Children's Bookshow competition: Budding authors show off their creative side

The winner for the under nines cast the story of Cinderella into the present day

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The Independent Online

It was, according to judge and children's author Jessica Souhami, simply a "brilliant concept". The winner of the Children's Bookshow annual story competition for the under nines – supported by The Independent – cast the story of Cinderella into the present day. Rather than leave a slipper behind at the ball after attracting the prince's interest, this Cinderella leaves her iPhone behind.

The prince travels the land trying to find the one who knows the password, vowing to marry that person. Neither of the ugly sisters can oblige but, of course, Cinderella can. They live happily ever after.

The story is written by seven-year-old Jonathan Smith, from Grange Farm, a state primary school in Coventry, West Midlands.

Souhami, who judged exactly 100 entries, says of the competition: "The schools are so different. They range from a private school that charges £15,000 a year and has an entrance exam, to small schools with many children from ethnic minority backgrounds."

The winner from the over nines is Sheen Bendon from Altrincham prep school in Cheshire, who devised a sci-fi version of The Three Pigs – featuring robo-pigs.

Good to discover that so many schools aren't exam factories and can nurture their pupils' talents.


In all the fluster about tuition fees ahead of the election, some interesting ideas are being put forward.

One idea, suggested at a Westminster Higher Education Forum, was for a kind of "pupil premium" incentive for universities, giving them more money if their students went into higher-paid jobs.

One participant pointed out that this could discriminate against women, who might take a career break to coincide with maternity – and therefore dissuade universities from offering them places. "In which case there would soon be no men going to university either," quipped another.