15 November 2021
Shortlist announced for the UK’s sole award for creative educational writing
'Information, inspiration & the planet we call home'
The Society of Authors and the Authors’ Licensing & Collecting Society are delighted to announce the shortlist for the 2021 ALCS Educational Writers’ Award, the UK’s only award for educational writing which stimulates and enhances the learning experience.
The six outstanding books for readers aged 5-11 years on the shortlist introduce children to inspirational disabled role models; encourage them to follow their dreams; explain climate change and what we can do about it; explore difficult emotions; inspire curiosity about the wonders of science; and encourage a love of and care for the natural world.
I am not a label
Author: Cerrie Burnell
Illustrator: Lauren Baldo
Publisher: Wide Eyed Editions
This vibrantly illustrated book introduces young readers to 34 trailblazing disabled role models from around the world, whose incredible lives and careers demonstrate that living with a disability or a chronic illness is not a definition, but just one part of what makes these amazing athletes, activists, thinkers and artists so unique.
Our judges said: “A timely introduction to the lives of successful people with a form of disability, both from history and in the present day. A wonderful celebration of diversity and inclusion, it will both inform, and inspire children to learn that disabilities (whether visible or not) do not need to limit us in our lives.”
Author: Chris Hoy
Illustrator: Miguel Bustos
Publisher: Walker Books
Winner of six Olympic gold medals Chris Hoy tells the inspiring story of how he became the world’s most successful track cyclist of all time by having a dream and working hard. Aimed at a wider audience than just sport lovers, this guide aims to help any child with a dream – however big or small it may be – turn it into reality.
Our judges said: “Chris Hoy’s honesty, humour and energy pour through the pages of this chatty, accessible and relatable book which will encourage children to strive to achieve and face their fears, while also supporting good mental health and wellbeing.”
A climate in chaos
Author: Neal Layton
Illustrator: Neal Layton
Publisher: Wren & Rook
This picture book for nature-loving and environmentalist 5-7-year-olds explains what climate change is, what’s causing it, and why it’s dangerous for animals and humans alike. It’s also packed with ideas for how children can help; from eating more veggies, to walking and cycling, and thinking carefully about what we need to buy.
Our judges said: “The informative but simple language and comic style illustrations in this book make it readily accessible to those learning about climate change for the first time, empowering youngsters to make a difference, without filling them with fear.”
Sometimes I feel...
Author: Sarah Maycock
Illustrator: Sarah Maycock
Publisher: Big Picture Press
“Even a big bear can feel small sometimes and even a mouse can find the inner courage to stand tall”. This picture book explores complex feelings through a collection of animal similes and poetic prose, and through engaging illustrations designed to embody each emotion described.
Our judges said: “This tender and touching book for all ages deftly translates complex emotions into relatable animals illustrations realised with a few brushstrokes; while the carefully-chosen words of the text help put universal feelings into perspective.”
I am a book. I am a portal
to the universe.
Author: Miriam Quick
Illustrator: Stefanie Posavec
Publisher: Particular Books
“Hello. I am a book. But I’m also a portal to the universe”. This love letter to book design uses every one of its physical aspects – including its thickness, weight, shape, volume, colour, and the area of its pages – to tell stories about the wonders we can find in the world.
Author: Matt Wyman
Illustrator: Richard Jones
Publisher: HarperCollins Children’s Books
Based on the successful Netflix series of the same name, this visual celebration of the natural world combines photography from the show with a wealth of illustrations to help children learn about both habitats and living things, and how they all interconnect.
Our judges said: “With appeal for both children and their families and sharing hope and inspiration about saving Planet Earth, this visual celebration of the natural world is perfect for dipping into with its extraordinary photos and stunning illustrations, as well as its highly pertinent and inspiring text.”
About the ALCS Educational Writers' Award
Now in its fourteenth year, the Educational Writers’ Award was established in 2008 by ALCS and the Society of Authors to celebrate educational writing that inspires creativity, encourages students to read widely and build their understanding of a subject beyond the requirements of exam specifications.
The 2020 winner was Black History Matters: The Story of Black History, From African Kingdoms to Black Lives Matter by Robin Walker (Franklin Watts).
The 2021 Award focuses on books for 5–11-year-olds, published in 2019 & 2020. This year’s judges are author Trish Cooke, librarian Hazel Forbes, and teacher Katie Purdy. Further information about each judge appears below.
The winner of the 2021 Educational Writers’ Award will be announced at a reception at the House of Commons in London on Tuesday 7th December. The winning author and illustrator/designer will share a cheque for £2000.