Saturday, July 09, 2016

UKLA Book Awards

The unique UKLA Book Awards are the only awards to be judged entirely by teachers. Their choice of winning books which, according to the criteria, can “enhance all aspects of literacy learning” clearly demonstrates the fresh perspective that class teachers bring to the judging of book awards.   They are able to share the books with their classes and discover what genuinely works with young readers in each of the three age categories.  As well as endorsing the brilliance of Frances Hardinge’s overall Costa Winner, The Lie Tree for 12-16’stheir 7-11 winner reflects once again the importance of illustration to this age group. The Imaginary by A.F Harrold was double Greenaway medal winner Emily Gravett’s first foray into illustrating a full length novel. The 12 judges who made up the final panel showed the strength and depth of the three shortlists by also Highly Commending books in both the 7-11 and 3-6 categories with Alex. T Smith’s vividly illustrated and wittily diverse twist on a familiar nursery tale, Little Red and the Very Hungry Lion, winning the 3-6 category.
For UKLA, giving classroom practitioners the opportunity to read a number of new quality children’s books is as important as finding an overall winner. Research carried out by members of UKLA (Cremin et al 2008) clearly demonstrated the links between teachers’ knowledge of children’s books and the likelihood of pupils becoming successful readers. Despite this evidence, teachers are seldom given time to read new books or funding to purchase them when they do. As Awards Chair Lynda Graham said:
I am so impressed by the level of commitment shown by teacher judges from Bristol this year.  Work in classrooms based around our shortlisted books has been thoughtful, imaginative, creative and in many instances, quite stunning. It was very moving to hear them describe how being involved in this judging process has had a real impact in their schools and upon their pupils’ enthusiasm for reading”.
This makes these awards particularly useful for co-sponsor Peter Crawshaw, Director and Co-founder of Lovereading4kids, who said:
“Lovereading4schools and its sister site Lovereading4kids are delighted to support the UKLA Book Awards. The fact that the teacher judges reflect on their students’ responses to the books gives the award huge credibility and trust that schools use to know the books will be loved by their own pupils. The awards are equally valuable for parents looking for books their children will enjoy.”
The Award winners for the book categories 3 to 6, 7 to11 and 12 to16+ years will be announced and presented at a wine reception at the UKLA International Conference at the Mercure Bristol Holland House Hotel and Spa in Bristol on July 8th.
Andrew Lambirth, President of UKLA said “I am delighted that the UKLA Book Awards continue to highlight some of the best children's literature available to children and young people. I'm proud that the process of selection of the winners is undertaken within a real spirit of community, involving so many people from within education. Congratulations to all the winners and runners up this year”
The winning book in the 12 to16 + category is the Lie Tree by Francis Hardinge, published by Macmillan.
It is the brilliant powerful language of Frances Hardinge’s wholly compelling, dark mystery that so impressed the judges. The perfectly portrayed Victorian period with the themes of science, religion and the role of women stimulated really interesting class discussion. Despite the fantastically weird story of the Lie Tree itself this is an intensely human novel with young readers able to really relate to Faith and feel her anger and frustration and her growing realization of parental fallibility.

The winning book in the 7 to 11 category is The Imaginary by A.F. Harrold and Emily Gravett, published by Bloomsbury

A beautifully written and perfectly illustrated tale that has clever elements of observational comedy and refreshingly candid, engaging characterisation set within a deliciously scary story that completely won over the judges. A.F. Harrold’s poetic language takes readers to the dark heart of imagination where the very nature of friendship is tested. This is a very moving, accessible and yet challenging book which certainly stimulates young readers to use their own imagination.

The judges also presented a Highly Commended 7-11 Award to The Boundless by Kenneth Oppel, published by David Fickling

Judges commended this adventure on a huge scale, with hurtling action beautifully complemented by an unusually reflective hero and a wonderfully vivid supporting cast and setting. A much faster paced read than the length would suggest, helped by the use of present tense, with young readers also stimulated by the imaginative use of language and fascinated by the moral dilemmas portrayed.

The winning book for the 3 to 6 category is Little Red and the Very Hungry Lion by Alex.T.Smith, published by Scholastic

Little Red Riding Hood transposed to an African town setting where a lion is really no match for a clever small girl delighted the judges with its exuberant original twisting of the traditional story. The inventive layout of the text and its relationship to the witty, beautifully coloured illustrations really enhance the child friendly storytelling. The empowering portrayal of different cultures and a heroine who is not a naive victim ensure that this will become a classroom classic.
The judges also presented a Highly Commended 3-6 Award to On Sudden Hill by Linda Sarah and Benji Davies, published by Simon & Schuster
Judges commended this poignant tale which approaches difficult areas for children and does so with sensitivity and a real understanding of childhood relationships with each other. Emotive imagery in both the poetic language and the subtle, gentle pictures can prompt useful discussion of restorative justice as well as inspiring imaginative use of cardboard boxes!
The Shortlists in full
This Book Just Ate My Dog! by Richard Byrne (author/illustrator)(Oxford University Press)
The Something by Rebecca Cobb (author /illustrator) (Macmillan Children's Books)
I am Henry Finch by Alexis Deacon (author) and Viviane Schwarz (illustrator)(Walker Books)
The Dad with 10 Children by Bénédicte Guettier (author/Illustrator) (Scribblers Books)
On Sudden Hill by Linda Sarah (author) and Benji Davies (illustrator) (Simon & Schuster Children's Books)
Little Red and the Very Hungry Lion by Alex T Smith (author/illustrator) (Scholastic Children's Books)

The Fish in the Bathtub by Eoin Colfer (author) and Peter Bailey (illustrator)(Barrington Stoke)
Hercufleas by Sam Gayton and Peter Cottrill (illustrator)     (Andersen Press)
The Imaginary by A.F Harrold(author) and Emily Gravett(illustrator)(Bloomsbury)
The Boundless by Kenneth Oppel (David Fickling Books)
The Pilot and the Little Prince by Peter Sís (Pushkin Press)
Atlas of Adventures by Rachel Williams (author) and Lucy Leatherland (illustrator)(Wide Eyed Editions)

The Door that Led to Where by Sally Gardner (Hot Key Books)
The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge (Macmillan Children's Books)
There Will Be Lies by Nick Lake (Bloomsbury)
An Island of Our Own by Sally Nicholls (Scholastic Children's Books)
All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven (Puffin)
The Ghosts of Heaven by Marcus Sedgewick (Orion Indigo)

Full details of the Awards and the winners (from 7.15pm on 8 July), the shortlist, and reviews of the winning and shortlisted books, are on

No comments: