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For the first time ever the awards that come with the teachers’ guarantee that these are the books which get their classes reading have an author shortlisted simultaneously in two age categories. Philip Reeve’s creative partnership with Sarah McIntyre will be looking to repeat their 2015 triumph in the 7-11 category. But they face stiff competition from another previous winner Gill Lewis who won with her debut novel, Sky Hawk in 2012. Debut authors Ross Welford and S.E.Durrant will see that as a very good omen. Completing the 7-11 list is the 2014 shortlisted author Katherine Rundell and the Kate Greenaway longlisted title The Journey by Francesca Sanna: a powerful picturebook which teacher judges described as “taking children to new experiences outside their own”.
Philip Reeve’s science fiction Railhead secured his second shortlisting in the 12-16 category, but once again he is up against stiff competition with the previously Highly Commended Brian Selznick. They both face competition from a cosmopolitan list which features Selznick’s American compatriot Gary.D.Schmidt, Canadian Susin Nielsen and Alaskan Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock’s Carnegie longlisted debut title. Joining Philip in representing home grown talent is previously shortlisted award winner Jenny Valentine .
The 3-6 category sees Benji Davies repeating his 2016 shortlisting and hoping to improve upon his Highly Commended award. He will be up against Greenaway winner Emily Gravett, the inaugural Amnesty CILIP Honour winner, Ross Collins, Roald Dahl Funny Prize winning Jim Field in a new partnership with Rachel Bright and impressive debuts from Lucy Ruth Cummings and David Litchfield.
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:
There have been so many great spin-offs from that initial decision to get involved: seeing teachers who had never been big readers catching the reading bug, avid readers who found a whole new treasure trove of books to keep them up reading till the small hours, colleagues queuing up to borrow the books and so many children inspired to share this reading journey with them. Jess Anderson, Group Leader
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:
Teacher judges in education authorities across Scotland clearly delighted in opportunities to discuss the best of newly- published, quality books with teacher colleagues and to share these books with children and young people in their classrooms.
12 teachers nominated from the 55 involved in the shortlisting, who came from Aberdeen City, North Ayrshire, Dundee, Edinburgh, East Lothian, Falkirk and Renfrewshire, 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 June 30th at the UKLA International Conference, University of Strathclyde
The Lion Inside written by Rachel Bright and illustrated by Jim Field (Orchard Books)
There's a Bear on MY Chair written and illustrated by Ross Collins (Nosy Crow)
A Hungry Lion or A Dwindling Assortment of Animals written and illustrated by Lucy Ruth Cummins (Simon & Schuster)
Grandad's Island written and illustrated by Benji Davies(Simon & Schuster)
Tidy written and illustrated by Emily Gravett (Two Hoots)
The Bear and the Piano written and illustrated by David Litchfield (Frances Lincoln)
Little Bits of Sky written by S.E Durrant and illustrated by Katie Harnett (Nosy Crow)
Gorilla Dawn written by Gill Lewis(Oxford University Press)
Pugs of the Frozen North written and illustrated by Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre (Oxford University Press)
The Wolf Wilder written by Katherine Rundell and illustrated by Gelrev Ongbico (Bloomsbury)
The Journey written and illustrated by Francesca Sanna (Flying Eye Books)
Time Travelling with a Hamster written by Ross Welford (HarperCollins)
The Smell of Other People's Houses written by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock (Faber &Faber)
The Reluctant Journal of Henry K Larsen written by Susin Nielsen (Andersen Press)
Orbiting Jupiter written by Gary .D. Schmidt (Andersen Press)
Railhead written by Philip Reeve (Oxford University Press)
The Marvels written and illustrated by Brian Selznick (Scholastic)
Fire Colour One written by Jenny Valentine (HarperCollins)
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