About the Tower Hamlets Book Award

“Children need to be enthused to read and if they are, this will become a springboard for their achievements throughout the curriculum.”

 (Report of the Inquiry into Overcoming the Barriers to Literacy, All-Party Parliamentary Group for Education, 2011)

Philip signing
Philip Reeve at the 2017 finale

The Book Award is for pupils aged 10 to 13. The aim is to encourage children to read, to bring children together to enable debate and discussion about books and to encourage children to share the pleasure of reading.

The Tower Hamlets Book Award has been running since 2007 and has grown to become a hugely popular event with our schools. Pupils are involved in all stages of the award, from suggesting books for the longlist to voting for the shortlist and, of course, voting for the winner. The award culminates in a grand finale with pupils presenting their favourite books, competitions, and author panels.

The award is just one of the exciting events made possible by subscriptions to the Tower Hamlets Schools Library Services, and is a free event for subscribing schools.

All the winners!

Click here for all of the THBA winners
  • 2023 : ???
  • 2022 : Mayhem Mission by Burhana Islam
  • 2021 : Zombierella by Joseph Coelho
  • 2020 : Pie in the Sky by Remy Lai
  • 2019 : The Boy at the Back if the Class by Onjali Rauf
  • 2018 : Mega Robo Rumble by Neill Cameron
  • 2017 : A Library of Lemons by Jo Cotterill
  • 2016 : My Brother is a Superhero by David Solomons
  • 2015 : Smart by Kim Slater
  • 2014 : Wild Boy by Rob Lloyd Jones
  • 2013 : The Snow Merchant by Sam Gayton
  • 2012 : The Brilliant World of Tom Gates by Liz Pichon
  • 2011 : Street Heroes by Joe Layburn
  • 2010 : The Boy in the Dress by David Walliams
  • 2009 : Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules by Jeff Kinney
  • 2008 : The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne
  • 2007 : You’re a Bad Man, Mr Gum! by Andy Stanton

For more information and shortlists for each year, see the links at the bottom of the page.

 Why join in?

Schools who have taken part in the award have found it to be highly beneficial in encouraging children to broaden their reading range and develop their literacy – not just in reading but also in speaking and listening, as a core part of any book award is discussion and debate.

The award, and the primary and secondary book lists, encourage pupils to make their own choices about what they read, and to discover new and exciting authors and stories. Because the award bridges primary and secondary schools, it encourages pupils from different phases to share in reading events and work together.

Schools have the opportunity to attend the grand finale, meet authors and generally have a great time.


  • May : The award longlists (Tower Hamlets ‘Must Read‘ booklist and Teen booklists) are published
  • July : Book Award shortlist announced
  • Autumn term : Schools run Book Award reading groups
  • November : Book Award finale


All subscribing schools are entitled to participate in the award. Contact the Schools Library Services for more information about this event.

  • Tel : 020 7364 6428
  • email : jacob.turner@towerhamlets.gov.uk


The Tower Hamlets Book Award Logo was designed by Aniqa Yasmin Rahman from Bangabandhu Primary School for the 2010 awards.

Opening Times

Opening times

Please note that the PDC building is currently closed for access. The library will not be open during this time but staff can be reached via email or the web form.

We will update the website once the library re-opens which we expect to be from Monday 4th December.

Term time Monday – Thursday: 9am to 5pm

Fridays and holidays: 9am to 4:30pm