Ella on the Outside

NSTBA Past Winners- Moving On Category


Today, we’re looking back at the winners of our Moving On Category. After our first awards in 2015, we felt there was a need for a section specifically for children at the top end of Primary school, who want a more challenging read. It’s a real joy to find the right book which will help children to continue with their reading.

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Nicky Singer was our first winner in this category with her very special book, ‘Island’, illustrated by Chris Riddell. We were delighted that Nicky could join us for the ceremony; she was fascinating to talk to and a pleasure to meet. You can read our review here.

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In 2017, Ally Sherrick’s novel ‘Black Powder’ was our winner. Set at the time of the Gunpowder Plot, this is an exciting historical novel with much to recommend it. Ally came to the awards ceremony and was a pleasure to meet. You can read our review here.


Last year’s winner was ‘Ella on the Outside’, a wonderful story about friendship, loyalty and wanting to belong. Cath joined us for the awards and it was lovely to meet her. You can read our review here.

Brilliant books one and all! 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. Our search for this years treasures is going well so it’s looking good for this year’s list!

This year’s long list will be announced on Saturday 13th July 2019 and the short list on Saturday 7th September 2019.

2018 Moving On Shortlist

So here it is...

the NSTBA 2018 Moving On shortlist.


Running on Empty      S E Durrant

Nosy Crow      ISBN: 978-0857637406

You can read the long list review here.


Charlie and Me   Mark Lowery

Piccadilly   ISBN:  978-1848126220

You can read the long list review here.


The Care and Feeding of a Pet Black Hole  Michelle Cuevas

Simon and Schuster      ISBN: 978-1471170188

You can read the long list review here.


Ella on the Outside     Cath Howe

Nosy Crow   ISBN: 978-1788000338

You can read the long list review here.

Congratulations to all! The winners will be announced at the awards ceremony on the 10th November. 

LONG LIST REVIEW: Ella on the Outside


New girl, Ella, is struggling to make friends at school. Not only is she trying to hide her eczema, she also has a secret which her mother is determined no one must know. When she is singled out by Lydia- the most popular girl in the school- Ella can't believe her luck and hopes that things will get better. However, it quickly becomes clear that Lydia's friendship comes at a price. Is it one that Ella is prepared to pay? 

This is such a good book! The first person narrative allows the reader to share Ella's thoughts as she struggles with the choices she has to make. Her confusion and vulnerability, her desperation to fit in and find friends are all brilliantly shared as Ella tries to navigate her way through. Everyone experiences these feelings at one time or another and Cath Howe has captured them perfectly here. When Ella commits a horribly intrusive and disloyal act of betrayal, the reader should detest her, yet is forced to ask themselves how they might have acted in this situation.

The book also raises other significant issues- parents in prison, mental health, child carers- but never does this feel like an 'issues' book. It is a compelling story with well developed characters and a satisfying conclusion. Short chapters interspersed with letters to Ella's dad keep the plot moving at a pleasing pace; Ella is a very likeable character who makes a poor choice, but you can't help rooting for her and hoping that Lydia will be put in her place.

Excellent for starting discussions, 'Ella on the Outside' is a brilliant story, perfect for the 'Moving On' category!

Ella on the Outside     Cath Howe

Nosy Crow   ISBN: 978-1788000338

You can read another review of 'Ella on the Outside' here.