Almost Anything

NSTBA Past Winners- Picture Book Category

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It’s our 5th birthday this year and we couldn’t be more excited! Since 2015, we have read and reviewed so many wonderful books- and met so many lovely authors and illustrators. We started the awards to help teachers be more aware of some of the amazing books that are available and that teachers could- and perhaps should- be using in school. Everyone involved in the awards works in education and most of us are teachers, working full time in classes across the primary age range. This puts us in the perfect position for getting these books into the hands of children and for raising their profile with our colleagues.

As submissions for this year must have been received by April 14th, we thought it was a good time to have a look back at our winners in each category from the last four years. So today, we’re starting with the Picture Book Category.

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Our first ever winners in this category were Tracey Corderoy and Steven Lenton with their wonderful characters, Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam. This book was an instant hit with the team as Shifty and Sam are brilliant and the story is full of fun . There are now four picture books and four chapter books about them- each offering Tracey’s fabulous writing and Steven’s amazing illustrations. A winning team if ever there was one!

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Although Tracey and Steven were not able to attend the ceremony, they came and visited some of our schools shortly after and were a huge hit with staff and children alike! They are both the loveliest people and we have seen them many times since, always enjoying their events. You can read our review here

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In 2016, Michelle Robinson and David Roberts won with their brilliant book, ‘A Beginner’s Guide to Bear Spotting’. Another gem, this caught our eye as it offers something a bit different. We were delighted that Michelle was able to come to the awards- and that she brought her lovely family with her. Michelle is one of those people who always makes you smile- she is full of fun, warm and friendly and it’s always a pleasure to bump into her. You can read our review of ‘Bear Spotting’ here.

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The winner in 2017 was Matt Carr with ‘Superbat’. This book had been a huge success with children in events we had held in schools. Having a really strong message about what really makes each of us ‘super’ as well as ‘Batty Facts’, ‘Superbat’ is great to use with classes. The bold illustrations encourage children to draw their own pictures and create their own superheroes. We were delighted that Matt was able to join us for the awards. You can read our review here.

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Last year, the wonderful Sophy Henn won with ‘Almost Anything’, a wonderful story about George who lacks confidence in himself and is reluctant to try anything. Sadly, Sophy was very poorly on the day of the awards, but sent a lovely video message. Once she had recovered, she came to visit one of our schools and did four amazing sessions with children and parents. It was a fantastic day! It is always a pleasure to see Sophy at festivals as she is so engaging - and genuinely lovely! You can read our review here.


Each of these books has been widely used in our schools and each has ideas for a book event and /or teaching notes to go with them which are available to our members. We have thousands of visits to the website each month and often receive feedback, thanking us for our suggestions.

Since the last awards, we have been searching for this year’s long list and are still hunting.When looking at a book, we are always asking ourselves how it could be used as well as thinking about its fun factor. If you have any suggestions or would like to make a submission, please get in touch. Details are available on our home page.

Next, we will revisit the Information Book Category winners!

The Wonderful Sophy Henn!


Today, we were SO lucky! Sophy Henn came to spend the day in our school- and everyone just loved her! Sophy’s book, ‘Almost Anything’, won the 2018 North Somerset Teacher’s Book Awards Picture Book Category and we are all huge fans of her books!


Sophy started by talking to our year 6 children- all 90 of them- who really enjoyed listening to her advice about writing, drawing and…well, almost anything! When she taught them how to draw Bad Nana, the results were incredible- even the adults had a go! The children were so proud of themselves and asked so many brilliant questions.


After lunch, Sophy spoke to the Year 1 and 2 children. She introduced them to her ‘Lifesize’ book and all its fascinating facts. Who knew a giant squid was so big?!


Sophy also showed the children how her character Pom Pom started life as a comic strip and taught them to draw ‘Where Bear’. So many children wanted books signed- it was a delight to see so many happy, excited readers, clutching their new books.


Next, the Year 3,4 and 5 children had their turn. They also learned how to draw Bad Nana and listened to Sophy reading to them from her book. The time flew by and all too soon it was the end of the day. Sophy signed yet more books before her final session of the day when Reception children were joined by their parents for a lovely story session. So many came - it was wonderful !


We had the most amazing day and cannot thank Sophy enough for joining us and inspiring our children to read, draw and to be the best they can be. There have been so many lovely comments from staff, parents and children. We hope she is able to come back one day soon!


We would also like to thank Alistair from Books on the Hill for coming to sell books for us.

We can do...Almost Anything!


Om Monday, our whole school used ‘Almost Anything’ by Sophy Henn. The message in the story is so important- keep trying…the magic is in you! The perfect message- especially for developing a positive mind set at the start of a new school year.

The day started with an assembly and the children had areal treat- Sophy had sent them a message! They were very excited and really keen to talk about the story.


Each teacher decided how they wanted to work with the book in their classroom and in Year 6, the children responded really well to the story, offering lots of ideas and suggestions about the story and what it meant to them.


Each children created their own paper hat like George’s and wrote something they felt a little bit wobbly about on the brim. This was something they chose for themselves and there was lots of lively discussion about how they were going to work at it!


We then made some bunting to go in our book corner with positive messages and pictures of George. The class loved doing this - they really enjoyed drawing George and produced some excellent pictures!


We also wrote letters of advice to George, suggesting things he could do when he’s feeling wobbly about doing something. They produced some excellent letters, full of lovely advice which they really enjoyed writing!


Teachers across the school were delighted with their classes response to this delightful story - and when anyone feels insecure about trying something new, we can remind them about George and how they too can do…almost anything!

Many thanks to Sophy Henn for sending us such a lovely message.