The UKLA Book Awards seek to celebrate children’s books in order to encourage teachers to increase their professional and personal knowledge of recently published high quality children’s books and promote the place of books for young people in all educational settings from nursery to key stage 4.
Actor and screen writer Nathan Byron has teamed with illustrator and character designer Dap Adeola to create a stunning and endearing new character called Rocket for their first venture into picturebooks. This is a little girl to inspire us all with her passion for space and the natural world just like she is inspired by her heroine Mae Jemison, the first African-American woman in space. But Rocket struggles to get people to pay attention particularly older brother Jamal who is hooked on his smart phone and notices nothing around him and she really does not want to miss the meteor shower and even makes an announcement in the local supermarket to make sure everyone gets a chance to see a natural wonder. Adeola’s skill in inclusive characterisation shines from the pages and captures both Rocket’s enthusiasm and passion and Jamal’s sulky teen grump! Dotted with fascinating facts about meteors and space and with a very well realised and warm family relationship, this is a real treat and it is good to hear that Rocket will feature in two more books to come. Perfect for improving representation in your picture book collections.
- Joy Court (LoveReading4Schools)
The books selected for the award will be titles that teachers can share with pupils as part of regular classroom experience, to read for pleasure in the teacher’s read aloud programme to the whole class, inspire extended response from learners (through discussion, creative interaction or understanding the wider curriculum), be the focus of study (set books, shared and guided reading) and enhance all aspects of literacy learning and literary study Selection committees and teacher judges are asked to look, first and foremost, for well-written, engaging ‘reads’ and, where appropriate, outstanding illustration and design.