UKLA Book Award Winners 2015: Impact, originality and illustration are key to teachers’ winners
The unique UKLA Book Awards are the only awards judged entirely by teachers. Their choice of winning books which can “enhance all aspects of literacy learning” clearly demonstrates the fresh perspective that class teachers bring to the judging process. They are able to share the books with their classes and genuinely discover what works with young readers. As well as endorsing the popular appeal of Red House winner, The Day the Crayons Quit they have selected an international author not previously recognised in the UK, a debut author not afraid of difficult topics and echoed the new Children’s Laureate in his emphasis on the importance of illustrated books in creating reading enthusiasm.
David Reedy, President of UKLA said ‘We know that literature broadens the reader’s experience of the world and sense of the possible and thus should have a central place in classrooms and educational contexts. Children need access to a rich range of high quality literature and our awards highlight some of the very best literature currently available to children and young people in the UK. We are proud to be celebrating these truly outstanding winners at our 51st International Conference.’
The Award winners for the book categories 3 to 6, 7 to11 and 12 to16+ years were announced and presented at a wine reception at the UKLA International Conference at the National College for Teaching and Leadership, Nottingham on July 10th 2015.
The winning book in the 12 to16+ category is Every Day by David Levithan, published by Egmont.
Every day, A wakes up in a new body and has to live that person’s life doing no harm to the host. However, when A falls in love, lives are changed and hosts become aware of what is happening to them. This is a highly original book which is handled with real integrity. Levithan offers readers glimpses of some of the quandaries of teenage life, but never offers superficial answers. Teacher judges described Every Day as ‘a brilliant and important book’.
The winning book in the 7 to 11 category is Oliver and the Seawigs by Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre, published by Oxford University Press
Judges loved Oliver and the Seawigs because it truly ‘captures the joy of reading.’ When Oliver’s parents go missing, he searches for them, gradually gathering an eccentric group of new friends including a wandering isle called Cliff. Though the combination of words and pictures make Oliver and the Seawigs a perfect book for children who have developed little stamina as readers, it has been written and illustrated with such wit and so many highly original ideas that, as one of the judges said, ‘it reaches out to everyone.’
For the first time ever the judges also presented a Highly Commended 7-11 Award to Us Minus Mum by Heather Butler, published by Little,Brown
Us Minus Mum is, as you’d expect from the title, a book about bereavement. The story follows George’s mum from her diagnosis to her death. What makes it a ‘brilliant, brilliant book’ is that Heather Butler creates a very happy, completely believable family who mourn mum, but honour her life through happiness as well as sorrow. There isn’t a shred of sentimentality in this ‘honest, powerful and insightful novel.’
The winning book for the 3 to 6 category is The Day the Crayons Quit written by Drew Daywalt and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers, published by HarperCollins
Fed up with the way they are misused, Duncan’s crayons each write him a letter of complaint. The Day the Crayons Quit is a very funny book which encourages children to be adventurous and creative. Like all the very best picture books, there is plenty here to delight adults as well as children. The theme of our responsibility for the happiness of others is explored in remarkable ways. As one of the judges said: ‘I don’t know how you could do more in so few words and so few pages.’
For further information and to request an interview with the shortlisted authors and illustrators, or for images, please contact fao Lynda Graham firstname.lastname@example.org