Five ‘original and beautiful and mind-expanding’ books
The Authors’ Licensing & Collecting Society (ALCS) and the Society of Authors (SoA) have announced the shortlist for the 2023 ALCS Educational Writers’ Award. The UK’s only award for educational writing, it recognises books that inspire creativity, encourage students to read widely and build up their understanding of a subject beyond the requirements of exam specifications.
The five shortlisted books for ages 5-11, encourage young readers to think about the role of art in historical social movements; understand our world by imagining it were just 100 people; learn about themselves through genetics; find out about the plastic crisis and what can be done; and answer their questions about racism.
This year’s judges are award-winning author Atinuke, primary school teacher Imogen Thomas, and critic, author and children’s book consultant Jake Hope.
Atinuke said, ‘What a joy it has been to judge this prize – to read, pore over and experience so many enlightening books. The books on the shortlist stood out as being original and beautiful and mind expanding – books I want to introduce to friends and family and even perfect strangers. I am so happy to know that such books exist in the world.’
The shortlist is:
Art of Protest
From Keith Haring to Extinction Rebellion, the civil rights movement to Black Lives Matter, what does a revolution look like? With an emphasis on design, Art of Protest analyses artworks from historical movements to understand how colour, symbolism, technique, typography and much more play an important role in communication.
If The World Were 100 People
Jackie McCann, illus Aaron Cushley, Red Shed
There are more than 8 billion humans living on Earth, but it’s difficult for us to picture so many people. To help put things in perspective, the book imagines the whole planet is a village where 100 people live – each person representing around 80 million people in the real world. What does this global village of 100 people look like?
You are 25% Banana
Susie Brooks, illus Josy Bloggs, Red Shed
This hilarious introduction to genetics aimed at children aged 5 years and over explains how we are made and how we relate to every living thing on the planet. The book brims with thought-provoking facts such as: a grain of rice has more genes than you, we’re related to dogs, dung beetles and even daffodils, and that we’re 99.9% genetically similar to chimpanzees!
See Inside Why Plastic Is a Problem
Matthew Oldham, Lizzie Cope, illus Spencer Wilson, Usborne Publishing
This vividly illustrated book is packed with flaps that explain how plastic is made, what’s bad (and sometimes good) about different types of plastic, and the many ways it can cause harm to our rivers, oceans and wildlife. And there are lots of ideas for cutting down on your own reliance on plastic, too. The book was created with expert input from Plastic Oceans UK, a leading campaign and education group all about the problem of plastic.
Lift-the-flap Questions and Answers about Racism
Jordan Akpojaro, illus Ashley Evans, Usborne Publishing
From ‘What’s wrong with the idea of ‘race’? and ‘Why is life harder for people with darker skin?’ to ‘Don’t ALL lives matter?’ and ‘What’s racism got to do with me?’ this book tackles powerful, pertinent questions in a direct, accessible and thought- provoking way. Discover why racism is everyone’s problem to solve, and how we can all be part of the solution.
The winner of the 2023 ALCS Educational Writers’ Award will be announced at an event in London on 22 February 2024. The winning author and illustrator/designer will share a prize of £2,000.