Submit an Enquiry or Call Us +44 (0) 1482 384660

UKLA Book Award Aged 7-10

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.

WINNER 2021

Check mates

Foster, Stewart ISBN: 9781471172236
Paperback

Add to Basket

"A heartfelt, humorous, pitch-perfect middle grade gem with mystery, mates and the odds-defying moves of a chess champ."

What a luminously life-enhancing read this is. The story of ADHD afflicted underdog Felix, who “can’t concentrate or keep still”. His East German Granddad now (embarrassingly) drives the pink car that used to belong to his deceased Grandma, whose death has hit them all hard. Felix and Granddad’s grief is laid bare with heart-wrenching authenticity, but theirs is a complex relationship: “I love my granddad and I think he loves me, but sometimes it’s hard to tell.” After an altercation, Felix and Granddad forge an understanding, and look forward to a “neuangfang” (new start) that begins with a list of “Ten things I’d like to teach Felix”. Unfortunately, in Felix’s eyes Granddad’s list comprises the “ten more boring things in the world”, but Felix works through it until only the most dreaded activity remains - playing chess. He tries to wriggle out of it, but “crafty” Granddad has been surreptitiously teaching Felix chess skills and he’s soon hooked by the game, with unexpected positive side effects. A thrilling team tournament is followed waves of pulse-quickening twists that will thrust readers to the edge of their seats, heart in mouth. Throughout, the rollercoaster ride of primary school life - fallings out, friendship, fear of not fitting in - is explored in all its intense and comic complexity, and the representation of working class realisms is spot-on too. Felix’s mum and dad have both been “working stacks since Dad’s plumbing business went bust last year”. But, best of all, the magic of the relationship between children and their grandparents is dazzlingly conjured. I adored it.

- Joanne Owen (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.