25 November 2021 Share
Now in its eleventh year, the IBA aims to emphasise the importance of non-fiction by highlighting and celebrating the high standard of children’s information books available, as well as ensuring that all school staff are equipped to support their students, through access to these important titles.
The awards are divided into three age categories and judged by a panel of educators against a criteria that looks at the quality of the text and illustrations, accuracy, bias and currency alongside areas such as indexes, glossaries, content and whether it is likely to fire the enthusiasm of the young reader.
As well as the judges’ choices, children have also had the opportunity to vote for their favourite book, from the shortlist of eleven titles, in order to determine an additional Children’s Choice winner in each age category.
The 13-16 category has been won by Have Pride by Stella Caldwell and Sue Sanders (Welbeck Publishing), which the judges hail as “a valuable resource for research, an uplifting leisure read, and an affirming and informative guide for young people examining their own identities”.
The winner of the 8-12 age category is How Many Mice Make an Elephant? by Tracey Turner, illustrated by Aaron Cushley (Pan Macmillan), which the judges praise as “guaranteed to engage even the most reluctant of young mathematicians”, making it “the perfect choice for classrooms or school libraries”.
The winner of both the 0-7 age category and the winner overall is Why Do Things Die? by Katie Daynes, illustrated by Christine Pym (Usborne). A rare topic to be so directly addressed for young readers, it was praised by judges for its “gentle, non-judgemental” tone and brilliant lift-the-flap format that provides “additional depth and relatability to the examples and discussion points within”.
In response to the difficult time schools have been going through over the past 18 months, the SLA were delighted to provide book packages of the shortlist to 24 schools in order to help more schools get involved in the award.
Following the votes from children across the UK, Why Do Things Die? secured its third win as the Children’s Choice Winner in the 0-7 category. An ideal tool for broadening horizons and supporting the development of empathy, the Children’s Choice winner for both the 8-12 category and Overall Winner is I Am Not a Label by Cerrie Burnell, illustrated by Lauren 'Emel' Baldo (Wide Eyed Editions). And finally, This Book is Anti-Racist, a striking and heartfelt guide for teenagers to actively work against racism by Tiffany Jewell and illustrated by Aure?lia Durand (Frances Lincoln), won the Children’s Choice for the 13-16 age category.
The evening also saw the announcement of the Hachette Children’s Group Award for Outstanding Contribution to Information Books. Launched in 2017, the award is given to an eminent UK writer or illustrator of information books for children, to mark an exceptional contribution to excellence in their field. Following in the footsteps of Nicola Davies, Nicola Morgan and Marcia Williams, along with last year's winners, Mick Manning and Brita Granstrom, the 2021 award went to author Anita Ganeri.
Known for her lively writing style and ability to relate sophisticated subject matter in an accessible and engaging way for children, Anita is the recipient of a Blue Peter Book Award for a title in the highly successful Horrible Geography series. With over 300 titles to her name, Anita has also written extensively on subjects such as history, religion and PSHCE topics and is a true champion for children’s non-fiction. If you see her name on the cover of a book, then you know that it will be accurate and suitable for the suggested age range. For teachers and librarians, her name is a guarantee that you will be adding quality to your book collections.
SLA CEO, Alison Tarrant, says: "I am delighted that the winner this year is for our youngest age range. There can often be an assumption that the younger the reader the less that is required, but this is not the case. Why Do Things Die? is a shining example of how to deliver information to readers with the utmost respect and care for them.
Children’s books are vital in supporting the reader through developments which, in many cases, will live with them for their whole lives. I am proud that the Information Book Award not only showcases so many wonderful examples, but also supports schools in engaging with them."
Hilary Murray Hill, CEO of Hachette Children’s Group says: “Children and young people are faced with deluge of factual content, some of it unreliable or inappropriate, so clear, trustworthy and appealing non-fiction for children at all stages of development is more important than ever. We are delighted to be supporting the SLA Information Book Award again this year, celebrating the highest standards in the presentation of information, as well as the imagination and creativity of authors, illustrators, editors and designers. The best quality non-fiction publishing is irreplaceable in the lives and learning journeys of young readers and we are proud to play this part in helping it to thrive.”
The winners were announced in a virtual ceremony on Thursday 25th November 2021.
Following the ceremony, submissions for the 2022 Information Book Award are now open. For more details on eligibility criteria and how to submit, please visit: www.sla.org.uk/iba-2022.