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UKLA Book AWards shortlists announced

8th Apr 19

The shortlists for the UKLA Book Awards, selected by teachers, have been announced. The shortlists highlight quality children's books that can also be used in the classroom. A panel of ten teachers will go on to choose the winning books.

Verse novels dominate teachers' choices and reflect the 12% increase in sales of poetry last year reported by Nielsen Bookscan.

Sarah Crossan, who won the 12-16 category in 2018 with We Come Apart, a verse novel co-authored with Brian Conaghan, won her first UKLA Book Award in 2013 with her debut novel Weight of Water, also written in verse. If Crossan wins the award with her current book, Moonrise, she would become the first triple winner in UKLA history.

The judges look for books that will "enhance all aspects of literacy learning", and support teachers in widening their knowledge of quality, contemporary children's books. Teacher Laurel Smith said, "I loved having a hoard of new books to read and enjoy. What has been particularly rewarding has been seeing how sharing the books with the children in my Y6 class has sparked the inner bookworm in so many of them."

UKLA has said that 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 for new books.

10 teachers nominated from the 58 involved in the shortlisting, who came from Midlands region around Sheffield, 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 winners will be announced on July 12th at the UKLA International Conference at Sheffield Hallam University.

These are the shortlists in full:

3-6 Years

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

The Last Wolf written and illustrated by Mini Grey (Jonathan Cape)

Bob's Blue Period written and illustrated by Marion Deuchars (Laurence King)

Stardust written by Jeanne Willis and illustrated by Briony May Smith (Nosy Crow)

The Big Book of the Blue written and illustrated by Yuval Zommer (Thames and Hudson)

I Am Bat written and illustrated by Morag Hood (Two Hoots)

7-11 Years

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

Running on Empty written by SE Durrant, illustrated by Rob Biddulph (Nosy Crow)

Sky Dancer written by Gill Lewis (Oxford)

The Wild Robot written and illustrated by Peter Brown (Piccadilly)

The Murderer's Ape written and illustrated by Jakob Wegelius. Translated by Peter Graves (Pushkin Press)

Kick written by Mitch Johnson (Usborne Publishing)

12-16 Years

Moonrise written by Sarah Crossan (Bloomsbury)

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

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

Piglettes written and translated by Clementine Beauvais (Pushkin Press)

After the Fire written by Will Hill (Usborne Publishing)

Mary's Monster: Love, Madness and How Mary ShelleyCreated Frankenstein written and illustrated by Lita Judge (Wren and Rook)

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