UKLA announce their 2023 Book Awards Shortlist

Despite the challenges schools have been facing this year, it was a delight to see the energy, skill, knowledge and enthusiasm our teacher judges and their book group leaders brought to the task of finding their six favourite books from such wonderful and diverse longlists.” 

Chris Lockwood, Awards Chair, UKLA


The UKLA have announced today, Friday 31st March, the shortlisted titles for their 2023 Book Awards. 

The UKLA Book Awards are the only UK children’s book awards judged entirely by teachers with the aim to promote quality reading materials to children of all ages and encourage and inspire reading for pleasure. On Saturday 25th March, 87 teachers came together to discuss the broad variety of book titles and agree on a shortlist of titles for each age category. Interestingly, small, independent publishers such as Andersen Press, Flying Eye, Firefly, Faber, Troika and Scribble dominate the lists. 

For UKLA, giving classroom practitioners the opportunity to read high quality new 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 Chris Lockwood, Awards Chair said, “Despite the challenges schools have been facing this year, it was a delight to see the energy, skill, knowledge and enthusiasm our teacher judges and their book group leaders brought to the task of finding their six favourite books from such wonderful and diverse longlists.”

At Reading Cloud, we are delighted to be co- sponsoring the UKLA Book Awards to help celebrate the crucial role of quality children's literature in educational settings to enhance learning and promote reading for pleasure.
For a long time, it’s been widely acknowledged that a child’s future academic, professional, and personal achievement are linked to strong literacy skills and that reading supports success in every subject across the wider curriculum. 
Yet, with only 1 in 2 children saying that they enjoy reading and less than a third reading on a regular basis (National Literacy Trust, 2022), it is clear that promoting reading in the school setting with access to quality children’s reading materials is the key to enhancing learning and promoting reading for pleasure.
At Reading Cloud, we firmly believe in the transformative power of the school library to develop a reading culture, fundamental in building the core literacy and research skills needed for academic attainment whilst also nurturing a lifelong love of reading.
Our long-standing partnership with the UKLA has seen us sponsor these awards for some ten years and it is always a pleasure to see how the awards inspire and motivate teachers to explore new texts and bring more diverse literature into the classroom.

"Encouraging reading for enjoyment and improving literacy are very much at the heart of Reading Cloud, so we are delighted to support these worthwhile and unique children’s book awards as co-sponsors again this year. We are always heartened to see so many dedicated teacher judges all over the UK working with the longlisted, shortlisted, and winning books to inspire a love of reading in their pupil groups and beyond. We look forward to hearing more about the winning titles in due course.”

Sue Polchow, Library Advisor at co-sponsor Reading Cloud

12 teachers nominated from the original 87 involved in the shortlisting will now form the final judging panel and have the challenging task of reading all the shortlisted books in all categories. The winner’s announcement will take place at the UKLA International Conference at the University of Exeter on 23rd June. 

The Shortlists in full
3-6+ category                               
Saving Mr Hoot written and illustrated by Helen Stephens (Alison Green)
Who are you? written by Smriti Halls and illustrated by Ali Pye (Farshore)
The Comet written and illustrated by Joe Todd- Stanton (Flying Eye)
Flooded written and illustrated by Mariajo Ilustrajo (Frances Lincoln)
Small's Big Dream written by Manjeet Mann and illustrated by Amanda Quartey (Harper Collins)
We're Going to Find a Monster written by Malorie Blackman and illustrated by Dapo Adeola (Puffin)
7-10+ category                                                              
All to Play For written by Eve Ainsworth and illustrated by Kirsty Beautyman (Barrington Stoke)
The Light in Everything written by Katya Balen   (Bloomsbury)
The Lion Above the Door written by Onjali Q Raúf (Orion)
The Elephant in the Room written by Holly Goldberg Sloan (Piccadilly)
Little Light written by Coral Rumble(Troika)
The Chime Seekers written by Ross Montgomery (Walker)
11-14+ category                                                              
Tremendous Things written by Susin Nielsen (Andersen)
In the Wild Light written by Jeff Zentner (Andersen)
The Blue Book of Nebo written by Manon Steffan Ros (Firefly)
Truth Be Told written by Sue Divin (Macmillan)
Julia and the Shark written by Kiran Millwood Hargrave and illustrated by Tom de Freston (Orion)
The Crossing written by Manjeet Mann (Penguin)
Info 3-14+ category                                                                      
Musical Truth: A Musical History of Modern Black Britain in 28 Songs written by Jeffrey            Boakye and illustrated by Ngadi Smart (Faber)
Amazon River written by Sangma Francis illustrated by Rômolo D'Hipólito (Flying Eye)
Bandoola: The Great Elephant Rescue written and illustrated by William Grill (Flying Eye)
Here and Queer written by Rowan Ellis and illustrated by Jacky Sheridan (Frances Lincoln)
The Greatest Show on Earth written and illustrated by Mini Grey (Puffin)
I am the Subway written and illustrated by Kim  Hyo-eun. Translated by Deborah Smith (Scribble)