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UKLA Book Awards - 2021

Find out which books teachers think are the best! The winners of the UKLA 2021 Awards, sponsored by LoveReading4Kids, LoveReading4Schools and Capita Reading Cloud, have been announced. Find the winning books below plus the full shortlist and longlisted titles, in 3-6, 7-10 and 11-14 age ranges plus the Information Books category.

Jump to:
3-6 UKLA Winner, Shortlisted & Longlisted Titles
7-10 UKLA Winner, Shortlisted & Longlisted Titles
11-14 UKLA Winner, Shortlisted & Longlisted Titles
Information Books 3 - 14+ Winner, Shortlisted & Longlisted Titles

UKLA Book Awards - 2021: 3-6 UKLA Winner, Shortlist & Longlist

Winner: Look Up!

Actor and screen writer Nathan Byron has teamed with illustrator and character designer Dap Adeola to create a stunning and endearing new character called Rocket for their first venture into picturebooks. This is a little girl to inspire us all with her passion for space and the natural world just like she is inspired by her heroine Mae Jemison, ...

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Highly Commended: Tibble and Grandpa

A touching intergenerational story of love and resilience. Tibble loves talking to Grandpa. But Grandpa has stopped listening. Mum says just give him time. But Tibble wants to talk to Grandpa now. . . So Tibble tries his favourite game -TOP THREES! And something amazing happens. Grandpa starts talking again . . . A moving story about love, loss, and the wonder of families.

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It's a No-Money Day

Kate Milner

Paperback

In Stock

£7.19 £7.99

One Fox

Kate Read

Paperback

In Stock

£7.19 £7.99

Brenda Is a Sheep

Morag Hood

Paperback

In Stock

£7.19 £7.99

Hey, Water!

Antoinette Portis

Hardback

In Stock

£11.69 £12.99

Where Happiness Begins

Eva Eland

Hardback

In Stock

£11.69 £12.99

A Bite in the Night

Julian Gough

Paperback

In Stock

£6.29 £6.99

Fair Shares

Pippa Goodhart

Paperback

In Stock

£6.29 £6.99

Sofia Valdez, Future Prez

Andrea Beaty

Hardback

In Stock

£11.69 £12.99

The Worrysaurus

Rachel Bright

Paperback

In Stock

£6.29 £6.99

Hello, Friend!

Rebecca Cobb

Paperback

In Stock

£7.19 £7.99

My Hair

Hannah Lee

Paperback

In Stock

£7.19 £7.99

Look Up!

Nathan Bryon

Paperback

In Stock

£7.19 £7.99

Sulwe

Lupita Nyong'o

Hardback

Not Available

No Longer Alone

Joseph Coelho

Paperback

Not Available

The Last Tiger

Petr Horacek

Hardback

In Stock

£10.80 £12.00

My Friend Earth

Patricia MacLachlan

Hardback

Temporarily Out Of Stock

£11.69 £12.99

I Am Brown

Ashok Banker

Hardback

Not Available

How About a Night Out?

Sam Williams

Paperback

In Stock

£7.19 £7.99

UKLA Book Awards - 2021: 7-11 UKLA Winner, Shortlist & Longlist

Winner: Check Mates

What a luminously life-enhancing read this is. The story of ADHD afflicted underdog Felix, who “can’t concentrate or keep still”. His East German Granddad now (embarrassingly) drives the pink car that used to belong to his deceased Grandma, whose death has hit them all hard. Felix and Granddad’s grief is laid ...

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Highly Commended: Owen and the Soldier

A beautifully told, deeply moving story about how a boy finds a special way of remembering his soldier father. When Owen’s father dies fighting in Syria he finds himself caring for his mum who isn’t coping well. School becomes a struggle as he doesn’t want to tell anyone but he finds comfort and ...

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Lori and Max

Catherine O'Flynn

Paperback

In Stock

£6.29 £6.99

The Girl Who Speaks Bear

Sophie Anderson

Paperback

In Stock

£7.19 £7.99

Talking to the Moon

S. E. Durrant

Paperback

In Stock

£7.19 £7.99

Eagle Warrior

Gill Lewis

Paperback

In Stock

£7.19 £7.99

The Space We're In

Katya Balen

Paperback

In Stock

£7.19 £7.99

The Good Thieves

Katherine Rundell

Paperback

In Stock

£7.19 £7.99

Clean Getaway

Nic Stone

Paperback

In Stock

£7.19 £7.99

Guardians of Magic

Chris Riddell

Paperback

In Stock

£7.19 £7.99

The Time of Green Magic

Hilary McKay

Paperback

In Stock

£7.19 £7.99

The Star Outside my Window

Onjali Q. Raúf

Paperback

In Stock

£7.19 £7.99

The Somerset Tsunami

Emma Carroll

Paperback

In Stock

£7.19 £7.99

A Pocketful of Stars

Aisha Bushby

Paperback

In Stock

£6.29 £6.99

Patina

Jason Reynolds

Paperback

In Stock

£6.29 £6.99

Too Small Tola

Atinuke

Paperback

In Stock

£6.29 £6.99

UKLA Book Awards - 2021: 11-14 UKLA Winner, Shortlist & Longlist

Joint Winner: Run, Rebel

This debut novel was inspired by the author’s work creating Run the World, an organisation that empowers women and girls from marginalised backgrounds through sport and storytelling and the authenticity of this, at times harrowing story, is palpably evident. As is the skill of the accomplished writing which makes great use of typography and layout to really ...

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Joint Winner: The Last Paper Crane

This novel moves from poetry to prose, and back again, as it explores a girl’s relationship with her Grandfather.  Mizuki can see something is deeply troubling to her Grandfather Ichiro, but she can’t find its source, except it is somehow connected with an old book and Ichiro’s need to create origami paper ...

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Burn

Patrick Ness

Paperback

In Stock

£7.19 £7.99

The Enigma Game

Elizabeth Wein

Paperback

In Stock

£8.09 £8.99

Bearmouth

Liz Hyder

Paperback

In Stock

£8.09 £8.99

Clap When You Land

Elizabeth Acevedo

Paperback

In Stock

£7.19 £7.99

The M Word

Brian Conaghan

Paperback

In Stock

£7.19 £7.99

Gloves Off

Louisa Reid

Paperback

Not Available

Furious Thing

Jenny Downham

Hardback

In Stock

£11.69 £12.99

Look Both Ways

Jason Reynolds

Paperback

In Stock

£6.30 £7.00

The Black Flamingo

Dean Atta

Paperback

In Stock

£8.09 £8.99

Hello Now

Jenny Valentine

Paperback

In Stock

£7.19 £7.99

The Boxer

Nikesh Shukla

Paperback

In Stock

£8.09 £8.99

Sofa Surfer

Malcolm Duffy

Hardback

Not Available

On Midnight Beach

Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick

Paperback

In Stock

£7.19 £7.99

UKLA Book Awards - 2021: Information Books Winner, Shortlist & Longlist

Winner: The Undefeated

Written for and about “the swift and sweet ones/who hurdled history and opened a world of possible”, for those who “survived America by any means necessary. And the ones who didn’t,” this is an inspiring ode to the author’s forebears and to the world-changing feats of unforgettable Black American figures.

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Hidden Planet

Ben Rothery

Paperback

In Stock

£8.99 £9.99

The Missing

Michael Rosen

Hardback

In Stock

£8.09 £8.99

Rise Up

Amanda Li

Hardback

In Stock

£11.69 £12.99

Prisoners of Geography

Tim Marshall

Hardback

In Stock

£15.29 £16.99

Balloon to the Moon

Gill Arbuthnott

Hardback

In Stock

£15.29 £16.99

Humanimal

Christopher Lloyd

Hardback

In Stock

£11.69 £12.99

Gut Garden

Katie Brosnan

Hardback

In Stock

£12.59 £13.99

Planet SOS

Marie G. Rohde

Hardback

In Stock

£13.49 £14.99

We are Artists

Kari Herbert

Hardback

In Stock

£13.49 £14.99

The Big Book of Blooms

Yuval Zommer

Hardback

In Stock

£13.49 £14.99

River Stories

Timothy Knapman

Hardback

Not Available

Along the Tapajos

Fernando Vilela

Hardback

Temporarily Out Of Stock

£11.69 £12.99

LoveReading4Schools and LoveReading4Kids are proud to be award sponsors.

Winner of the 3-6 age category 

Look Up! by Nathan Bryon and Dapo Adeola

Highly Commended  - Tibble and Grandpa by Wendy Meddour and Danile Egneus.

Winner of the 7-10 age category

Check Mates by Stewart Foster

Highly Commended - Owen and the Soldier by Lisa Williamson

11-14 age category Joint Winners ( first time ever)

Run, Rebel by Manjeet Mann

The Last Paper Crane by Kerry Drewery

Winner in the Information Books category

The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander and Kadir Nelson

The 2021 UKLA Awards, the only national awards judged by class teachers, will always be remembered as the year when the entire judging process had to be conducted online, with the judging panel only meeting and discussing the titles virtually. Yet despite this the impassioned discussions demonstrated yet again the impact that quality texts can have upon the teacher judges and the students in their classes.

For UKLA, giving classroom practitioners the opportunity to read high quality new children’s books is as important as finding winning books. 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. 

“I have found that being involved in the UKLA judging process has reignited my enthusiasm and I have been so impressed by the diversity and richness of what is being written for young people. I have found powerful texts which really resonate and encourage the students I teach to explore new texts, or perhaps to rediscover the joy of reading”. Ruth Kidman Teacher Judge

As Chris Lockwood, Chair of the Book Awards, said “The UKLA is enormously proud of the commitment and resilience shown by our teacher judges for the 2021 Book Awards and of the stunningly diverse books which they have chosen as their winners. The quality of the judge’s discussions were a privilege to witness” 

The judging criteria call for the selection to be from a “wide and inclusive range” of publishers and for books which “recognise a broad range of perspectives, experiences and voices” and this is reflected in all four categories with themes of diversity, inclusion, empathy, inspiration  and own voices all represented amongst books which have proved  so effective in engaging readers.

The 3-6+ category has been won by Nathan Bryon and Dapo Adeola’s debut title Look Up! (Puffin).This was praised by judges for its ambitious, intelligent and inspiring female lead and as a story which sparked recognition for its relatable message and prompted intense discussion amongst the children who selected it to be read on a daily basis in classrooms. The judges also wished to Highly Commend Tibble and Grandpa by Wendy Meddour and Daniel Egnéus (Oxford) to reflect how moved children and adults were by this touching intergenerational tale of loss and resilience.

The 7-10+ category winner is Check Mates by Stewart Foster (Simon & Schuster), which the judges praised as a beautifully crafted and empathetic tale, and one which showed deep perception of characters and relationships and gave a sensitive portrayal of ADHD. It made complex ideas accessible, challenged stereotypes and was entirely unsentimental. Once again in a tightly contested category the judges also wished to Highly Commend Owen and the Soldier by Lisa Thompson (Barrington Stoke) , which deals so movingly with grief, remembrance and mental health in such a short and highly accessible format. 

For the first time in the 11-14+ category the judges felt compelled to award Joint winners. Both Run, Rebel by Manjeet Mann (Penguin) and The Last Paper Crane by Kerry Drewery (Hot Key) were considered so exceptional that both deserved the highest accolade. The extraordinary verse novel, Run Rebel, by debut British author Manjeet Mann, was praised for its complex representation, universal themes, and visceral emotional impact.  The powerful Hiroshima survivor story, The Last Paper Crane by Kerry Drewery was praised for its sensitive and compassionate handling of history, the enriching discussion that it provoked and for the fact that it was so cleverly constructed with the use of different text formats and with  the illustration by Natsuo Seki enriching th

e emotional impact.

The judges were unanimous in their choice of winner for the category of Information Books 3- 14+. The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander and Kadir Nelson ( Andersen) , uniquely could be creatively used across the whole age range and provide multiple impetus for further study. A book that is both beautiful and important, delivering universal messages with such powerful impact.

The fact that these shortlists are judged by class teachers and can be heartily recommended to their peers makes them particularly useful as co-sponsor Deborah McLaren, Director of Lovereading4kids said: “What a beautiful selection of winning books! Some of our absolute faves of the year; the UKLA committees and teacher judges have done a wonderful job of curating a stunning selection of quality texts and great reads to engage every age range. LoveReading4Kids and LoveReading4Schools are delighted to again partner with the UKLA to help encourage reading for pleasure and engender a lifelong love of reading in children”.

Once again teachers, student teachers and schools across the UK have been shadowing the final judging and are currently involved in voting for their favourites. Their winners will be announced live at the virtual awards ceremony on July 1st. This will be streamed via the UKLA YouTube Channel and the UKLA website. It is also hoped that restrictions will permit a live celebration and presentation of the trophies later in the year.

For more information on the UKLA Award visit  www.ukla.org/awards or @UKLA