School Library Association Announces Winners of 2023 Information Book Award

Date: 23 November 2023

Today we are pleased to announce the winners of our 2023 Information Book Award, with children making their voices heard by crowning different winners to the judges in every category, showing a clear trend in children choosing to read information books for pleasure.  

The judges favoured titles touching on important parts of the curriculum, crowning ABC Pride their overall winner, written by Dr Elly Barnes MBE and Louie Stowell, illustrated by Amy Phelps (DK Children, 2022).  

The Judges’ Choice winners in each age category were: 

Age 7 and under: ABC Pride, written by Dr Elly Barnes MBE and Louie Stowell, illustrated by Amy Phelps (DK Children, 2022) 
Age 8 to 12: A World Full of Journeys and Migrations, written by Martin Howard and illustrated by Christopher Corr (The Quarto Group, 2022)
Age 13-16: Medicine: A Magnificently Illustrated History, written by Briony Hudson and illustrated by Nick Taylor (Big Picture Press, 2022)

Pupils disagreed with the judges in every category, preferring books that sparked their excitement and sense of fun. The overall Children’s Choice winner was The Big Book of Mysteries, written by Tom Adams and illustrated by Yas Imamura (Nosy Crow, 2022).  

The Children’s Choice winners in each age category were:

Age 7 and under: Do Bears Poop in the Woods?, written by Huw Lewis Jones and illustrated by Sam Caldwell (Thames & Hudson, 2022)
Age 8 to 12: The Big Book of Mysteries, written by Tom Adams and illustrated by Yas Imamura (Nosy Crow, 2022)
Age 13-16: An Illustrated History of Ghosts, written and illustrated by Adam Allsuch Boardman (Nobrow, 2022)   

Nearly a hundred people packed the Hachette Children’s Group offices in central London to celebrate the 13th year of the award and enjoy the breadth of high-quality information books published this year. The Information Book Award has been sponsored by Hachette Children’s Group since its inception and is also supported by book supplier Peters.  

Judges’ Choice winner, Dr Elly Barnes, author of ABC Pride, said: “This is a big win in the current climate. A huge thank you to the team and to everyone who is actively creating welcoming places where all can flourish and be themselves.”  

Children’s Choice winner, Tom Adams, author of The Big Book of Mysteries said: “It’s clear from this collection of books, and many more published this year that didn’t make it to the shortlist, that children’s non-fiction is an exciting and innovative place to be. The range of titles and styles is huge which is key as these books fill a different kind of gap to fiction. They are a really important way of discovering ourselves and the world around us. So with all that in mind it’s a real honour to have The Big Book of Mysteries acknowledged in this way by the people who are dealing directly with the readers, school librarians.”  

School librarians commented on how much their pupils enjoyed being part of the judging process, and how it helped them to find a new love for information books.  

School librarian at Hampton College, Fran Fletcher said: “They loved the look of them. They spent a long time flicking through and reading pages of text that grabbed their attention. They loved the modern and sometimes unusual approach in these books, compared to the more standard non-fiction we have in the library.”  

The Children’s Choice saw its largest ever vote in the history of the IBA thanks to generous Book Club funding from the Foyle Foundation, which allowed the SLA to send almost 200 schools across the country free packs of the shortlisted books. This meant that schools who would otherwise not have been able to take part due to a lack of budget were given a new opportunity, and the SLA are actively seeking funding in order to continue this important work.  

Alison Tarrant, CEO of the School Library Association said, “Pupils’ engagement with the Children’s Choice clearly shows that information books are a vibrant and appealing form of reading for children. The pupils had firm opinions about their favourites, as did the judges, and the fact there was no agreement at all this year, in a change from last year, shows just how important it is to represent the voices of both pupils and their educators.  

“It’s clear that information books play a key role in children reading for pleasure and I urge any schools thinking of ditching their non-fiction titles in favour of the internet, to reconsider and fully address the impact that reducing choice and breadth of reading material can have on reading journeys.”  

The SLA is now accepting submissions for the 2024 Information Book Award and interested publishers can click here for details on how to enter.

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