The empowering non-fiction debut from footballer and child poverty campaigner Marcus Rashford and sports journalist Carl Anka, You Are a Champion, has been awarded Children's Non-Fiction Book of the Year and overall Book of the Year 2022 at this year’s British Book Awards, selected from a strong shortlist that included musician Sir Paul McCartney and bestselling author Meg Mason. Rashford was named the winner on Monday 23rd at Grosvenor House London in the first in-person British Book Awards ceremony since 2019, and the biggest yet.
Winning the overall Book of the Year continues Rashford’s legacy as an influential and integral figure in children’s publishing, following the launch of the Marcus Rashford Book Club in 2021 with Macmillan Children’s Books which has extended its partnership with the National Literacy Trust and KPMG for 2022. Beginning with the publication of You Are a Champion, Rashford and Macmillan have worked to donate books to children who otherwise would not get access, with partners including Magic Breakfast, the National Literacy Trust, BT and W H Smith.
Book of the Year judge, broadcaster and presenter Gabby Logan said: “Marcus Rashford wanted a book to inspire a generation of kids who are often hard to reach and for whom books might not have been a big part of their childhood. He and his publisher have succeeded spectacularly. The campaign to get his book into the right young hands was focused and brilliant, and sales of over 200,000 copies are testament to this. The messaging of You Are A Champion is wholesome and positive and another brilliant example of the legacy that Marcus is sure to leave behind when his playing days are long gone.”
Book of the Year judge, Lisa O’Kelly, associate editor, The Observer New Review, said: “ The judges felt the winning book needed to say something about the year we had last year, what the country had been through and how certain stellar individuals like Marcus Rashford spoke truth to power in a way that resonated with children and adults alike. You Are A Champion stood out as utterly sincere, coming from a place of kindness and goodwill. The way so many copies were put into the right hands - that is, young ones - free of charge spoke volumes about the heart and soul that went into this book.”
Fiction Book of the Year was awarded to Phil Earle for his incredible book When The Sky Falls which is a powerful story of friendship against the odds inspired by real events in World War II.
This book delivers a beautiful, powerful, and cohesive reading experience and it is outstanding in its gathering of talent to provide the illustrations to Adeola’s messages. It is a powerful, personal response to the murder of George Floyd and the awakening around the world to the Black Lives Matter movement. It is an honest and very personal letter to Adeola’s younger self, messages he wishes he had seen and heard at a young age, created now for the children of the future.
The messages apply to any child – and the illustrations show a diverse range of children and adults; the writing is simple, straightforward and obviously deeply felt, urging children to be themselves, be curious and love the skin you are in.
The British Book Awards aka ‘the Nibbies’ has been the leading awards for the book trade since 1990. The awards affirm, connect and energise all who have a hand in creating books and all who read them, by showcasing the authors and illustrators who have stirred our hearts and imaginations, and the industry behind the scenes who have brought them to readers. Judged by leading industry experts, authors, journalists and celebrities it is regarded as ‘the BAFTAs of the book trade’.