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Solomon Kendrick, Top Banana 2017

I came here thinking I wanted to play as I normally play and just have fun playing Bananagrams, It’s been a really great day and I’m so happy I won

- Solomon Kendrick from Hove crowned Top Banana at live Grand Final -

Seeing off stiff competition in a tense and nerve-wracking word game grand final at London’s Magic Circle on Saturday (30 April), eleven-year-old Solomon Kendrick of Aldrington CE Primary School in Hove, has beaten 50,000 other children to be crowned Top Banana at the 2017 BANANAGRAMS Challenge.

This was Solomon’s second attempt at being crowned Top Banana, as he also made the final in 2016. This year, he sailed through three rounds of the addictive anagram game, BANANAGRAMS, before taking to the main theatre stage in a nail-biting last game against two other children.

“I can’t believe it,” said Solomon, having scooped the trophy and £1,000 for his school. “I was so relieved just to get through the semi final so it was amazing to win. My letters at the start of the final were quite easy. I had a lot of vowels, so I kept using them up. Then I just kept going and going. I couldn’t stop. I was in control.

“I came here thinking I wanted to play as I normally play and just have fun playing Bananagrams, It’s been a really great day and I’m so happy I won.”

Solomon made it all way to the final at last year’s Challenge before finishing runner up, and reveals the secret to his success this year is lots of practise and a slightly new tactic. “I haven’t really changed too much of my strategy, apart from making my grid diagonal. It makes it easier for when you come to putting your peeled letters into your grid. Other than that, I just kept practising and practising, getting better and better.”

And to future Challenge competitors, Solomon has a word of advice. “Read The Little Book of Bananagrams,” he stressed, “It really helped me. I learnt all the two letter words and the book also taught me some words I didn’t know the meaning of.”

BANANAGRAMS’ inventor, Rena Nathanson, who took part in a live Q&A session hosted by Deej Johnson, author of the Collins Little Book of BANANAGRAMS, at the final said, “"The day was fantastic and all the players held well deserved places at the final. After a tense few rounds I was so pleased to see Solomon, having defended and return to hold his position in the top 12 from last year, become 2017's Top Banana! He has great technique when building his word grids, is super fast and is a very worthy winner!"

The BANANAGRAMS Challenge is a tournament for primary schools, which sees children from Key Stage 2 compete at BANANAGRAMS – a seriously challenging yet fun anagram game which combines speed, intellect and vocabulary skills. Once each school finds its ‘Best of the Bunch’, that child heads to an online elimination round where the final 12 is decided through a series of different word games. This year, it attracted almost 50,000 children in 1,500 primary schools throughout the UK. 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. 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 for further information about The BANANAGRAMS Challenge.


Media enquiries:

High res photography of the live Grand Final is available – for further images, information about the BANANAGRAMS Challenge, BANANAGRAMS or to interview Solomon Kendrick or the game’s inventor, Rena Nathanson, please contact:

Alex Frith or Lesley Singleton at Playtime PR Ltd - 07791 592 011 - 01908 299 088


BANANAGRAMS (RRP £14.99 ages 7-107) is the anagram game that drives you bananas! Requiring no pencil, paper or board, BANANAGRAMS comes in a small portable banana-shaped pouch and is perfect fun for all the family, at home or on the go. Created by a word game-obsessed family of three generations, BANANAGRAMS is a labour of love that has quickly become an international phenomenon and firm favourite with celebrities including the cast of ITV’s Downton Abbey, Dame Judi Dench, Scarlett Johansson, Caroline Flack and Matt Edmondson. It’s now sold more than 8million copies worldwide. How to play video:

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