan’s claimed experience and then also in the public having to not reveal all that he knows. He is a great younger brother, standing with his older sibling despite the mockery they both face. Told from Lucas’ viewpoint, the book relies on his take on what is happening, what he himself witnesses and his love for his brother.

An enticing book of fantasy and mystery. Appropriate for ages 9-12.

Reviewed from copy provided by Alfred A. Knopf.