SECONDARY school pupils are being encouraged to vote for their favourite books for the tenth Essex Book Awards.

The annual awards aim to create debate and discussion among young people about the six shortlisted titles, as well as improve literacy.

34 Essex schools have so far signed up to take part this year.

Run by EES for Schools’ School Library Service, six books have been shortlisted for the awards.

They are: Car-Jacked by Ali Sparkes, Fire Colour One by Jenny Valentine, If You Were Me by Sam Hepburn, The Crowham Martyrs by Jane McLoughlin, The Door That Led To Where by Sally Gardner, The Sound of Whales by Kerr Thomson.

Voting opens on Wednesday February 24 and pupils can then vote for their favourite book.

The book that receives the most pupil votes wins the Book of the Year 2016 Award.

Voting closes on Wednesday March 9.

Ray Gooding, Essex County Councillor responsible for Education and Lifelong Learning, said: “For ten years now these awards have helped improve literacy and encouraged pupils across Essex to discover the delights of reading."

The winners will be announced at the Essex Book Awards ceremony on Wednesday, March 16 where authors of the shortlisted books will also be invited to take part in a question and answer session with school pupils.