The judges were delighted by this story of two polar bears, best friends who fall out, but who discover that nothing is quite as important as each other. This is a lovely moral for a beautifully illustrated story, where the exquisite use of colour and even the layout of the pictures and the text on the page help convey the emotion. The author demonstrates exceptional ability to convey both character and landscape with the minimum of detail. The ambitious, mature but perfectly selected language is excellent for developing vocabulary and provides a genuine learning opportunity for young readers.
Catherine Rayner said: ‘I am absolutely delighted Iris and Isaac have won this years ULKA award (3 – 6 category). It’s a huge honor to receive an award chosen by experienced teachers, who spend so much time with our little readers and understand exactly what they need from a picture book
This is the very well crafted tale of Callum and Iona, who are pushed into an important friendship when they discover the nest of an endangered osprey. It is a book of vivid, atmospheric descriptions which take the reader from Scotland to the Gambia and presents both human and environmental dilemmas and tragedies. It has much to appeal to both boys and girls. The judges were particularly struck by the lack of sentimentality in a book with genuinely involving characters that undergo a real learning experience which is shared by the reader
Gill Lewis said: ‘As a debut author, I’m thrilled to have won the prestigious UKLA Book Award! Stories play an essential role in our lives, allowing us to develop an understanding of ourselves, each other, and the world around us. I’m delighted to think that Sky Hawk had been voted for by teachers and will be bringing ospreys and conservation, amongst many things, right into the classroom.’
The judges found this to be a truly exceptional and outstanding novel of great power and beauty both in its wonderful use of language and in the extraordinarily well integrated illustrations by Jim Kay. This is an intense reading experience which enables all readers to explore the universal truths of death, grief and redemption in writing of tremendous economy, wit, humanity and profound wisdom.
Patrick Ness said It’s been an unbelievable year for A Monster Calls, and to have the teachers and literacy specialists of UKLA give it their award – from a ridiculously strong shortlist – is an incredible honour, especially in that it keeps people talking about Siobhan Dowd and gives them even more reasons to seek out her incredible books. Which is the best outcome I could ever have hoped for. Really, really chuffed.”
Jim Kay said ‘This is great news! It’s particularly heartwarming, as UKLA members are the people in direct contact with young readers. I have no doubt that everyone involved in the book will be honoured to receive this award. Thank you UKLA!’
Alayne Ӧztürk, President of UKLA said ‘UKLA is committed to the importance of literature for children and young people. We know that literature broadens the reader’s experience of life and sense of the possible and thus should have a central place in classrooms and educational contexts. The exceptional quality of the shortlists this year shows that the book trade continues to publish great titles by established and new authors’.