An illustrated children’s book telling the story of Oxford’s patron saint has won a gold medal in the Illumination Awards.

The Princess Who Hid in the Tree (Bodleian Children’s Books), was written by Jackie Holderness, Christ Church Cathedral’s Education Officer, and illustrated by Alan Marks. It’s a tale of adventure, courage and faith and explains how Christ Church was founded on the site of today’s Cathedral.

The Illumination Awards aim to “shine a light” on the best of new titles written and published with a Christian worldview. The Princess Who Hid in a Tree received this year’s gold medal in the Children’s Picture Book category.

When it was published last year, copies were sent to every Church primary school in the Diocese. It has travelled beyond the Thames Valley, however, to Yorkshire.

“I had a wonderful letter from a Catholic teacher in Doncaster. She had read the story to her Year 5 class because they were studying the Anglo-Saxons, and there are very few picture books featuring this period in history.

“The story triggered deep discussions about the Christian values that Frideswide demonstrated, and this prompted them to want to research the saint in greater depth. The children sent me their versions of the story, which they had written and illustrated, and were brilliant,” says Jackie, who hopes to visit them next year.