ALCS Educational Writers' Award shortlist revealed

ALCS Educational Writers' Award shortlist revealed

Titles exploring climate change, expressing difficult emotions and exploring the wonders of the scientific world have been shortlisted this year for the Society of Authors (SoA) and Authors’ Licensing & Collecting Society (ALCS) Educational Writers’ Award.

Now in its 14th year, the Educational Writers’ Award was established in 2008 to celebrate educational writing that inspires creativity, encourages students to read widely and builds their understanding of a subject beyond the requirements of exam specifications.

This year’s judging panel includes author Trish Cooke, librarian Hazel Forbes  and teacher Katie Purdy, who selected the shortlist focusing on a readership aged between five to 11 years.

Described as a "wonderful celebration of diversity and inclusion" Cerrie Burnell's I am not a Label, illustrated by Lauren Baldo (Wide Eyed Editions), introduces readers to 34 trailblazing disabled role models from around the world, featuring athletes, creatives, activists and artists.

Winner of six Olympic gold medals, Chris Hoy's Be Amazing! illustrated by Miguel Bustos (Walker Books), tells the story of how he became the world’s most successful track cyclist of all time by having a dream and working hard. "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," the judges said.

A Climate in Chaos, authored and illustrated by Neal Layton (Wren & Rook), explains what climate change is, what’s causing it, and why it’s dangerous for animals and humans alike. It also features ideas for how children can help from eating more veggetables, to walking, cycling and thinking carefully about purchasing items.

Sarah Maycock's "tender and touching" picturebook Sometimes I Feel... (Big Picture Press) explores complex feelings through a collection of animal similes and poetic prose, using "engaging" illustrations designed to embody each emotion described.

I am a Book. I am a Portal to the Universe, written by Miriam Quick and illustrated by Stefanie Posavec (Particular Books), is billed as a "love letter to book design" and informs the reader about the world's  scientific wonders. “This highly original and sometimes hilarious book – in which the book itself becomes the main character and speaks directly to the reader – is full of both scientific facts and colourful images across its fun and funky layout, encouraging curiosity in young readers," the judges said. 

The sixth shortlisted book is Our Planet by Matt Whyman, illustrated by Richard Jones (HarperCollins Children's Books). Based on the Netflix series of the same name, the "visual celebration of the natural world" combines photography from the show with Jones' artwork to help children learn about both habitats and living things, and how they all interconnect.

The winner of the 2021 Educational Writers’ Award will be announced at a House of Common reception on 7th December. The winning author and illustrator/designer will share a cheque for £2,000.

The 2020 winner was Black History Matters: The Story of Black History, From African Kingdoms to Black Lives Matter by Robin Walker (Franklin Watts).