Author Alistair Humphreys and illustrator Kevin Ward have won the 2019 Educational Writers’ Award for Great Adventurers (Big Picture Press).
The winning book was announced at the Authors’ Licensing & Collecting Society (ALCS) in London yesterday (4th December), with chair Tony Bradman presenting the winners with a shared cheque for £2,000.
Great Adventurers: The Incredible Expeditions of 20 Explorers was a compendium hand-picked by Humphreys, whose own adventures include cycling the world and rowing the Atlantic Ocean. It retells the extraordinary stories of 20 men and women including Amelia Earhart, Apsley Cherry-Garrard, Dervla Murphy, Ibn Battuta and Sacagawea.
Judges Hollie Davis, a primary school teacher, author Michaela Morgan and school librarian Fiona Shufflebotham, described it as having “something for everyone”.
They said: “The thoughtfully chosen range of adventurers stretches across history, ages and genders which means that any child can pick this book up and find at least one person they can relate to or feel excited about. A particular charm of the book is the authorial voice, full of excitement and humour. Even the dedication which reads ‘...a book full of madcap adventurers, daft exploits, dubious career paths...’ provides a breath of fresh air.”
It saw off competition on the shortlist from A History of Pictures for Children by David Hockney and Martin Gayford, illustrated by Rose Blake (Thames & Hudson), All Birds Have Anxiety by Kathy Hoopman and designed by Adam Peacock (Jessica Kingsley), Suffragettes and the Fight for the Vote by Sarah Ridley and illustrated by Jeni Child (Franklin Watts), Mr Shaha’s Recipes for Wonder by Alom Shaha and illustrated by Emily Robertson (Scribble), and 2019 Nature Month-by-Month: A Children’s Almanac by Anna Wilson and illustrated by Elly Jahnz (Nosy Crow).
The award, set up in 2008 by the ALCS and the Society of Authors, focused on books for 5 to 11-year-olds, published in 2017 and 2018.