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London Eye Mystery voted top book by Southwark kids

London SE1 website team

Primary and secondary school children from across Southwark have voted Siobhan Dowd's London Eye Mystery as their favourite book of 2008.

The London Eye Mystery beat Counting on Leroy by Steve Mills and Hilary Koll into second place by 199 votes to 182 in the 2008 Southwark Book Award.

First published last year, Siobhan Dowd's thrilling adventure story was released in paperback last month.

After Ted's cousin Salim disappears from a pod in mid-air on the London Eye, he and his sister become embroiled in a race against time to find him.

When Ted and Kat watched their cousin Salim get on board the London Eye, he turned and waved before getting on. But after half an hour it landed and everyone trooped off – and no Salim. Where could he have gone? How on earth could he have disappeared into thin air?

18 students who were outstanding in their commitment to reading and review-writing were rewarded with a trip on the London Eye and a piece of celebration cake. Each pupil also received their own personal copy of the book.

Established in 2007 by Laura Taylor, librarian at Bermondsey's City of London Academy and Sharon Whyatt from Southwark Children's Services, the Southwark Book Award is a reading project for year 6 and year 7 pupils that aims to promote enjoyment in reading and extend reading choices.

Students are encouraged to review books on the website which can then be read by all visitors to the site. A drama specialist worked with participating schools for to bring the books to life and to engage the pupils.

"It is particularly encouraging to see so many Southwark students participated in the award," says Cllr Lisa Rajan, Southwark's executive member for children's services and education.

"Good reading skills are vital if we want our children to make good progress in school and later in life. I congratulate the pupils and schools on such a tremendous effort."

SE1 schools taking part in the award include the City of London Academy, Eveline Lowe Primary School, Grange Primary School and Tower Bridge Primary School.

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