The 12th year of these unique book awards, which are the only national awards judged by active classroom teachers, sees a revision of the age boundaries and the creation of a new award category for information books, as well as revised judging criteria seeking to make the awards more diverse and inclusive. Submissions were particularly sought from small publishers and a record 422 submissions were received. These were read by an experienced panel of past teacher judges, ex-teachers, librarians and consultants and the resulting longlists reveal a strong showing for poetry and works in translation and featuring debut authors and debut publishers as well as more familiar names.
This year the teacher judges for Fiction and Poetry come from the Midlands region around Oxford, with the 2020 UKLA International Conference, at which the eventual winners are announced, being held at Jury’s Inn, Godstow Road, Oxford. The judging of the new category for Information Books is taking place in Scotland and being coordinated by St Anthony’s Primary in Renfrewshire, UKLA Literacy School of the Year in 2018. There are 70 judges in total covering the four categories and they have until mid-March to read the longlisted books, discuss them with their group leaders, and share them with pupils. All groups will then meet together for the difficult task of choosing their shortlist of 6 books in each category.
Headteachers welcomed the opportunity to receive new books for their schools and for their teachers to widen their knowledge of recent children’s titles. For UKLA, giving classroom practitioners the opportunity to read a number of new 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.
Lovereading4schools and Lovereading4kids are proud to be award sponsors.
“LoveReading4Schools and its sister site LoveReading4Kids are delighted to again support the UKLA Book Awards in 2020. Under new ownership the brand has been re-launched and the sites re-designed to bring them bang up-to-date and will continue to develop further to further support our mission to promote a love of books and reading by offering the tools, advice and information needed to help our members and browsers to find their next favourite book.
The fact that the teacher judges reflect on their students’ responses to the books gives these Awards huge credibility and trust so that schools know the books will be in turn loved by their own pupils. The awards are equally valuable for parents looking to support the school environment and further engender a love of reading at home.” Deborah Maclaren Director of LoveReading4Kids
The UKLA Selection Panel, chaired by Christine Lockwood, were pleased to highlight exciting debut authors as well as established and familiar names in children’s literature. Of particular note is the success of small publishing houses like Scallywag Press, Boxer Books, The O’Brien Press, What on Earth Publishing, Knights Of, Scribe, Alma Books and Child’s Play.
Chris Lockwood says: “the quality of the record number of submissions this year was of a particularly high standard and the panel had no easy task, but we are confident that the teachers and schools involved in the judging will benefit enormously from the impact of these quality texts in their schools” All of the books exemplify the new award criteria’s aim of encouraging teachers’ knowledge of high quality children’s books that can reflect all identities and promote diversity.
For more information on the UKLA Awards visit www.ukla.org/awards or @UKLA