LoveReading4Schools and LoveReading4Kids are proud to be award sponsors.
In what may apparently be the ill-omened 13th year of these unique book awards, which are the only national awards judged by active classroom teachers, there have been some unique challenges because of the difficulties created by the global pandemic. As publisher submissions were invited, publishers were in lockdown, distribution warehouses were closed and in some cases, it proved impossible to get physical books delivered to the longlisting panels (composed of experienced past teacher judges, ex-teachers, librarians and consultants) Yet despite this, there were 410 submissions across the four categories and the panellists coped with reading pdf copies and the two full days of online selection discussions to arrive at the longlists.
Awards Chair, Christine Lockwood, said “The quality of the submissions this year was simply outstanding and the choices the panels had to make were very difficult, under difficult circumstances, but we are very proud of these lists and know that these quality texts will have a real impact in the classrooms of the teacher judges”
The lists highlight a diverse range of authors from exciting debuts to prize-winners and best-sellers. Of particular note is the dominance of small publishing houses like Scallywag Press, Guppy Books, Boxer Books, Tiny Owl, Lantana, Cicada Books , What on Earth Publishing, Knights Of and Firefly Press etc. All the books exemplify the award criteria’s aim of encouraging teachers’ knowledge of high-quality children’s books that can reflect all identities and promote diversity.
This year the teacher judges for Fiction and Poetry again come from the Midlands, with the 2021 UKLA International Conference, at which the eventual winners are announced, being held at Jury’s Inn, Godstow Road, Oxford. The judging of the category for Information Books is taking place in London. There are 65 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, hopefully in person, 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.
UKLA are grateful for the continued support of the award sponsors, which help the awards to grow and develop each year. Capita Reading Cloud, Lovereading4schools and Lovereading4kids, recognise the value of the judging experience for schools and teachers:
“LoveReading4Schools and its sister site LoveReading4Kids are delighted to again support the UKLA Book Awards. We’ve had an incredibly busy year reading, reviewing and recommending more books than ever and supporting families and schools across the nation to engender a love of reading. Our mission to share book love by offering the tools, advice and information needed to help our loyal book loving audience to find their next favourite book has never been more important.
With over 11,000 schools signed up to our site, downloading book extracts, utilising our recommended reading lists, we have an important role to play. And of course hundreds of thousands of people engage with LoveReading4Kids to find books that really reflect the children of today. We are excited to also announce that we are launching the LoveReading4Kids Book Boxes this October – making it easy for people to give the gift of a book to the children in their life.
This is another wonderful longlist, a gorgeous selection of books that deserve to be celebrated. The only awards to be judged entirely by teachers, the UKLA Awards are a special thing, ensuring that the teacher judges can share the books with their classes and really find out first hand what engages, delights, educates and inspires. The awards are equally valuable for parents looking to support the school environment and further encourage reading for pleasure. We are excited to see which books shine through this year, but they are all stars!” Deborah Maclaren Managing Director of Lovereading4Kids.
/>For more information on the UKLA Award visit www.ukla.org/awards or @UKLA