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UKLA Book Award Winners 2014


The unique UKLA Book Awards are the only awards judged entirely by teachers, who are able to share the books with their classes and genuinely discover what works with young readers. Although the judges have made it a clean sweep of the Caldicott Medal, the Kate Greenaway Medal and now the UKLA 3 to 6 Award for Canadian author Jon Klassen, they have also awarded, for the first time, a book in translation, with Pushkin’s very first book on their Children’s list, and a novel from Tamarind, founded by Verna Wilkins in 1987 with the mission of redressing the balance of diversity in children’s publishing. The teacher judges have clearly demonstrated that they want a more exciting and varied diet of quality texts to be available to young readers in the UK than can be seen on the average high street.

Alayne Ó¦zturk, President of UKLA said ‘UKLA is committed to the importance of a diverse range of literature for children and young people. We know that literature broadens the reader’s experience of the world and sense of the possible and thus should have a central place in classrooms and educational contexts. The exceptional quality of the shortlists this year and the truly outstanding winners shows that there are many gems to be found amongst the smaller presses and we are proud to be celebrating international authors and illustrators at our 50th International Conference”

The Award winners for the book categories 3 to 6, 7 to11 and 12 to16+ years were announced at a wine reception at the UKLA International Conference at the University of Sussex on Friday 4th July 2014.

The winning book in the 12 to16+ years category is Now is the Time for Running by Michael Williams, published by Tamarind Books an imprint of Random House Children’s Books

“Set in Zimbabwe, fourteen year old Deo, a great footballer, and his brother, Innocent, are forced to flee for their lives after government forces destroy their home. With only his brain-damaged brother and a football stuffed with billions of worthless dollars, Deo heads towards the boarder on a mission to find their absent father. Deo's love for his brother, the courage he finds to confront the terrors, and the acts of kindness that shine out among the violence and the hatred, take us through a journey of despair to a story of hope” Claire Houslop (judge)

The winning book in the 7 to 11 years category is The Story of the Blue Planet by Andri Snær Magnason, translated by Julian Meldon D'Arcy Illustrated by Áslaug Jónsdóttir published by Pushkin Press

“The Story of the Blue Planetcomes alive when you read it to a class of children who love the idea of a place, populated entirely by children, living in harmony, playing happily and bathing rarely! Into this blissful existence comes the shady character of Jolly-Goodday who entices them into a whole new level of fun – but at a cost ... Suspense, laughter and many questions accompany each chapter in this book, which has been enjoyed by classes throughout the 7-11 age range, each appreciating it on different levels and inspiring moral, philosophical and environmental debate. I loved reading it aloud - you could have heard a pin drop in my class! One boy said ‘Please can you just read it all day?” Jane Steel (judge)

The winning book for the 3 to 6 years category is This is not my Hat written and illustrated by Jon Klassen, published by Walker Books

“Jon Klassen successfully combines elements of pantomime - a moral tale and a horror story with almost unbearable suspense in this outstanding picture book. The clever interplay between text and illustration allows the reader to witness the sheer optimism of a thieving fish while simultaneously observing the inevitable consequence of his actions. Destined to become a classic, this is a must read!” Polly Atkinson (judge)

For the first time the judges also presented a Highly Commended 3 to 6 Award to

 Open Very Carefully by Nick Bromley, illustrated by Nicola O’Byrne, published by Nosy Crow

“A fantastic, exciting interactive picture book, which has the potential to delight and scare you at the same time. If you dare to turn the pages you will come across an anarchic crocodile who invades a cosy traditional tale with the intention of causing trouble. Where will it all end?  Read on if you’re brave enough” Polly Atkinson (judge)

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