UKLA is pleased to announce the shortlist for the 2021 Academic Book Award!

Find out more about the five shortlisted books leading the way for this year's award.

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The five books selected for the shortlist all make unique contributions to the field. Each foregrounds the growing emphasis on a wider interpretation of the notion of literacy and communication skills. Three deal principally with the development of reading skills. Marshall, Manuel, Pasternak and Rowsell present an edited collection offering reflection on literacy practices by researchers from around the world, while Boerman-Cornell and Yung Kim draw attention to the contribution that study of graphic novels can make to understanding of literature and the world. Kucirkova also focuses on a specific genre, that of digital books, making suggestions as to how both reading and creating such can contribute to the development of literacy skills. In their edited collection reporting on the international MakEY project, Blum-Ross, Kumpulainen and Marsh also draw attention to an approach to developing digital literacy skills and creativity. Finally, Smagorinsky et al describe a literacy curriculum development initiative within a teacher education programme in Mexico.

The shortlist was chosen by the UKLA Awards committee. The final panel will be chaired by Morag Styles, Emeritus Fellow, Homerton College, University of Cambridge.

The winner will be announced at the UKLA International Conference July 2021. 

Shortlist: UKLA Academic Book Award 2021

Alicia Blum-Ross, Kristiina Kumpulainen & Jackie Marsh (eds)  Enhancing Digital Literacy and Creativity      (Routledge)

William Boerman-Cornell & Yung Kim   Using Graphic Novels in the English Language Arts Classroom      (Bloomsbury)

Natalia Kucirkova How and Why to Read and Create Children’s Digital Books    (UCL Press)           

Bethan Marshall, Jacqueline Manuel, Donna L. Pasternak and Jennifer Rowsell (eds)  The Bloomsbury Handbook of Reading Perspectives and Practices     (Bloomsbury)

Yolanda Gayol Ramírez, and Patricia Rosas Chávez and Peter Smagorinsky (eds) Developing Culturally and Historically Sensitive Teacher Education – Global Lessons from a Literacy Education Centre (Bloomsbury)

Enhancing Digital Literacy and Creativity  Alicia Blum-Ross, Kristiina Kumpulainen & Jackie Marsh (eds) (Routledge)

This volume presents the results of the MakEY project, a project which shows a new way forward for education based on exploration of how young children gain digital literacies in ‘makerspaces’. Results from a range of countries worldwide highlight the need to adapt how children are taught in schools to accommodate the changing word of communications and digital development. The project investigates how hands-on experimentation with a variety of materials, both traditional and contemporary digital tools, can help children in their development of play, creativity and storytelling. Such an approach to learning involves a wide range of skill sets including critical thinking, learning to learn, as well as social participation and influence. The research is based on the eight years and below age group but could be adapted to use with older groups.

Using Graphic Novels in the English Language Arts Classroom   William Boerman-Cornell & Yung Kim (Bloomsbury)

This book explores and celebrates the potential of graphic novels, a type of text that is sometimes overlooked by teachers of English and literacy in secondary and upper KS2. It discusses the distinctive character of graphic novels with suggestions and examples of their possible use not only in English but also other subjects in the curriculum.  There are varied and detailed examples of graphic novel titles with reproductions of some pages and suggestions about the ways they could be used to teach specific aspects.  Many of the suggested texts display a range of characters and issues that reflect diverse cultures and populations both through illustration and text. 

How and Why to Read and Create Children’s Digital Books  Natalia Kucirkova (UCL Press)           

A very salient book for the times we are living in, this book supports teachers in evaluating the quality of on-line and digital books, as well as offering practical ways digital literacy can support young readers.  Kucirkova, a leading expert in this field, has written a book which is both eloquent and easy to engage with, that provides research-informed insights and inspiration regarding the world of e-books and apps.

The Bloomsbury Handbook of Reading Perspectives and Practices  Bethan Marshall, Jacqueline Manuel, Donna L. Pasternak and Jennifer Rowsell (eds) (Bloomsbury)

This book draws together a wealth of knowledge on reading practices from different authors from around the world. It includes research that defines as well as challenges and covers a broad age range. Chapters feature elements that range from biliteracy development to authentic reading in the classroom, with each section prompting the reader to consider the real purpose of reading and literacy. Bringing in new perspectives to more well-known aspects such as reader response, it helps the reader to recognise the complexities of education, reading, and language assumptions and their continuing evolution. This book has a wide appeal and will be useful to teachers, lecturers, pre-service teachers and academics through its ability to provoke thought and discourse, as well as giving practical classroom application.

Developing Culturally and Historically Sensitive Teacher Education Peter Smagorinsky, Yolanda Gayol Ramírez, and Patricia Rosas Chávez (eds) (Bloomsbury)

This book describes work undertaken at the University of Guadalajara in Mexico to redefine the purpose of its teacher education programme, named “Letros par Volar” (Literacy to Soar).  This volume of the series “Reinventing Teacher Education” describes the ambitious process of re-imagining the curriculum for pre-service and serving teachers in the context of Mexico’s complex history, cultures and languages.  It introduces the concept of translanguaging, of literacy as multifaceted and multisensory rather than multimodal.  The contributors assert that concepts of literacy need to be freed from their original cultural constraints in order to ensure that it is seen as a human right.

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