Primary school finalists revealed ahead of the Live Grand Final of the first ever BANANAGRAMS Challenge

-7 girls & 5 boys aged 9-11 heading to London’s Magic Circle after beating 15,000 UK school children invited to ‘Go Wild With Words’ -

12 UK school children are heading to the live Grand Final of the first ever BANANAGRAMS Challenge in London this Saturday (21 March), where they’ll compete to be crowned the first ever ‘Top Banana’. Having beaten 15,000 other primary school kids to win a coveted place in the Grand Final, they’ve had to triumph over classmates in the first stage of the free-to-enter national tournament, and then demonstrate their word skills in the online heat.

The finalists – who range in age from 9 to 11 years – will spend the day at the Magic Circle, the world-famous magician’s club in London. They’ll compete against each other in rounds of BANANAGRAMS before the overall winner – dubbed the Top Banana – is presented with a specially-designed trophy and £500 for their school by Rena Nathanson, inventor of the anagram game, who’ll also take part in a live Q&A session with the children. The Final will be hosted by Deej Johnson, author of the Collins Little Book of BANANAGRAMS, who’ll also present all finalists with an exclusive BANANAGRAMS goody bag.

“I’m delighted that the Challenge has proved so popular and I’m really excited about meeting the finalists on 21 March!” comments Rena Nathanson, Bananagrams’ CEO. “The BANANAGRAMS Challenge is the result of years of hard work and is something my father and I talked about when we first invented the game back in 2006. Part of the reason BANANAGRAMS was born was out of a desire to help kids play with words, which ultimately enhances their appreciation of language and their grasp of spelling and literacy. But more than that, the game is about having fun – and there’s going to be a lot of that at the Grand Final!”

The complete list of finalists is:

  • Olivia Howarth, 10, Blisworth Primary School, Northampton
  • Timothy Lee, 10, Hampton Hill Junior School, Middlesex
  • Ellie Wooldridge, 11, Monkspath School, Solihull
  • Louis Webber, 10, Woodside Junior School, Amersham
  • Molly Gray, 10, Grammar School at Leeds, Leeds
  • Safwaan Ramzan, 11, Brudenell Primary School, Leeds
  • Elizabeth Sparling, 10, Great Bentley Primary School, Essex
  • Pranav Kesavan, 10, Holtsmere End Junior School, Hemel Hempstead
  • Sophie Wilkinson, 9, Waddington & West Bradford E.E. Primary School, Clitheroe
  • Harshil Gadikoppula, 11, Brentwood Prep School, Essex
  • Amy Oldfield, 10, Prince’s Mead School, Winchester
  • Jesse Sachet-Dufraisse, 10, St Anselms, Tooting

15,000 children in 500 primary schools throughout the UK were given the opportunity to “Go Wild With Words” in the first official UK BANANAGRAMS tournament for schools. As part of its mission to get children playing with words, BANANAGRAMS launched the Challenge to help boost vocabulary and spelling skills in classrooms and after-school clubs across the country. With the new National Curriculum putting added emphasis on spelling this year, the BANANAGRAMS Challenge materials and games were designed specifically to incorporate the new Key Stage 2 spelling lists and to add value to classroom learning.

Visit www.bananagramschallenge.co.uk for further information about The BANANAGRAMS Challenge. Schools interested in taking part in the 2016 Challenge can also now register via the website.

"We all love Bananagrams – such a fun game for all ages!"
— Cindy Crawford
"Playing Bananagrams with friends! I love this game! I was just named Bananagrams Ninja! Be afraid, I’m amazing!"
— Kelly Clarkson
"(I'm a) self-proclaimed Bananagrams champion..."
— Andrew Luck | Indianapolis Colt's Quarterback
“Why it's fun: Manages to be speedy, challenging and super-simple at the same time.”
— AARP Magazine on Zip-It
“Can you spell P-H-E-N-O-M-E-N-O-N”
— Boston Globe
“Bananagrams go Hebrew. We’re kvelling!”
— Cool Mom Picks
“Good luck prying this anagram game [Bananagrams] away from students.”
— Scholastic
“Appletters will tickle word lovers to the core.”
— Everyday with Rachael Ray
“Gotta love the Bananagrams.”
— Kathie Lee Gifford
“This [Bananagrams] is so portable, I stash it in my car.”
— Kristen Bell
“Who’s up for a round of Bananagrams, anybody?”
— Jimmy Kimmel
“I love Bananagrams.”
— Ellen DeGeneres
"Maggie Smith loves it. They'll be like 'can we have you back on set' and she's just like [imperious wave of the hand] 'not now.' "
— Lily James, Lady Rose on Downton Abbey
"...one of my favorite games ever, Bananagrams – a fun, fast,addictive word game that will become a family favorite"
— Katie Couric