• Teachers’ highest accolade also goes to Carnegie winner Katya Balen • First ever joint winners in 3-6+ category • Diverse and inclusive choices celebrated

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 Three judges from each of the four category panels are nominated by their colleagues to go on to form the final judging panel to decide the UKLA 2022 winners. They read the shortlists from all four categories regardless of the age group they teach.  This was the first time such a panel had been able to meet in person for two years and it produced the passionate debate that characterises the impact of these awards. As judge Theresa Gooda said “It was a privilege to be able to read so many high quality books one after another, and it made for agonising decisions. The rare opportunity for such reflective book talk with colleagues, which then translated into rich classroom conversations with students, has been invaluable professional development.”

The judging criteria call for the selection to be from a “wide and inclusive range” of publishers and for books which “recognise a broad range of perspectives, experiences and voices” and this range is certainly demonstrated with four category winners who stretch from Guppy Books to the giant Puffin. 

For the first time in the history of the awards the judges felt compelled to award joint winners In the 3-6+ age category. Both Barbara Throws a Wobbler,  by Nadia Shireen (Puffin) and The Invisible by Tom Percival ( Simon & Schuster) were considered so exceptional in very different ways  that both deserved the highest accolade. Nadia Shireen was a previous winner with her debut picturebook, Good Little Wolf in 2013 and now joins the eminent ranks of double winners. Judges said Barbara Throws a Wobbler was a “joy” A very funny tale which  “delivers on reading for pleasure as well as helping us all to reflect on the universal impact of a bad day, teaching valuable lessons in empathy and allowing children to  talk about and understand their feelings”. Tom Percival’s haunting tale,The Invisible, beautifully and sensitively confronts the issue of being excluded by poverty. Judges felt this was an “important story which packs a real emotional punch” and should be “in every classroom”

The 7-10+ category winner, October, October by Katya Balen (Bloomsbury) also won this year’s Carnegie medal – a feat which has not been repeated in these awards since A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness in 2012. Praised by judges for the” beautiful use of language” which “really sounds like a child and yet is so poetic and complex” and provokes a  “strong emotional response” in all readers. The judges also wished to Highly Commend Front Desk, the debut novel from Kelly Yang (Knights Of) which draws on her own experience of moving from China to America and yet this “positive story of making new lives” clearly resonates with the lived experience of many children in the UK and provides a “really powerful message about resilience” in an accessible and entertaining package.

Carnegie shortlisted titles also went head-to-head in the 11-14+ category and after intense debate the judges chose Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam (HarperCollins) as their winner. This “breathtaking” verse novel “ where every word is so carefully chosen and laid out on the page”, relates a powerful and important true story of wrongful imprisonment which ‘”reduced students to tears.” The judges also wished to Highly Commend Tsunami Girlby Julian Sedgwick and Chie Kutsuwada,( Guppy Books)  for its “innovative” prose and manga structure which added depth to a story  blending global and personal tragedy and ancient and modern cultures in a “very powerful” way 

 Judges of the category of Information Books 3- 14+ also had difficult choices to make but selected the “accessible and beautiful” Nano where life in miniature is so skilfully explained by Dr Jess Wade and stunningly illustrated by Melissa Castrillon (Walker Books). With “so much learning in so few words”, powerfully representing for young readers “a truly diverse and gender positive look at the way the global community of scientists really works” , this was truly “ unique”.

As Chris Lockwood, Awards Chair said “In such a difficult year for schools, it was wonderful to see first-hand and in person the commitment and passion of our teacher judges.  The final panel of teacher judges spent a day in joyful and detailed debate about our four shortlists and have come up with some worthy winners. “

The fact that these shortlists are judged by class teachers and can be heartily recommended to their peers makes them particularly useful as co-sponsor Deborah McLaren, Director of Lovereading4kids said: “Yet again the UKLA produces an incredible selection of children’s books for the 2022 Awards. Many sit on our LoveReading4Kids Star Books list and I have enjoyed many personally; what a brilliant time for children’s literature. The only national awards to be judged entirely by teachers, the UKLA Awards are a special thing and we are delighted to be involved. Knowing how critical reading is to the outcomes of our children and understanding that it’s the key to unlocking the rest of the curriculum,makes these awards more important than ever. Thank you to the teacher judges who share the books first-hand with their students, all with the aim of encouraging reading for pleasure.

Bravo to everyone involved and long live the UKLA…thanks to all you do for reading for pleasure

Co- sponsor Reading Cloud are “really delighted to support these worthwhile and unique children’s book awards as co-sponsors again this year. We are always heartened to see so many dedicated teacher judges all over the UK working with the longlisted, shortlisted and winning books to inspire a love of reading in their pupil groups and beyond. Encouraging reading for enjoyment and improving literacy are very much at the heart of Reading Cloud and through our platform, pupils can review and recommend books, sharing their enthusiasm for reading through a variety of accessible and engaging tools and features.”

For UKLA, giving classroom practitioners the opportunity to read high quality 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. 

Once again teachers, student teachers and schools across the UK have been shadowing the final judging and are currently involved in voting for their favourites. Their winners will be announced live at the awards ceremony on July 1st at the UKLA International Conference in Birmingham 

For further information and to request an interview with winning authors and illustrators, or for images, please contact fao Chris Lockwood awards@ukla.org 

The Shortlists in full

3 to 6+                                      

Freedom We Sing written by Amyra León, illustrated by Molly Mendoza (Flying Eye)

What Happened to You? written by James Catchpole, illustrated by Karen George (Faber)

Pip and Egg written by Alex Latimer, illustrated by David Litchfield (Scholastic)

I’m (Almost) Always Kind written by Anna Milbourne illustrated by Asa Gilland, (Usborne)

The Invisible written and illustrated by Tom Percival (Simon & Schuster)

Barbara Throws a Wobbler written and illustrated by Nadia Shireen, (Puffin)

7 to 10+                                                

October, October written by Katya Balen, illustrated by Angela Harding  (Bloomsbury)

When Life Gives You Mangoes written by Kereen Getten (Pushkin Press)

When Stars are Scattered written and illustrated by Victoria Jamieson, with Omar Mohamed (Faber)

A Kind of Spark written by Elle McNicholl (Knights Of)

The Valley of Lost Secrets written by Lesley Parr (Bloomsbury)

Front Desk written by Kelly Yang (Knights Of)

11 to 14+                                              

The Short Knife written by Elen Caldecott (Andersen)

When the World Was Ours written by Liz Kessler (Simon & Schuster)

Tsunami Girl     written by Julian Sedgwick, illustrated by Chie Kutsuwada (Guppy Books)

The Outlaws Scarlett and Browne written by Jonathan Stroud (Walker)

Cane Warriors  written by Alex Wheatle (Andersen)

Punching The Air written by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam (HarperCollins)

Information Books 3-14+                                              

Fourteen Wolves written by Catherine Barr, illustrated by Jenni Desmond (Bloomsbury)

What’s the T? written by Juno Dawson, illustrated by soofiya (Wren & Rook)

Modern Art Explorer written by Alice Harman, illustrated by Serge Bloch (Thames and Hudson)

The Great Barrier Reef written by Helen Scales, illustrated by Lisk Feng, (Flying Eye)

Ultimate Gamer- Career Mode written by Craig Steele, illustrated by Berat Pekmezci (Kingfisher)

Nano written by Dr Jess Wade, illustrated by Melissa Castrillon (Walker)

Notes to Editors

About UKLA

 UKLA is a registered charity, which has as its sole object the advancement of education in literacy. UKLA is committed to promoting good practice nationally and internationally in literacy and language teaching and research. The Association was founded in 1963 as the United Kingdom Reading Association. In 2003 it changed its name to the United Kingdom Literacy Association, to reflect more accurately its wider range of focus and interest.

UKLA especially supports the development of approaches to literacy learning and teaching which underpin these understandings. The Association recognises the significance for effective language and communication learning of literature, drama, the visual media, non-fiction texts and information technology, as well as welcoming approaches to teaching which draw on the resources of a wide range of cultures and which are informed by a detailed understanding of how literacy and language work.

About Reading Cloud

Sponsors Reading Cloud have over 30 years’ experience providing feature rich innovative software for schools and 6th form colleges. Our intuitive & flexible library systems support several thousand schools with managing their libraries and reading resources. Engaging their students in reading, supporting independent learning, promoting reading for pleasure and in improving literacy, with a growing 4.5 million active borrowers worldwide.

Reading Cloud provides all the tools and functionality needed for day-to-day school library management as well as a safe online student reading community to ensure all students are able to develop long lasting positive attitudes to reading.

To find out more visit www.ess-readingcloud.co.uk 

About LoveReading4Schools and LoveReading4Kids

LoveReading4Kids is the biggest and best recommendation site for children’s books: reading, reviewing and recommending so that the children in your life find their next favourite book.

Since 2005 families across the nation have trusted their experts to curate a steady stream of wonderful books for every age range.

You can read opening extracts to try before you buy, you can search by age range or even select by genre if you know your child has a love of a particular subject or theme.

You can utilise their live price comparison engine, found on every book page, to enable you to get the best deal from your favourite online retailer, or support and buy from over 300,000 independent bookstores across the country.

You can track the books your child wants to read, the books your child has read and it even enables them to rate the books and get their book reviews published on the site.

You can become part of their community for free and subscribe to their personalised newsletters which help you keep up to date with the latest and greatest book releases while receiving recommendations tailored to your child.

To further cement their offering, they have The Book Box from LoveReading4Kids making it super easy to give the gift of a book to all children from toddlers to teens.

And earlier this year they launched the LoveReading LitFest, a digitally native, all-year-round, subscription-based books and literature festival. With a burgeoning kids programme it’s a great way to further encourage reading for pleasure with brilliant author events, all interviewed by their reading ambassadors. Find out more here

At LoveReading it’s all about sharing book love and LoveReading4Schools is a critical part of this and one they take very seriously. As a community they believe they have a social responsibility to support time-strapped teachers and librarians in schools to help engender a lifelong love of reading in their students.

The site has tons of functionality to encourage a reading for pleasure culture in schools and homes across the country. The website offers schools an easy, impartial and free way to create and share recommended reading lists or the school’s own tailored lists with their parents and pupils, offering age-appropriate books as well as themed collections of titles. This includes an annually updated set of reading recommendation lists for every year group from Early Years to Year 11.

There are also specialist categories for Reluctant and Dyslexic Readers that can make a real difference to those who struggle with their reading.

Visit the websites LoveReading.co.uk, LoveReading4Kids and LoveReading4Schools.co.uk

Past Winners



Look Up! Written by Nathan Bryon, illustrated by Dapo Adeola (Puffin)


Check Mates written by Stewart Foster (Simon & Schuster)

Highly Commended

Owen and the Soldier written by Lisa Thompson, illustrated by Mike Lowery (Barrington Stoke)   

11-14+ (Joint Winners)

Run Rebel written by Manjeet Mann (Penguin)

The Last Paper Crane     written by Kerry Drewery, illustrated by Natsko Seki (Hot Key)

Information Books 3-14+

The Undefeated written by Kwame Alexander, illustrated by Kadir Nelson (Andersen Press)



Mixed written and illustrated by Arree Chung (Macmillan)


The Eleventh Trade written by Alyssa Hollingsworth (Piccadilly Press)

11- 14+

No Fixed Address written by Susin Nielsen (Andersen Press)

Information Books 3-14+

Counting on Katherine written by Helaine Becker and illustrated by Dow Phumiruck  (Macmillan)

 Highly Commended

A Child of St.  Kilda written and illustrated by Beth Waters (Child’s Play)



After the Fall written and illustrated by Dan Santat         (Andersen Press)


The Explorer written by Katherine Rundell, illustrated by Hannah Horn (Bloomsbury)

Highly Commended

Running on Empty written by S. E. Durrant, illustrated by Rob Biddulph (Nosy Crow)


Long Way Down written by Jason Reynolds, illustrated by Chris Priestly (Faber)

Highly Commended

The Poet X written by Elizabeth Acevedo (Egmont Electric Monkey)


3-6:  Colin and Lee, Carrot and Pea written and illustrated by Morag Hood (Two Hoots)

7-11: (Joint Winners) Lesser Spotted Animals written and illustrated by Martin Brown (David Fickling Books)

Welcome to Nowhere written by Elizabeth Laird and illustrated by Lucy Eldridge (Macmillan)

12-16: Come Apart written by Sarah Crossan and Brian Conaghan (Bloomsbury)


3-6:  There’s a Bear on MY Chair written and illustrated by Ross Collins (Nosy Crow)

7-11: The Journey written and illustrated by Francesca Sanna (Flying Eye Books)

12-16: The Reluctant Journal of Henry K Larsen written by Susin Nielsen (Andersen Press)

Highly Commended: The Marvels written and illustrated by Brian Selznick (Scholastic)


3-6: Little Red and the Very Hungry Lion written and illustrated by Alex.T. Smith, (Scholastic)

Highly Commended: On Sudden Hill written by Linda Sarah and illustrated by Benji Davies (Simon & Schuster)

7-11: The Imaginary written by A.F. Harrold and illustrated by Emily Gravett (Bloomsbury)

Highly Commended: The Boundless written by Kenneth Oppel, (David Fickling)

12-16+ : The Lie Tree by Francis Hardinge( Macmillan)


3-6: The Day the Crayons Qui written by Drew Daywalt and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers (HarperCollins)

7-11: Oliver and the Seawigs written and illustrated by Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre, (Oxford University Press)

Highly Commended 7-11 Award: Us Minus Mum written by Heather Butler (Little,Brown)

12-16: Every Day written by David Levithan (Egmont)


3-6:  This is not my Hat written and illustrated by Jon Klassen (Walker Books)

Highly Commended 3-6 Award: Open Very Carefully written by Nick Bromley and illustrated by Nicola O’Byrne (Nosy Crow)

7- 11: The Story of the Blue Planet written by Andri Snær Magnason, translated  by Julian Meldon D’Arcy and illustrated by Áslaug Jónsdóttir (Pushkin Press)

12- 16:  Now is the Time for Running written by Michael Williams, (Tamarind Books, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books)


3 – 6: Good Little Wolf written and illustrated by Nadia Shireen (Jonathan Cape)

7 – 11: The Weight of Water written by Sarah Crossan (Bloomsbury)

12- 16:  Code Name Verity written by Elizabeth Wein (Electric Monkey)


3 – 6: Iris and Isaac written and illustrated by Catherine Rayner (Little Tiger Press)

7 – 11: Sky Hawk written by Gill Lewis (Oxford University Press)

12 – 16: A Monster Calls written by Patrick Ness and illustrated by Jim Kay (Walker)


3-11:   Birdsong written and illustrated by Ellie Sandall (Egmont)

12-16: Out of Shadows written by Jason Wallace (Andersen Press) 


3-11:  Then, written by Morris Gleitzman (Puffin) 

12-16: The Graveyard Book written by Neil Gaiman and illustrated by Chris Riddell ( (Bloomsbury)

Special commendation: Tales from Outer Suburbia written and illustrated by Shaun Tan, (Templar)


3-11: Archie’s War written and illustrated by Marcia Williams (Walker)

Highly commended 3-11: The Invention of Hugo Cabret written and illustrated by  Brian Selznick  (Scholastic)

12-16: Bog Child written by Siobhan Dowd (David Fickling – Random House Children’s Books)


Picture book category: Penguin, written and illustrated by Polly Dunbar (Walker )

Here lies Arthur written by Philip Reeve, (Scholastic)

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