Monday, July 03, 2017

UKLA Book Award Winners 2017


@The_UKLA  #UKLA17   #teachersbookawards

The unique UKLA Book Awards are the only awards to be judged entirely by teachers. Their choice of winning books which, according to the criteria, can “enhance all aspects of literacy learning”clearly demonstrates the fresh perspective that class teachers bring to the judging of book awards.  They are able to share the books with their classes and discover what genuinely works with young readers in each of the three age categories.   

For the first time ever a picturebook has won the 7-11 category. The judges found that The Journeyby Francesca Sanna provoked a powerful response from children of all ages. This Kate Greenaway Medal shortlisted book has, of course, just been awarded the 2017 Amnesty CILIP Honour; and remarkably, due to differing dates for eligibility, the 2016 Amnesty CILIP Honour winner, There’s a Bear On MY Chair by Ross Collins has also won the UKLA 3-6 category demonstrating that human rights are a very current classroom topic. The ‘teachers’ Carnegie’ judges, like the librarian judges, also reflected a very transatlantic flavour in their choices this year with The Reluctant Journal of Henry K Larsen by Canadian author Susin Nielsen winning the 12-16 category and American author and illustrator, Brian Selznick’s The Marvels being Highly Commended, further demonstrating that the power of pictures does not diminish as students get older.

For UKLA, giving classroom practitioners the opportunity to read a number of new quality children’s books is as important as finding an overall winner. Research carried out by members of UKLA (Cremin et al 2008) clearly demonstrated the links between teachers’ knowledge of children’s books and the likelihood of pupils becoming successful readers. Despite this evidence, teachers are seldom given time to read new books or funding to purchase them when they do. As Awards Chair Lynda Graham said: It was very moving to hear the teacher judges, from all across Scotland, describe the impact within schools of their being involved in these awards. Not only did it open their eyes to the value of picturebooks for all ages but it galvanised their pupils’ enthusiasm for reading.”

This makes these awards particularly useful for co-sponsor Peter Crawshaw, Director and Co-founder of Lovereading4kids who said:
 “Lovereading4schools and its sister site Lovereading4kids are delighted to support the UKLA Book Awards. The fact that the teacher judges reflect on their students’ responses to the books gives the award huge credibility and trust that schools use to know the books will be loved by their own pupils. The awards are equally valuable for parents who cannot fail to be impressed by these excellent winners”

The Award winners for the book categories 3 to 6, 7 to 11 and 12 to16+ years will be announced and presented at a wine reception at the UKLA International Conference at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow on June 30th.

Andrew Lambirth, President of UKLA said ‘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. Children need access to a rich range of high quality literature and our awards highlight some of the very best literature currently available to children and young people in the UK.  We are proud to be celebrating these truly outstanding winners at our International Conference ‘

The winning book in the 12 to 16+ category is The Reluctant Journal of Henry K Larsen by Susin Nielsen. Published by Andersen Press
‘A really good book changes the way you see the world’ and this book demonstrated that powerful effect in the judges’ classrooms. This is indeed a remarkable book: with a diary format that is a gift for engaging with reluctant readers and for creative writing; multi-faceted authentic characters that evoke empathy and provoke intense class discussions of relevant topics such as bullying, divorce and family breakdown; and yet is also warm, humane, sensitive and funny,
The judges also presented a Highly Commended award to The Marvels written and illustrated by Brian Selznick. Published by Scholastic
This beautiful and special book provides a unique experience for the reader and the judges wished to commend a unique method of telling the story: first through cinematic wordless pictures then by narrative text. With the immediately accessible images you create your own narrative and this engages the interest of even the most reluctant of readers in fiction and the power of story.
The winning book in the 7 to 11 category is The Journey written and illustrated by Francesca Sanna published by Flying Eye Books
The judges reported that this important book for our times was used throughout their schools and had impact and meaning for all ages and abilities. This story of a mother seeking a safe refuge for her family really demonstrated the power of pictures to inspire discussion, empathy and creative writing. The powerful simple language was both challenging without being intimidating and the whole book provoked such rich responses from children that it was truly outstanding
The winning book for the 3 to 6 category There's a Bear on MY Chair by Ross Collins published by Nosy Crow
A superb example of how interesting words and evocative pictures should work together and one which also demonstrates a very clever use of design; with differing font size and colour expressing tone, emphasis and volume. The clever rhyme reads aloud very well and the perfectly expressive and humorous illustrations really engage young children in discussing the story and the issues of restorative justice that it raises, providing a wonderful stimulus for dramatic re-telling.

The Shortlists in full
The Lion Inside written by Rachel Bright and illustrated by Jim Field (Orchard Books)
There's a Bear on MY Chair written and illustrated by Ross Collins        (Nosy Crow)
A Hungry Lion or A Dwindling Assortment of Animals written and illustrated by Lucy Ruth Cummins (Simon & Schuster)
Grandad's Island written and illustrated by Benji Davies(Simon & Schuster)
Tidy written and illustrated by Emily Gravett (Two Hoots)
The Bear and the Piano written and illustrated by David Litchfield (Frances Lincoln)
Little Bits of Sky written by S.E Durrant and illustrated by Katie Harnett (Nosy Crow)
Gorilla Dawn written by Gill Lewis(Oxford University Press)
Pugs of the Frozen North written and illustrated by Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre (Oxford University Press)
The Wolf Wilder written by Katherine Rundell and illustrated by Gelrev Ongbico (Bloomsbury)
The Journey written and illustrated by Francesca Sanna (Flying Eye Books)
Time Travelling with a Hamster written by Ross Welford (HarperCollins)
The Smell of Other People's Houses written by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock (Faber &Faber)
The Reluctant Journal of Henry K Larsen written by Susin Nielsen (Andersen Press)
Orbiting Jupiter written by Gary .D. Schmidt (Andersen Press)
Railhead written by Philip Reeve (Oxford University Press)
The Marvels written and illustrated by Brian Selznick (Scholastic)
Fire Colour One written by Jenny Valentine (HarperCollins)
Notes to Editors
About UKLA
 UKLA is a registered charity, which has as its sole object the advancement of education in literacy. UKLA is committed to promoting good practice nationally and internationally in literacy and language teaching and research. The Association was founded in 1963 as the United Kingdom Reading Association. In 2003 it changed its name to the United Kingdom Literacy Association, to reflect more accurately its wider range of focus and interest.
UKLA especially supports the development of approaches to literacy learning and teaching which underpin these understandings. The Association recognises the significance for effective language and communication learning of literature, drama, the visual media, non-fiction texts and information technology, as well as welcoming approaches to teaching which draw on the resources of a wide range of cultures and which are informed by a detailed understanding of how literacy and language work.
About MLS
Sponsors Micro Librarian Systems have over 25 years’ experience developing high specification library systems for schools and colleges and provide library automation solutions to over 15,000 schools worldwide. They provide cost effective and user friendly library systems which will revolutionise the way the library works, support the curriculum and encourage reading for pleasure and purpose.
They are committed to providing engaging technologies to foster a reading and information culture that promotes independent motivated readers and learners for life. For more information see
About Lovereading4schools and Kids
Countless research shows the importance of good reading skills from an early age and a child’s future success in life. However, finding books to inspire children or authors that excite them, can be difficult; the choice is daunting and guidance rather thin on the ground. That’s where Lovereading4kids and its sister site Lovereading4schools can help.
Lovereading4kids is the leading book recommendation site for Children’s Books from toddlers to teens. It has been created using the experience the founders have as parents, book lovers and years of working in the book industry, to inspire children to read great books.
Unique features and services help parents and anyone who likes to buy books for children choose the best books for boys and girls of all ages … and best of all it is free to use.
           Download and print off the Opening Extract of over 10,000 children’s books.
           Read our exclusive online book reviews by children’s book experts including Julia Eccleshare (author and children’s books editor at the Guardian).
           Explore reviews by members of our children’s reader review panel.
           Discover new books recommended by humans not computer algorithms.
Lovereading4schools was created to help teachers and parents encourage children to love reading a variety of books throughout the school year. The website offers schools an easy, impartial and free way to create and share reading lists with their parents and pupils, offering age appropriate books as well as themed collections of titles.
Specially curated lists are arranged by school year, ranging from Reception to Year 9 and onwards through teenage years. There are also specialist categories for Reluctant and Dyslexic Readers that can make a real difference to those who struggle with their reading.
Lovereading4schools is endorsed by Jacqueline Wilson and all titles are selected by Julia Eccleshare MBE, the children’s book editor for The Guardian. 
Visit the websites and
Past Winners
3-6: Little Red and the Very Hungry Lion by Alex.T. Smith, ( Scholastic)
Highly Commended: On Sudden Hill by Linda Sarah and Benji Davies(illustrator), (Simon & Schuster)
7-11: The Imaginary by A.F. Harrold and Emily Gravett (illustrator), ( Bloomsbury)
Highly Commended: The Boundless by Kenneth Oppel, (David Fickling)
12-16+ : The Lie Tree by Francis Hardinge( Macmillan)
3-6: The Day the Crayons Quit, Drew Daywalt , Oliver Jeffers (illustrator)( HarperCollins
7-11: Oliver and the Seawigs, Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre, (Oxford University Press)
Highly Commended 7-11 Award: Us Minus Mum, Heather Butler, (Little,Brown)
12-16: Every Day by David Levithan, published by Egmont
3-6:  This is not my Hat, Jon Klassen (Walker Books)
Highly Commended 3-6 Award: Open Very Carefully, Nick Bromley, Nicola O’Byrne (Illustrator), (Nosy Crow)
7 to 11: The Story of the Blue Planet, Andri Snær Magnason, Julian Meldon D'Arcy, (translator), Áslaug Jónsdóttir (Illustrator), (Pushkin Press)
12- 16:  Now is the Time for Running, Michael Williams, (Tamarind Books, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books)
3 - 6 : Good Little Wolf, Nadia Shireen Rayner (Jonathan Cape)
7 - 11: The Weight of Water, Sarah Crossan (Bloomsbury)
12- 16:  Code Name Verity, Elizabeth Wein (Electric Monkey)
3 - 6: Iris and Isaac, Catherine Rayner (Little Tiger Press)
7 - 11: Sky Hawk, Gill Lewis (Oxford University Press)
12 - 16: A Monster Calls, Patrick Ness, illustrated by Jim Kay (Walker)
3-11:  Birdsong,Ellie Sandall (Egmont)
12-16: Out of Shadows, Jason Wallace ws (Andersen Press)
3-11: Then,Morris Gleitzman (Puffin)
12-16: The Graveyard Book,Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell (illustrator) (Bloomsbury)
Special commendation:Tales from Outer Surburbia, Shaun Tan (Templar)
3-11: Archie’s War,Marcia Williams (Walker)
Highly commended 3-11: The Invention of Hugo Cabret,Brian Selznick (Scholastic)
12-16: Bog Child,Siobhan Dowd (David Fickling - Random House Children’s Books)
Picture book category: Penguin,Polly Dunbar (Walker )
Here Lies Arthur,Philip Reeve (Scholastic)
Full details of the Awards and the winners (from 7.15pm on 30th June), are on

For further information please contact:
Lynda Graham
Room 9
c/o VAL
9 Newarke Street


Tuesday, June 27, 2017

A World of My Own

Featured in the new issue of Carousel is a tribute to Chris Stephenson who passed away earlier this year.  Chris interviewed over a hundred authors and illustrators for Carousel.  

His wrote A World of My Own about his growing up in London in the forties and fifties, and it was published just prior to his death.  

If you would like to order a copy, please send your order to Enid Stephenson, 5 Fromus Walk, Saxmundham, IP17 1GG.  Cheques payable to Enid Stephenson for £10 per copy. 

All profits will be passed on to charity.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

CLPE Children’s Poetry Award (CLiPPA) 2017

§  Announcement of shortlist for the Award
§  Launch of Schools Shadowing Scheme
§  15th anniversary of CLiPPA to be celebrated at National Theatre

The Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE) is delighted to announce the 2017 shortlist for the Centre for Literacy in Primary Poetry Award (CLiPPA). Established in 2003, CLiPPA encourages and celebrates outstanding poetry published for children. 2017 is the 15th anniversary of the award, which remains the only annual award in the UK for published poetry for children.

This year’s shortlist truly celebrates the breadth and depth of poetry for children being published in the UK. From the early years appeal of Zim Zam Zoom! by James Carter to the verse novel for older readers, Booked by Kwame Alexander; from Kate Wakeling’s debut collection for children Moon Juice, to Jelly Boots, Smelly Boots by long-time favourite and previous CLiPPA winner Michael Rosen; and from single poet collections to the celebratory anthology Wonderland, Alice in Poetry edited by Michaela Morgan.

Throughout the 15 years of CLiPPA, CLPE has continued to shine a light on poetry for children as a fundamental element in the development of children’s literacy. Commitment to poetry through the educational resource websitePoetryline and CLPE’s Power of Poetry training for teachers, combined with the profile and prestige of CLiPPA, have contributed to the number of publisher submissions for the poetry award increasing by 50% from 2016 to 2017. 

The full shortlist is:
·        Kwame AlexanderBooked, Andersen Press - A free verse novel, written in the voice of 12 year old soccer-loving boy.
·        James Carter: Zim Zam Zoom!, illustrated by Nicola Colton, Otter-Barry Books - Perfectly pitched for the young listener or early reader with plenty of opportunities for joining in.
·        Michaela Morgan (editor): Wonderland; Alice in Poetry, Macmillan - Anthology celebrating the spirit of Wonderland with each poet bringing their own refreshing spin.
·        Michael RosenJelly Boots, Smelly Boots, illustrated by David Tazzyman, Bloomsbury - Quirky, clever poems from those that involve humorous misunderstandings to thoughtful and more intimate musings.
·        Kate WakelingMoon Juice, illustrated by Elīna Brasliņa, The Emma Press - A debut collection of poetry that presents magical, strange and unlikely events in a confident and persuasive way.

Rachel Rooney, Poet and Chair of the CLiPPA 2017 Judges commented: “Judging was made a challenge by the spread of books that were submitted as the CLiPPA is open to published poetry books for a diverse and changing readership, from the pre-schooler to the early teen. Writing poetry for children can appear easy but writing powerful poetry that is accessible and appealing to children is considerably more difficult to achieve. In their own particular way, all the shortlisted books did this.” Watch Rachel announcing the shortlist

Louise Johns-Shepherd, Chief Executive, CLPE said: “This year we celebrate 15 years of the Poetry Award with the largest number of submissions for many years and an award show where we will have more than 1000 children in the audience. We are delighted that the power of the poetic form is being recognised so widely by schools and by publishers and that thousands of children will discover the wonderful books on this shortlist through our Poetryline resources and our shadowing scheme.”

The judging panel is chaired by the poet and CLiPPA 2012 winner, Rachel Rooney along with Sarah Crossan, poet and CLiPPA 2016 joint winner for OneCaleb Femi, poet and the Young People's Laureate for London, Charlotte Hacking, CLPE Learning Programme Leader and Imogen Russell Williams, children’s book critic and editorial consultant. Children's Laureate, Chris Riddell, will live draw the Award Ceremony.

The winner of the 2017 Award will be announced on July 14th 2017 at a special ceremony celebrating 15 years of the CLiPPA Poetry Award in the 1000+-seater Olivier Theatre at the National Theatre in London.  The audience will enjoy poetry performances from children participating in the Shadowing Scheme, the shortlisted poets and special poet appearances. The winner of the Award will receive £1000 and a specially bound edition of their book created by the bookbinder Mark Cockram.

The free Shadowing Scheme to involve schools in the Poetry Award 2017 is now open.
In 2016 over 3900 children participated in the Shadowing Scheme and this year it is set to be even more successful with a record number of pre-registrations. The Shadowing Scheme gives children an opportunity to enjoy literacy with tremendous vigour and high expectations. Exploring and performing poetry demonstrates how children can work to high standards and still enjoy a thrilling experience that will remain with them for a long time. Watch Young Person’s Laureate for London, Caleb Femi open the Shadowing Scheme

As part of the Shadowing Scheme, a competition will see children from winning schools invited to perform on stage at the Award Ceremony. Schools are also invited to apply for tickets to attend the Award Ceremony which will encompass a Poetry Show with all the shortlisted poets.  All schools, regardless of whether they are participating in the Shadowing Scheme, can take poetry into the classroom supported by free high quality resources including films of shortlisted poets performing and accompanying teaching resources; available on CLPE’s Poetryline website

For further information about the award, the shadowing scheme or the shortlisted books please visit For press, photography or logos contact Fatim Kesvani / 07450 854548

Brian Alderson donates rare children’s book collection to Newcastle University and Seven Stories

Brian Wouldhave Alderson, a Freeman of the City of Newcastle and a renowned children’s literature scholar, is donating his extraordinary collection of children's books to Newcastle University and Seven Stories:
The National Centre for Children’s Books. Believed to be the largest privately-owned children’s literature collection in the UK, it is made up of more than 20,000 books, dating from the 17th century to the present day. Works come from the United States, France, Germany and Britain, and the collection includes original illustrations and papers related to Brian’s diverse career.
Brian is a respected author, editor, critic, and scholar who has curated many exhibitions and is a former children’s books editor of The Times (1967 – 1996). He has collected books for more than 60 years, beginning when he was an undergraduate with cheap editions of work by the poets Ezra Pound and T.S.Eliot. His interest in children's books came later but soon became a passion.
The donation is a mark of Brian’s long-standing and ongoing support for both Newcastle University and Seven Stories. He was awarded an honorary degree by the University in 2016. He said: ‘With the University’s scholarly interests in children’s literature and historic children’s book collections, and with Seven Stories being the national home of contemporary children’s books, I am delighted to be able to augment the City's prominence in fostering interest in what is an unduly neglected subject.”
Jill Taylor-Roe, Acting University Librarian at Newcastle University, said: “The Alderson Collection enhances and extends the University Library’s unique and distinctive holdings in Children’s Literature, and together with Seven Stories’ holdings, will create an incredibly rich resource for anyone interested in the history and further development of children’s literature.”
Sarah Lawrance, Collections and Exhibitions Director at Seven Stories: The National Centre for Children’s Books, said: “We are immensely grateful to Brian Alderson for the generous gift of his collection, which includes many rare and unique books – now to be made publicly accessible for the first time – and complements the holdings of Seven Stories and the Philip Robinson Library perfectly.”
The books will enhance the research of the Children’s Literature Unit, a research group within Newcastle University’s School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics. Kim Reynolds, Professor of Children’s Literature at Newcastle University, said: ‘We are all excited by this splendid donation. Thanks to Brian’s unique expertise, this collection is full of rare and unusual items, and it will be an invaluable contribution to the work of establishing Newcastle as a world-class centre for the study of children’s books.”
The transfer of the Alderson Collection to Newcastle has already begun and, in the future, it is expected that the whole collection will be available for research and teaching, and by members of the public. The material that has already been catalogued is available to view on Newcastle University’s Library Search. The donation of the Collection jointly to the two organisations is a key outcome of Seven Stories’ and Newcastle University’s Vital North Partnership, funded by Arts Council England. The two organisations are marking Brian’s generous donation with a free exhibition of some of the highlights from the Collection at Newcastle University’s Philip Robinson Library, opening in June 2017 and running throughout the summer. Brian Alderson will also be giving a free talk at the library about his collection, Every book has its own history: Reflections of a collector of children’s books, at 5.30pm on Wednesday 14th June. To find out more about Brian Alderson’s talk on 14th June, visit:

Lollies 2017 Shortlist


Michael Rosen, children’s novelist, poet and former Children’s Laureate, today announced the shortlist for the 2017 Laugh Out Loud Awards (The Lollies), a set of awards, now in its second year, created by Scholastic, the world’s largest publisher and distributor of children’s books, to celebrate the funniest children’s books.

Having long championed humorous books for children Rosen said of the shortlist:
“This is a collection of 12 whizzy, crazy, hilarious books. They are guaranteed to tickle. Parents and teachers wondering how to keep your children interested in reading, why not start here? And you can always start them off by reading them out loud - funny voices an' all!"

Rosen and his judging panel, consisting of Nicolette Jones, journalist and Sunday Times Children’s Book Editor and Katie Thistleton, presenter and host of the CBBC Children’s Book Club, were tasked with making the selected shortlist from over 130 books submitted by children’s publishers.

The Lollies are awarded in three categories: Best Laugh Out Loud Picture BookBest Laugh Out Loud Book for 6-8s and Best Laugh Out Loud Book for 9-13s. The shortlisted books in each category are as follows:

Best Laugh Out Loud Picture Book
Oi Dog by Kes Gray and Jim Field (Hodder Children’s Books)
Eat Your People by Lou Kuenzler and David Wojtowycz (Orchard Books)
Prince of Pants by Alan Macdonald and Sarah McIntyre (Scholastic)
Danny McGee Drinks the Sea by Andy Stanton and Neal Layton (Hodder Children’s Books)

Best Laugh Out Loud Book for 6-8 year olds
Thimble Monkey Superstar by Jon Blake and Martin Chatterton (Firefly Press)
Hamish and the Neverpeople by Danny Wallace and Jamie Littler (Simon and Schuster)
Eddy Stone and the Epic Holiday Mash-Up by Simon Cherry (Usborne)
Future Ratboy and the Invasion of the Nom Noms by Jim Smith (Egmont)
Best Laugh Out Loud Book for 9-13 year olds.
I Don't Like Poetry by Joshua Seigal (Bloomsbury)
The Best Medicine by Christine Hamil (Little Island Books)
My Gym Teacher is an Alien Overlord by David Solomons and Laura Ellen Anderson (Nosy Crow)
AniMalcolm by David Baddiel and Jim Field (Harper Collins)

The winning book in each category will be decided solely by children’s votes, with schools and parents encouraged to help kids get involved and vote via the Lollies website,, or via the Scholastic channel on the PopJam app.

The winning books will be announced at an awards ceremony in London in January 2018.

The Lollies were created in response to findings from Scholastic’s Kids & Family Reading Report, ( which found that what two-thirds of children aged 6-17 looked for when choosing books for themselves were ‘books that make me laugh’.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Empathy Day 2017

London, UK, 15 May 2017: EmpathyLab today announces the launch of Empathy Day on 13 June 2017.
This is a platform to emphasise the importance of empathy in our divided world, and raise awareness of the power of stories to develop it.     

A new Read for Empathy guide for adults living and working with children aged 4-11 will be published on 13 June. It features 21 “must-reads” endorsed by The Sunday Times’ children’s book reviewer Nicolette Jones and is available free from

EmpathyLab is a new organisation with a mission to use stories to help us understand each other better.
It is led by Miranda McKearney OBE, founder of The Reading Agency. 

Miranda McKearney OBE, Founder: “We’re establishing an Empathy Day to shine a bright light on the importance of empathy in our divided world - new approaches to building this core life skill are badly needed with the recent dramatic rise in hate crimes.

Helping children learn about empathy lays strong foundations for resisting prejudice and intolerance and books are a potent tool. Neuroscience research shows that the emotions we feel for characters wires our brains to have the same sort of sensitivity towards real people. Our Read for Empathy guide for 4-11 year olds has great new book ideas, and we’re delighted to enjoy the support of high profile authors and illustrators including Neil Gaiman, Chris Riddell, Jacqueline Wilson and Cressida Cowell. 
Authors are key figures in a drive for a more tolerant society because they are natural masters of empathy. On the Day authors will visit schools and take to social media in a #ReadforEmpathy drive.
About empathy
Our understanding of the complex mechanisms underpinning empathy is changing all the time, and psychologists, neuroscientists, sociologists and philosophers have different interpretations. Most agree on three elements:emotional/affective empathy where we literally resonate with someone else’s feelings; cognitive empathy or perspective-taking where we apply reason to working out how someone else feels and empathic concern, which is a powerful motivator for helping others, a force for social change.
Robin Banerjee, Professor of Developmental Psychology, University of Sussex: “Empathy is a pivotal factor in children’s wellbeing – my research identifies its relevance to behaviour, mental health, and achievement at school.  Work to support it is relevant to all children, but especially those who are vulnerable. EmpathyLab’s strategy of focusing on the literacy domain as a context for supporting its development is particularly powerful and resonates with the findings from cutting-edge psychological research. I’m looking forward to seeing the reaction to the Day.”
Activities on 13 June 2017
Parents: a free Read for Empathy guide gives parents book recommendations and research-based tips for talking about books in ways which build children’s ability to understand others. Downloadable from

Schools: pilot schools will hold Empathy Award ceremonies to celebrate children’s choices of book characters showing exceptional empathy (e.g. Miss Honey from Matilda or Hiccup from How to Train Your Dragon). Any school can get involved by creating book displays and joining in the social media campaign.
Authors and illustrators: author partners will be recommending the books which helped them understand other people better, using the hashtags #ReadforEmpathy and #EmpathyDay. Former Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell has contributed a special illustration to be shared across social media. Authors running 13 June sessions in schools include BBC Radio 1’s Gemma Cairney, Cathy Cassidy, Jo Cotterill, Elizabeth Laird, Alan MacDonald, Ross Montgomery and CBBC presenter Katie Thisleton.
Libraries: a selection of libraries from Sheffield to Devon will run empathy-focused book promotions and activities. The Day is supported by The Society of Chief Librarians. 

Author supporters

Dame Jacqueline Wilson: “To be a successful human being, you need to be in touch with other people’s feelings. I’m fascinated by EmpathyLab, by its ideas, and by the way it’s drawing together the world of words with the fields of neuroscience and wellbeing. I’m delighted to see the launch of Empathy Day and it’s marvellous that schools with be holding special Empathy Award ceremonies on June 13.”
Neil Gaiman: “In reading, you get to feel things, visit places and worlds you would never otherwise know. You learn that everyone else out there is a me, as well. Empathy is a tool for building people into groups, for allowing us to function as more than self-obsessed individuals.
Cressida Cowell: “Of all the many gifts that books and reading can give us, empathy is one of the most valuable. Reading forces you to look at the world through someone else’s eyes, and feel what it is to be them. Empathy is a skill, and books are the best, and most fun, way to learn it. I applaud EmpathyLab for fulfilling a much-needed role and hope teachers and parents will get involved on 13 June.”

For more information on Empathy Day, to download the ‘Read for Empathy’ book list and for ideas of how to get involved visit

Margaret Mallett Award for Children's Non-Fiction

Winner of the Inaugural Margaret Mallett Award for Children's Non-Fiction Announced

Winner of the Inaugural Margaret Mallett Award for Children's Non-Fiction Announced
We are pleased to announce the winner of the inaugural Margaret Mallett Award for Children's Non-Fiction
It Starts With a Seed by Laura Knowles, illustrated by Jennie Webber
words & pictures, 978190277171
The prize has been established by the English Association in memory of Margaret Mallett, a Fellow of the English Association and a long-serving member of the editorial board of our journalEnglish 4-11, who died after a short illness in March 2017.Margaret was a passionate advocate for high quality books for children, and in particular non-fiction books. She had a deep and wide-ranging knowledge of children's literature, and her reviews of new titles in Books for Keeps and the School Librarian were hugely admired. She was able to get to the heart of a book and deliver a perceptive judgement that was both just and generous.
The prize was announced on 26th April at a Memorial Service for Margaret in Richmond upon Thames and will be awarded at the English Association's Annual General Meeting on 24th May.
It Starts With a Seed is also shortlisted for the English 4-11 Picture Book Awards. You can read our review here

The shortlist for the 2017 Branford Boase Award

Seven debut authors shortlisted for award known as ‘the one to watch’

Stars of the future named on the shortlist for the award that singles out the most talented debut authors for children

Two from Chicken House on the shortlist including Waterstones Children’s Book Award winner Girl of Ink and Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

Middle grade dominates on “particularly strong, varied and interesting list”

The shortlist for the 2017 Branford Boase Award is announced today (Monday 8th May 2017). TheBranford Boase Award is given annually to the author of an outstanding debut novel for children. Uniquely, it also honours the editor of the winning title and highlights the importance of the editor in nurturing new talent.

Now in its seventeenth year the Branford Boase Award is recognised as one of the most important awards in children’s books with an impressive record in identifying authors with special talent at the start of their careers. Previous winners and shortlisted authors include Siobhan DowdMeg RosoffMal PeetPhilip ReeveFrank Cottrell Boyce and Patrick Ness; last year’s Costa Book Award winner Frances Hardinge won with her debut novel Fly By Night in 2006. The shortlist for the 2017 award is as follows:

Cogheart by Peter Bunzl, edited by Rebecca Hill (Usborne)
We Are Giants by Amber Lee Dodd, edited by Niamh Mulvey (Quercus)
Little Bits of Sky by S.E. Durrant, edited by Kirsty Stansfield (Nosy Crow)
The Bubble Boy by Stewart Foster, edited by Rachel Mann (Simon and Schuster)
The Girl of Ink and Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave, edited by Rachel Leyson (Chicken House)
Beetle Boy by M G Leonard, edited by Barry Cunningham and Rachel Leyson (Chicken House)
Riverkeep by Martin Stewart edited by Shannon Cullen and Sharyn November (Penguin Random House)

The rules for the Branford Boase Award state that the award is for the most promising book for children aged seven and up by a first novelist. The author may have published books in another genre but eligibility requires that this be their first novel for children. Two books longlisted for the 2017 award, Eden Summer by Liz Flanagan and Orangeboy by Patrice Lawrence, were discovered to be ineligible and were withdrawn as the authors have previously written short novels for children.
This year the judges are Brenda Gardner, former children’s editor and founder of Piccadilly Press; Joanna Halpin, manager at Waterstones Trafalgar Square; Elizabeth McDonald, winner of the 2016 Public Librarian of the Year Award; and Horatio Clare, author of Aubrey and the Terrible Yoot, winner of the 2016Branford Boase Award. The panel is chaired by Julia Eccleshare, children’s director of the Hay Festival.

Julia Eccleshare says: “Children’s publishing in the UK is an extremely healthy state and this is a particularly strong, varied and interesting list. There are moving contemporary stories that vividly depict modern family relationships; inventive and brilliantly imagined fantasy stories; stories that will move and inspire readers; and some to make them laugh. Any one of these seven authors would be a worthy winner and we are already excited about what they will write next.”

The winner of the 2017 Branford Boase Award will be announced on Wednesday 5th July at a ceremony in London. Frances Hardinge will present the winner with a cheque for £1,000 and both author and editor will receive a unique, hand-crafted silver-inlaid box.
For further information please contact Andrea Reece on 07807893369 or