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CE Blog 6: Information Book Award

I have stretched this month out a bit as I wanted to blog specifically about the SLA Information Book Award. It is an award which really speaks to the reading for pleasure and independent learning that goes on within school libraries. This year it was a double edged sword – tinged with excitement at the Award ceremony, but also sadness as I was missing out on exploring the books with pupils – an event which was firmly on the calendar as a school librarian.

And this year I had the added joy, and pressure, of reading all the books and trying to come up with activities that could easily be led in a classroom or library. Some lent themselves more easily to it than others, with ideas and activities already part of the book – but I enjoyed pouring over each page, examining them, anticipating new ideas and knowledge, and, on occasion shouting across the office: “Did you know that…”?! This child-like enjoyment of something new is not something that should be contained – all children should have access to high quality books which enable children to have their knowledge banks increased and their world widened as they happen upon fact and narrative. The reading of a book allows for an organic growth of knowledge as children find themselves pulled into the activity, navigating with a hop, skip and a jump to the parts that make their eyes widen.

This meandering learning journey is not reflected in internet or e-encyclopaedia research – the search is made easier by typing in the required search term (if they know what it is) but they lose the wonder and curiosity of happening across a word in the index: “ohhh… I wonder what that is?” All children deserve access to a wide range of books and resources to enable them to encounter differences and similarities.

Each book on this shortlist is a product of care, attention and partnership which makes them wonderful, not just for what they contain, but for what they represent. Each book is the accomplishment of a group of people who all care about children’s learning, engagement and reading. They do everything they can to make sure everyone is engaged and each reader both leaves a part of themselves and takes something away.

At the Bookseller Kids' conference, I spoke on a panel, and I was given this quote: ‘a book is a heart that beats in the chest of another’ and I firmly believe that all these books do this given the right reader – they will ignite passion, and lay a pathway for learning, and provide a foundation for discovery of self and other.

A huge congratulations to all the shortlisted books, and a special congratulations to the winners. 

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