In a fitting end to National Non-Fiction November, the winners of this year’s SLA Information Book Award were announced yesterday, 22nd November. The Information Book Award was set up to highlight the important role of non-fiction as part of young people’s reading experience and to celebrate the high standard of children’s information books across three age categories.
A panel of judges made up of educators choose the three age category winners and an Overall Winner. However, young people also have the opportunity to vote for an additional Children’s Choice winner in each category, as well as a Children’s Choice Overall Winner.
Black Artists Shaping the World by Sharna Jackson and Dr Zoé Whitley (Thames and Hudson) was a three-times winner at the award ceremony in London. Voted category winner for the 13-16 age group and Overall Winner by the judges, it was also the Children’s Choice for the 13-16 age group. The judges praised it as a ‘stunning beginners’ guide to the best of contemporary Black art’ and a ‘classic’ for any school library.
The judges’ winner for the 8-12 age category was Making a Baby: An Inclusive Guide to How Every Family Begins by Rachel Greener, illustrated by Clare Owen (Nosy Crow). Black and British: An Illustrated History by David Olusoga, illustrated by Jake Alexander and Melleny Taylor (Macmillan Children’s Books) was the Children’s Choice for this age group and was also picked as the Children’s Choice Overall Winner.
In the 0-7 age group, the judges crowned Meet the Microbes by Dr Emily Grossman, illustrated by Maggie Li (Wren & Rook) their winner, while the Children’s Choice went to What is Racism?, a lift-the-flap book by Katie Daynes and Jordan Akpojaro, illustrated by Sandhya Prabhat (Usborne).
Commenting on this year’s Information Book Award, Chair Margaret Pemberton said: “Once again, the judges have been excited by the quality of the books submitted for this award. The range of subjects, standard of writing and production have made the judging process challenging. After detailed and energetic discussion, we are delighted by this year’s winners.”
Hilary Murray Hill, c.e.o. of Hachette Children’s Group, sponsors of the award, added: “Information books play a vital role in feeding the minds and development of children and young people today. It is more important than ever that school libraries are supported in providing those readers with access to appealing factual content. We are delighted to sponsor the SLA Information Book Awards in its 12th year. To ensure that high-quality non-fiction publishing continues to reach readers, it is essential that we continue to celebrate and draw attention to the knowledge, creativity and imagination of authors and illustrators in this field.”
The evening also saw the announcement of the Hachette Children’s Group Award for Outstanding Contribution to Information Books. This award was launched in 2017 to honour a UK writer or illustrator of information books for children who has made an exceptional contribution to excellence in their field. This year’s award went to Owen Davey, author and illustrator of numerous non-fiction children’s books on animals that have been published in more than 25 languages around the world. Previous winners include Nicola Davies, Nicola Morgan, Anita Ganeri and Marcia Williams.
The SLA has produced a free pack of activities that schools can use to explore all the books on this year’s shortlist. To find out more about the Information Book Award and how your pupils can get involved with the Children’s Choice, click here.