UKLA Book Award 2016: Shortlists Announced

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Following close on the heels of the YA Book Prize and CILIP Carnegie Medal shortlists, Frances Hardinge is now in with a chance to make it a clean sweep of awards for The Lie Tree with her place on the 12-16 shortlist of the “teachers’ Carnegie” UKLA Book Awards,which are the only awards judged by teachers. She will face stiff competition from fellow Carnegie competitors Marcus Sedgwick and Nick Lake as well as award winners Sally Gardner, Jennifer Niven and Sally Nicholls.

There are three age categories in these unique awards and, unlike other awards, the so called Middle Grade authors get their own showcase in the 7-11 award, which has an even more unusual first time listing for two information books. The Atlas of Adventures by Lucy Letherland and Rachel Williams together with The Pilot and the Little Prince by Peter Sís will be battling it out with A.F. Harrold, Eoin Colfer, Sam Gayton and Kenneth Oppel.

The 3-6 category will be equally challenging for the likes of Rebecca Cobb, Alex T Smith, Richard Byrne, Bénédicte Guettier and the successful partnerships of Alexis Deacon with Viviane Schwarz and Linda Sarah with Benji Davis.

All three age categories once again show the fresh perspective that class teachers can bring to the judging process in their search for books which can “enhance all aspects of literacy learning”,as required by the criteria. This makes them particularly useful as co-sponsor Peter Crawshaw, Director and Co-founder of Lovereading4kids 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. We can't wait to see the eventual winners as the shortlisted books are all simply excellent”

The enthusiastic judging discussions revealed how much teachers welcomed the opportunity to widen their knowledge of recent children’s titles and enjoyed talking together in order to decide which books would best match the criteria for the award:

“A great opportunity to enjoy high quality texts and share them with children “(Rebecca Thomson 3-6 award); “it made me read books I wouldn't have considered before” (Charlotte Ball 7-11 award); “a fantastic opportunity to access new and exciting fiction” (Kathryn Deady 12- 16 award)

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:

“Bristol teacher judges clearly delighted in the opportunity not only to discuss the best of newly- published, quality books with teacher colleagues, lecturers from the universities of the West of England and Bath Spa and local consultants but also to share these books with children and young people in their classrooms”

12 teachers nominated from the 60 involved in the shortlisting will now form the final judging panel and have the challenging task of reading all the shortlisted books in all three age categories, which will mean nursery teachers reading fiction for teenagers and secondary teachers reading picturebooks! The three winners will be announced at a wine reception on July 8th during the UKLA 52nd International Conference in Bristol.

View the 2016 shortlists in full

For further information and to request an interview with the shortlisted authors and illustrators, or for images, please contact fao Lynda Graham [email protected]