Shortlists announced for UKLA Book Awards :: NEWS

Shortlists announced for UKLA Book Awards

12 April 2021 Share

COVID-19 may have once again prevented the impact of each book being assessed in classrooms, but teacher judges have managed to maintain their enthusiastic reading and sharing. As Chris Lockwood, Chair of the Book Awards, said “The UKLA has been enormously impressed by the commitment and resilience of our teacher judges and group leaders for the 2021 Book Awards. Despite the difficulties of printing and distribution of our longlisted books during the pandemic, as well as school closures and home learning, they have kept in touch with each other and their pupils with skill and enthusiasm, and produced four varied, diverse and scintillating shortlists.”

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 and inspiration all represented amongst books which have proved effective in engaging readers, even when shared remotely.

The shortlists have both past winners and dazzling debuts vying for the prizes, with the possibility of Morag Hood winning for an unprecedented third time and both Elizabeth Wein and Patrick Ness could join the ranks of double winners. 

12 teachers nominated from the 70 involved in the shortlisting will now form the final judging panel and have the challenging task of reading all the shortlisted books in all categories. The winner’s announcement will take place at the Virtual UKLA International Conference on July 2nd but it is hoped that a live celebration and presentation of the awards will take place later in the year.

The Shortlists in full: 


  • Look Up! written by Nathan Bryon, illustrated by Dapo Adeola, Dapo (Puffin)
  • Brenda is a Sheep written and illustrated by Morag Hood(Two Hoots)
  • Tibble and Grandpa written by Wendy Meddour, illustrated by Daniel Egnéus (Oxford)
  • I'm Not (Very) Afraid of the Dark written by Anna Milbourne, illustrated by Daniel Riley (Usborne)
  • It's a No Money Day written and illustrated by Kate Milner (Barrington Stoke)
  • One Fox: a Counting Thriller written and illustrated by Kate Read (Two Hoots)


  • The Highland Falcon Thief written by M.G.Leonard and Sam Sedgeman, illustrated by Elisa Paganelli (Macmillan)
  • The Super Miraculous Journey of Freddie Yates written by Jenny Pearson, illustrated by Rob Biddulph (Usborne)      
  • Owen and the Soldier written by Lisa Thompson, illustrated by Mark Lowery (Barrington Stoke)
  • Check Mates written by Stewart Foster (Simon & Schuster)
  • The Girl Who Stole an Elephant written by Nizrana Farook (Nosy Crow)
  • Lori and Max written by Catherine O'Flynn (Firefly Press)


  • Run Rebel written by Manjeet Mann (Penguin)
  • Burn written by Patrick Ness  (Walker)
  • Clap When You Land written by Elizabeth Acevedo (Hot Key)
  • The Last Paper Crane written by Kerry Drewery, illustrated by Natsko Seki (Hot Key)
  • Bearmouth written by Liz Hyder (Pushkin)
  • The Enigma Game written by Elizabeth Wein (Bloomsbury)

Information Books 3 -14+

  • Big Ideas for Young Thinkers written by Jamia Wilson, illustrated by Andrea Pippins (Wide Eyed Editions)
  • The Missing written by Michael Rosen (Walker)
  • The Apartment written by Alexandra Litvina, translated by Antonia Bouis and illustrated by Anna Desnitskaya (Abrams Books for Young Readers)
  • Exquisite: The Life and Poetry of Gwendoline Brooks written by Suzanne Slade, illustrated by Cozbi Cabrera (Abrams Books for Young Readers)
  • The Undefeated written by Kwame Alexander, illustrated by Kadir Nelson (Andersen Press)
  • Hidden Planet written and illustrated by Ben Rothery (Ladybird)

Find out more by visiting the UKLA website.