The mystery of a boy found washed up by the River Thames without a memory has been voted by Hampshire school pupils as their book of the year, at an annual awards event held by Hampshire County Council’s School Library Service.
Author Helen Dennis was presented with the Hampshire Book Award 2017 at Winchester Guildhall (2 November) for her novel River of Ink: Genesis, which pupils judged as the best paperback fiction book for 11-13 year olds.
Councillor Andrew Gibson, the County Council’s Executive Member for Culture, Recreation and Countryside, said: “The Hampshire Book Award is a great way for young people to discuss their favourite stories. It promotes reading, critical thinking and debating, and it was a thrill for many of them to meet the winning author. Well done to everyone involved, and congratulations to Helen Dennis for her well-deserved win.”
As part of the award process, pupils from 44 Hampshire secondary schools read and evaluated six shortlisted books over a 12-week period. Discussion groups took place across Hampshire during the summer before the pupils voted for their final winner.
Author Helen Dennis said: “I am honoured to have been chosen from such a strong shortlist and to follow in the footsteps of other winners whose books I admire so much. It means a great deal to know that readers across the county had the chance to read and vote on the books while taking part in such a brilliantly organised scheme. I really respect the work of the School Library Service and appreciate the librarians for all the hard work they do to celebrate reading, and to make new and exciting books accessible to young readers.”
River of Ink: Genesis tells the story of a teenage boy who washes up on the banks of the Thames not knowing who he is, where he is from or why he is in the water. He is given paper and a pencil, and soon scribbles a twisted symbol as the hunt for his true identity unfolds.
Genesis is the first in the River of Ink series, with Hampshire Libraries offering a range of books by Helen Dennis to borrow for free.
Find out more about Hampshire School Library Service.