New Criteria, new award and new publishers reflected in UKLA Book Awards 2020 longlists

​The 12th year of these unique book awards, which are the only national awards judged by active classroom teachers, sees a revision of the age boundaries and the creation of a new award category for information books, as well as revised judging criteria seeking to make the awards more diverse and inclusive.


The 12th year of these unique book awards, which are the only national awards judged by active classroom teachers, sees a revision of the age boundaries and the creation of a new award category for information books, as well as revised judging criteria seeking to make the awards more diverse and inclusive. Submissions were particularly sought from small publishers and a record 422 submissions were received. These were read by an experienced panel of past teacher judges, ex-teachers, librarians and consultants and the resulting longlists reveal a strong showing for poetry and works in translation and featuring debut authors and debut publishers as well as more familiar names.

This year the teacher judges for Fiction and Poetry come from the Midlands region around Oxford, with the 2020 UKLA International Conference, at which the eventual winners are announced, being held at Jury’s Inn, Godstow Road, Oxford. The judging of the new category for Information Books is taking place in Scotland and being coordinated by St Anthony’s Primary in Renfrewshire, UKLA Literacy School of the Year in 2018. There are 70 judges in total covering the four categories and they have until mid-March to read the longlisted books, discuss them with their group leaders, and share them with pupils. All groups will then meet together for the difficult task of choosing their shortlist of 6 books in each category.

Headteachers welcomed the opportunity to receive new books for their schools and for their teachers to widen their knowledge of recent children’s titles. For UKLA, giving classroom practitioners the opportunity to read a number of new 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.

UKLA are grateful for the continued support of the award sponsors, which help the awards to grow and develop each year. Capita Reading Cloud, Lovereading4schools and Lovereading4kids, recognise the value of the judging experience for schools and teachers:

“LoveReading4Schools and its sister site LoveReading4Kids are delighted to again support the UKLA Book Awards in 2020. Under new ownership the brand has been re-launched and the sites re-designed to bring them bang up-to-date and will continue to develop further to further support our mission to promote a love of books and reading by offering the tools, advice and information needed to help our members and browsers to find their next favourite book.

The fact that the teacher judges reflect on their students’ responses to the books gives these Awards huge credibility and trust so that schools know the books will be in turn loved by their own pupils. The awards are equally valuable for parents looking to support the school environment and further engender a love of reading at home.” Deborah Maclaren Director of Lovereading4Kids

“Capita Reading Cloud are thrilled to be supporting these worthwhile and unique children’s book awards as co-sponsors. It is heartening to see so many dedicated teacher judges working with the longlisted, shortlisted and winning books to inspire a love of reading in their pupil groups and beyond. Encouraging reading for enjoyment is something very much at the centre of Reading Cloud and through our platform, pupils can review and recommend books sharing their enthusiasm for reading through a variety of innovative and engaging tools and features.”

The UKLA Selection Panel, chaired by Christine Lockwood, were pleased to highlight exciting debut authors as well as established and familiar names in children’s literature. Of particular note is the success of small publishing houses like Scallywag Press, Boxer Books, The O’Brien Press, What on Earth Publishing, Knights Of, Scribe, Alma Books and Child’s Play. Chris Lockwood says: “the quality of the record number of submissions this year was of a particularly high standard and the panel had no easy task, but we are confident that the teachers and schools involved in the judging will benefit enormously from the impact of these quality texts in their schools” All of the books exemplify the new award criteria’s aim of encouraging teachers’ knowledge of high quality children’s books that can reflect all identities and promote diversity.

Longlist 3-6+

Title Author Illustrator Translator Imprint
When Sadness Came to call Eland, Eva Andersen Press
Splash Day Sharratt, Nick Barrington Stoke
I Can Fly Kuo, Fifi Boxer Books
The Hug McLaughlin, Eoin Dunbar, Polly Faber & Faber
If all the World were… Coehlo, Joseph Colpoys, Allison Frances Lincoln
The Visitor Damm, Antje Spencer,Sally-Ann Gecko Press
Tad Davies, Benji Harper Collins
Amazing Antony, Steve Hodder
Mixed Chung, Aree Macmillan
I Am a Tiger Newson, Karl Collins, Ross Macmillan
What Does an Anteater eat? Collins, Ross Nosy Crow
The Suitcase Naylor-Ballesteros, Chris Nosy Crow
The Rabbit, The Dark and the Biscuit Tin O’Byrne, Nicola Nosy Crow
Lubna and Pebble Meddour, Wendy Egneus, Daniel Oxford
Red and the City Voight, Marie Oxford
How to be a Lion Vere, Ed Puffin
The Wall in the Middle of the Book Agee, John Scallywag Press
How to Light Your Dragon Levy, Didier Benaglia, Fred Thames & Hudson
Cyril and Pat Gravett, Emily Two Hoots
The Day War Came Davies, Nicola Cobb, Rebecca Walker Books
Julian is a Mermaid Love, Jessica Walker Books

Longlist 7-10+

Title Author Illustrator Translator Imprint
Slick Vaughan, M.M Alma Books
#Goldilocks Willis, Jeanne Ross, Tony Andersen Press
Race to the Frozen North Johnson, Catherine Hickey, Katie Barrington Stoke
Run Wild Lewis, Gill Barrington Stoke
Armistice Runner Palmer, Tom Barrington Stoke
The Boy Who Hit Play Daykin, Chloe Faber & faber
High Rise Mystery Jackson, Sharna Knights of
The Runaway Robot Boyce, Frank Cottrell Lenton, Steven Macmillan
The Middler Applebaum, Kirsty Nosy Crow
The Boy at the Back of the Class Rauf, Onjali Q Orion
Corey’s Rock Brahmachari, Sita Ray, Jane Otter-Barry Books
A Kid in My Class Rooney, Rachel Riddell, Chris Otter-Barry Books
The Legend of Kevin Reeve, Philip McIntyre, Sarah Oxford
The Eleventh Trade Hollingsworth, Alyssa Piccadilly
The Lost Magician Torday Piers Quercus
The Star-Spun Webb O’Hart, Sinead Stripes
The Phoenix of Persia Clayton, Sally Pomme Sharif ,Amin Hassanzadeh Tiny Owl
The Dog Who Lost His Bark Colfer, Eoin Lynch, P.J Walker Books
Cloud Boy Williams, Marcia Walker Books
The Dam Almond, David Pinfold, Levi Walker Books
A Year of Nature Poems Coehlo, Joseph Judd, Kelly Louise Wide Eyed Editions

Longlist 11-14+

Title Author Illustrator Translator Imprint
Monsters Dogar, Sharon Andersen Press
No Fixed Address Nielsen, Susin Andersen Press
Pay Attention Carter Jones Schmidt, Gary D Andersen Press
One Shot Landman, Tanya Barrington Stoke
Lark McGowan, Anthony Barrington Stoke
Weight of a Thousand Feathers Conaghan, Brian Bloomsbury
Toffee Crossan, sarah Bloomsbury
Gifted, talented and Me Sutcliff, William Bloomsbury
The Key to Flambards Newbery, Linda David Fickling Books
Bone Talk Gourlay, Candy David Fickling Books
Ghost Reynolds, jason Knights Of
The Skylark’s War McKay, Hilary Macmillan
Everything All At Once Camden, Steve Macmillan
Catching Teller Crow Kwaymullina, Ambelin Puffin
Lenny’s Book of Everything Foxlee,Karen Pushkin Press
Lampie and the Children of the Sea Schaap, Annet Watkinson, Laura Pushkin Press
The Burning Bates, laura Simon & Schuster
And the Ocean was our Sky Ness, Patrick Walker Books
Louis Undercover Britt, Fanny Arsenault, Isabelle Walker Studio

Information Books

Title Author Illustrator Translator Imprint
When the Stars Come Out Edwards, Nicola Cartwright, Lucy 360 Degrees
Born to Ride Theule, Larissa Garrity-Riley, Kelsey Abrams Books for Young Readers
Mary and Frankenstein Bailey, Linda Sardὰ,Jũlia Andersen Press
Once Upon a Raindrop Carter, James Nomoco Caterpillar books
Child of St Kilda Waters, Beth Childs Play
The Lost Book of Adventure Keen, Teddy Frances Lincoln
The Element in the Room Barfield, Mike Humphrey, Lauren Laurence King Publishing
A Book of Bears Viggers, Katie Laurence King Publishing
Counting on Katherine Becker, Helaine Phumiruk, Dow Macmillan
Free to be Me Dom & Ink Penguin
On the Origin of Species Radeva, Sabina Puffin
Questions I am Asked about the Holocaust Fried, Heidi Scribe
A History of Pictures for Children Hockney,David and Gayford, Martin Blake, Rose Thames & Hudson
Bright Sparks O’Doherty, Owen The O’Brien Press
Life: The First Four Billion Years Jenkins,Martin Baker-Smith, Grahame Walker Studio
Absolutely Everything Lloyd, Christopher Forshaw, Andy What on Earth Publishing
Eye Spy: Wild Ways Animals See the World Duprat,Guillaume What on Earth Publishing
Boy oh Boy Leek, Cliff Rohlmann, Bene Wide Eyed Editions

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