May 10, 2024

The nominees for the 2024 What Kids Are Reading Quiz Writers’ Choice Awards are finally here!

The Quiz Writers’ Choice Awards are held every year alongside the release of our What Kids Are Reading report. The report is the largest annual study of the reading habits and trends of students across the UK, Ireland and internationally using data from a variety of sources including Renaissance Accelerated Reader and myON data. The data highlights the books that have been read the most by over 1.2 million children across the UK and Ireland, and also takes a look at international reading habits. However, some of the books that we love the most don’t actually end up in the report because not enough people know about them! Whilst we did see the influence of BookTok creep into last year’s analysis, with authors like Alice Oseman and Colleen Hoover emerging on the favourite authors’ list for secondary students, our Quiz Writers have recognised  new and upcoming talent as well as breakout titles released last year. The Quiz Writers’ Choice Awards provide the opportunity to celebrate books that our Quiz Writing team have read and enjoyed the most across all ages and genres.

Last year, our Quiz Writers read 5,093 points worth of books, wrote 10,395 questions and ultimately approved 1,321 new AR quizzes. One person on their own would need to read nearly four books every day of the year to reach this total! Our Quiz Writers read 402 books with DEI content, 52 more DEI books than in 2022. We’re delighted to be highlighting many of these titles in this year’s awards.

With the launch of the 2024 What Kids Are Reading report approaching, below are details of the primary and secondary, fiction and non-fiction books nominated for our Quiz Writers’ Choice Awards. Don’t forget – you can click here to attend the ceremony online and celebrate the incredible authors and illustrators nominated, as well as find out who has won on 6th June!

The Primary Fiction category

Uki and the Ghostburrow by Kieran Larwood, illustrated by David Wyatt

Published by Faber & Faber

Middle Years (age 9-13) | AR Quiz: # 242935 | Book Level: 5.4

Peter Smith, Editor said “There’s something for everyone in this book. The friendship between Uki Jori and Cree, the edge of your seat encounters that are reminiscent of a great table top game and the sense of wonder and exploring this magical world that’s been created. This was one of my favourite reads of 2023!”

A Flash of Fireflies by Aisha Bushby

Published by Farshore

Middle Years (age 9-13) | AR Quiz: # 243278 | Book Level: 5.8

Captivated by A Flash of Fireflies, Managing Editor, Cecelia Powell was amazed by its use of lyrical writing and fairytale imagery taking us into Hazel’s real world saying, “this thought-provoking book reads like a fantasy while merging and mingling fairy tales with the depiction of what it is like to have OCD, an inhibitive way to address mental health issues with younger readers.”

Aarti and the Blue Gods by Jasbinder Bilan

Published by Chicken House

Middle Years (age 9-13) | AR Quiz: # 242922 | Book Level: 5.8

Senior Editor, Laura Claridge expressed “although the book tackles the complex subject of emotional abuse, it retains a magical quality and it also speaks of the kindness that exists within humanity.”

I am NOT a Prince by Rachael Davis, illustrated by Beatrix Hatcher

Published by Orchard Books

Lower Years (age 5-8) | AR Quiz: # 243708 | Book Level: 2.5

“I love the bold illustrations and love the message of self-belief and worth,” says Senior Editor, Krista Culbertson.

Glitter Boy by Ian Eagleton

Published by Scholastic

Middle Years (age 9-13) | AR Quiz: # 243746 | Book Level: 4.7

Editorial Assistant, Lucy McGraw shares her thoughts in the video below.

Rosie Raja: Churchill’s Spy by Suffiyah Ahmed

Published by Bloomsbury Publishing

Middle Years (age 9-13) | AR Quiz: # 242938 | Book Level: 4.2

“An excellent addition to children’s spy fiction,” expressed Senior Editor, Peter Smith.

Valentine’s Guest House by Sam Sharland

Published by Child’s Play

Lower Years (age 5-8) | AR Quiz: # 243880 | Book Level: 2.4

Editorial Assistant, Lisa Heller describes this title as “a beautiful debut picture book about diversity, inclusivity and empowerment.

The Hat Full of Secrets by Karl Newson, illustrated by Wazza Pink

Published by Stripes

Lower Years (age 5-8) | AR Quiz: # 243915 | Book Level: 3.8

“It’s a heartwarming story about the relationship between Henry and his grandpa” says Lisa Heller, Editorial Assistant.

The Secondary Fiction Category

Gloves Off by Louisa Reid

Published by Guppy Books

Middle Years Plus (age 12+) | AR Quiz: # 242752 | Book Level: 5.0

Senior Editor, Laura Claridge emphasises why Gloves Off is such a powerful read for young readers in the video clip captured below.

Hello Now by Jenny Valentine

Published by HarperCollins Children’s Books

Middle Years Plus (age 12+) | AR Quiz: # 242777 | Book Level: 5.1

“Stunningly written and full of magical realism, this story is a beautiful exploration of love and what it means to live in the present,” expresses Lucy McGraw, Editorial Assistant.

Me, In Between by Julya Rabinowich

Published by Andersen Press

Middle Years Plus (age 12+) | AR Quiz: # 241997 | Book Level: 4.1

“Based on the author’s own experience, this story is an honest and at times heartbreaking portrayal of what many refugees go through. It’s an important read for young people and adults alike,” says Lucy McGraw.

Hana Khan Carries On by Uzma Jalaluddin

Published by Corvus Books

Upper Years (age 14+) | AR Quiz: # 242768 | Book Level: 5.8

Lisa Heller, Editorial Assistant describes this book as a “provocative, unconventional (title) that shows the authors’ truly genuine approach to racism, religion and hate crimes”.

Stay Another Day by Juno Dawson

Published by Quercus

Upper Years (age 14+) | AR Quiz: # 243191 | Book Level: 4.3

“This is a must-read for fans of romcoms,” says Lee Burkwood, Senior Content Assistant.

The Haunting of Tyrese Walker by J.P. Rose

Published by Andersen Press

Middle Years Plus (age 12+) | AR Quiz: # 243885 | Book Level: 5.0

“The author’s descriptions are so vivid her words bring the island to life and make the terrace so spinetingling and eerie. I love when horror has this much heart!” explains Senior Editor, Krista Culbertson.

Rebel Skies by Ann Sei Lin

Published by Walker Books

Middle Years Plus (age 12+) | AR Quiz: #242428 | Book Level: 5.4

“As a team who read lots of fantasy stories, this nominee stood out as being really unique. We can’t wait for the next book!” shared Editor, Kerry McGuire.

The Primary Non-Fiction Category

Jason Sherlock by Donny Mahoney

Published by O’Brien Press

Middle Years (ages 9-13) | AR Quiz: #240956 | Book Level: 5.1

In the video clip below, Senior Editor, Krista Culbertson tells us why young sports fans will adore this book, even touching on its appeal for reluctant readers.

Fourteen Wolves by Catherine Barr, illustrated by Jenni Desmond

Published by Bloomsbury Publishing

Middle Years (ages 9-13) | AR Quiz: #243577| Book Level: 5.5

“It’s a superb book for helping children to understand the value of all creatures in the wild and the importance of a balanced ecosystem,” says Cecelia Powell, Managing Editor.

Bandoola: The Great Elephant Rescue by William Grill

Published by Flying Eye Books

Lower Years (ages 5-8) | AR Quiz: #243654| Book Level: 6.5

“What I found special is how Grill uses the illustrations to tell most of the story, and he pulls readers into the jungle setting by using lots of natural tones,” expresses Kerry McGuire, Editor.

The Secondary Non-Fiction Category

Amazing Muslims Who Changed the World by Burhana Islam, illustrated by Reya Ahmed, Deema Alawa, Nabi H. Ali, Aaliya Jaleel, Saffa Khan, Aghnia Mardiya

Published by Puffin Books

Middle Years Plus (ages 12+) | AR Quiz: #241708| Book Level: 7.4

“This book is perfect for anyone who wants to learn more about some truly incredible people who have had a positive impact on our world,” says Lucy McGraw, Editorial Assistant

Button Pusher by Tyler Page

Published by St. Martin’s Press

Middle Years Plus (ages 12+) | AR Quiz: #243532| Book Level: 3.6

Senior Content Assistant, Lee Burkwood explains how this book resonates with him and his own experience with autism, as well as young readers alike in the below clip.

A Short, Hopeful Guide to Climate Change by Oisín McGann

Published by Little Island

Upper Years (ages 14+) | AR Quiz: #243855| Book Level: 8.2

Managing Director, Cecelia Powell praises this book for its use of “quirky metaphors’ and ‘great illustrations’ going on to say, “this is a book that should be promoted in every secondary school library.”

The Debut category

Call Me Alastair by Cory Leonardo

Published by Little Island

Middle Years (ages 9-13) | AR Quiz: #241055| Book Level: 8.2

Senior Editor, Laura Claridge shares her thoughts on this unique read in the video below:

The Book of Secrets by Alex Dunne, illustrated by Shona Shirley

Published by O’Brien Press

Middle Years (ages 9-13) | AR Quiz: #243298| Book Level: 5.3

“It’s most definitely my most favourite book I’ve read recently!” says Lisa Heller, Editorial Assistant.

Mirror Me by Jan Dunning

Published by Scholastic

Upper Years (ages 14+) | AR Quiz: #243825| Book Level: 3.8

In the video clip below, Managing Editor Cecelia tells us why this incredible debut ‘ticked every box’ for our quiz writing team.

Dangerous Remedy by Kat Dunn

Published by Head of Zeus

Middle Years Plus (ages 12+) | AR Quiz: #242951| Book Level: 5.3

“I found it impossible to put down and was left seriously wanting more,” Peter Smith tells us.

The Series category

Adventures on Trains by M.G. Leonard and Sam Sedgman, illustrated by Elisa Paganelli

Published by Macmillan Children’s Books

Middle Years (ages 12+)

Peter describes these books as “warm, fun and full of heart”.

Interview With… series by Andy Seed, illustrated by Nick East

Published by Welbeck

Middle Years (ages 12+)

“These funny and fact-filled books have bite sized text in a question and answer format that pair with colourful and engaging illustrations throughout, and are perfect for emerging or reluctant readers interested in famous historical figures and animals,” says Lee.

Hideous History by Hermione Redshaw and William Anthony, illustrated by Drue Rintool

Published by Booklife

Editor, Kerry McGuire tells us why the team loved quizzing this series in the video clip below.

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