The SLA Information Book Award – helping highlight excellent information books for children

Today we bring you a guest post by Tricia Adams, Director of the School Library Association, who would like to invite all FCBG groups to take part in the SLA Information Book Award.

IBA-illus-WEB“This is the fifth year that we have been running the SLA Information Book Award with the generous support of our sponsors – Hachette Children’s books. We started in 2011 with very tentative steps wondering if publishers would support another award. We are pleased to announce they most definitely do! Our sponsors comment ‘Hachette Children’s Group are proud to be the sponsors of the SLA Information Book Award. We value the special attention this award gives to the vast range of inspirational information books that are published each year by such talented authors and illustrators, and the opportunity it gives for children to vote for their favourite in each category. It also provides us as publishers the opportunity to acknowledge and thank all the librarians who continue to be such enthusiastic champions of information books for children of all ages in their school libraries.

The award is split into three categories: Under 7, 7 – 12 and 12 – 16. The judges are looking for information books that will stimulate interest, have an innovative approach and/or format, have child appeal, be up to date in approach as well as have value (for education and enjoyment) going forward. The books must show use of appropriate pictures, language and topic for the age group and the synergies between text, layout and illustration must create a stimulating whole. The books must be published in the previous year and, although the books may be part of a series, they need to be able to be read as standalone works

The award has always had two strands to it – the Judges choices, which are announced in a Longlist around early March, and then a Shortlist about a month later. But it is at the shortlist stage that we invite children to get involved via their reading groups in schools or libraries. We create an online voting form for the (usually) nine titles – three in each of the age categories then groups can decide on their favourites and vote. Groups do not need to vote in every category as groups may not be age appropriate for some of the books. These votes are tallied at the end of the process, then the books authors and illustrators are all invited to the award ceremony when there are awards for each category plus an overall winner from both judges and children’s choices. Some year’s children and judges agree – many years they do not! It all adds to the value and the choices for excellent information books for the future.

We’d like to extend an invitation to you, as FCBG book groups, to join us in the Children’s Choice voting for the 2015 winners. Voting usually opens in mid-June and then closes immediately before the actual award ceremony in the autumn (dates are currently being negotiated, but will be announced very shortly to give you time to fit them into your planning schedule.) We also produce resources for use with groups or classes that can be used with the books – and this year plan to produce resource sheets for every shortlisted book, as well as the more general information that is already available. To see what has gone before do look at our website – http://www.sla.org.uk/information-book-award.php (each year has a separate page). Peters Books and Furniture usually produce packs of the books each year at a very generous discount, if they are not already included in your collections.

I do hope you’ll feel you want to give it a try this year – so watch out for the announcements coming soon. Do get in touch if you want to clarify anything – info@sla.org.uk

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