Children vote for their favourite new book

Book Award logoA HISTORICAL fantasy set in a magical mash-up of Georgian and Elizabethan Britain has been announced as the winner of this year’s East Sussex Children’s Book Award.

The Hatmakers by Tamzin Merchant claimed top prize at a celebration event attended by nearly 200 school children.

Local children’s author Ed Boxall hosted the event which was held at The Royal Hippodrome Theatre in Eastbourne last month.

Since December, children aged 8 to 11 from across the county have been reading six shortlisted books before voting for their favourite in May.

In an inventive and funny tale, The Hatmakers tells the story of Cordelia Hatmaker, whose family of magical hatmakers make items that give their wearers special strengths and qualities.

Winner author Tamzin Merchant said: “It is such a joy and an honour to accept the Children’s Book Award. Thank you so much for bestowing this award upon The Hatmakers.

“A book is nothing without its readers and I’m thrilled that you found The Hatmakers and The Hatmakers found you.

“To have been welcomed by you into your libraries and your hearts is absolutely wonderful!”

All the shortlisted books, including e-books, are available to borrow for free from East Sussex libraries.

Pupils from participating schools were invited to enter competitions, submit questions for the shortlisted authors and attend author events.

Cllr Claire Dowling, lead member for transport and the environment at East Sussex County Council, said: “The East Sussex Children’s Book Award is a great way to encourage older primary school children to read for pleasure, promoting a life-long love of reading.

“We are delighted that so many children from across the county took part this year, reading the shortlisted books, attending author events and casting their votes for their favourite.

“Congratulations to Tamzin Merchant, our winner, and to all the shortlisted authors.”

The East Sussex Children’s Book Award is an annual competition run by East Sussex Libraries that aims to introduce children to new children’s authors and encourage a ‘county wide conversation’ about books.

For more information on the Award, the shortlisted books and to view the live stream of the celebration event visit