In partnership with their sponsors, Hachette Children’s Book Group (HCG), and Peters, who support the award, the School Library Association are pleased to announce the 2022 winners of their Information Book Award (IBA).
Now in its twelfth year, the IBA aims to emphasise the importance of non-fiction by highlighting and celebrating the high standard of children’s information books. This year’s shortlist was made up of ten terrific titles, covering themes of science, art and diversity.
The awards are divided into three age categories, judged by a panel of educators against a criteria that assesses the quality of the text and illustrations, accuracy, bias and currency, alongside areas such as indexes, glossaries, content and whether it is likely to fire the enthusiasm of young readers.
The Judges Winners
In the 0-7 category, the judges have crowned Meet the Microbes, written by Dr Emily Grossman and illustrated by Maggie Li (Wren & Rook), as the winner. With illustrations that help readers to visualise concepts that can be hard to understand, this title is a colourful exploration of how these tiny living things play a crucial role in our existence.
The judges’ winner of the 8-12 age category is Making a Baby: An Inclusive Guide to How Every Family Begins by Rachel Greener, illustrated by Clare Owen (Nosy Crow). Praised by judges as being “interesting, factually correct, and insightful”, this book crucially celebrates the diversity of many different types of family.
The winner of the 13-16 age category – and taking the title of the overall judges’ winner – is Black Artists Shaping the World by Sharna Jackson & Dr Zoé Whitley (Thames and Hudson).
The judges hail this title as “a stunning beginners’ guide to the best of contemporary Black art”. Populated with “dynamic black and white portraits”, the “thoughtfully presented examples of a wide range of types of art [with] clear, concise text and exceptional design” creates a “classic” for any school library.
The Children’s Winners
As well as the judges’ choices, children have also had the opportunity to vote for their favourite book from the shortlist in order to determine an additional Children’s Choice winner in each age category, and one overall. Generously funded by the Foyle Foundation, this year schools were invited to take part in the IBA Book Club, through which 24 lucky schools received a bundle of free books from a relevant age category in exchange for sharing their experiences of using the shortlist in their school library or classroom and taking part in the 2022 Children’s Choice voting.
Students showed their agreement with the judges by giving Black Artists Shaping the World its third win as the Children’s Choice Winner of the 13-16 age category. An eye-popping celebration of Black history, Black and British: An Illustrated History by David Olusoga, illustrated by Jake Alexander and Melleny Taylor (Macmillan Children’s Books) was named the Children’s Choice Winner of the 8-12 age category, as well as the Children’s Choice Overall Winner. And finally, Katie Daynes and Jordan Akpojaro’s gentle and sensitive lift-the-flap book, What is Racism?, illustrated by Sandhya Prabhat (Usborne), was crowned the Children’s Choice Winner of the 0-7 age category.
These votes from children across the UK show an overwhelming affinity to books that focus on race, with the winners in each age category being titles that celebrate the history and contributions of Black people and thoughtfully explore race for even the youngest of readers.
The winners were announced on Tuesday 22nd November at a ceremony at the offices of Hachette Children’s Group, London.
The evening also saw the announcement of the Hachette Children’s Group Award for Outstanding Contribution to Information Books. Launched in 2017, the award is given to an eminent UK writer or illustrator of information books for children, to mark an exceptional contribution to excellence in their field. Following in the footsteps of Nicola Davies, Nicola Morgan and Marcia Williams, along with last year’s winner, Anita Ganeri, the 2022 award went to Owen Davey.
Owen Davey is a non-fiction illustrator who has worked with a wide range of clients, including WWF, National Geographic, Disney, The Guardian, BBC, Google and ZSL London Zoo. He has been the author and illustrator of numerous non-fiction children’s books on animals, which have been published in over 25 languages around the world.
Margaret Pemberton, Chair of the IBA, says: “Once again, the judges have been excited by the quality of the books submitted for this award. The range of subjects, standard of writing and production have made the judging process challenging. After detailed and energetic discussion, we are delighted by this year’s winners.”
SLA CEO, Alison Tarrant, said: “It’s wonderful to see such important topics and themes reflected in the shortlist, showing us what young people are interested in and care about. We’re pleased that, thanks to generous funding from the Foyle Foundation, we’ve been able to run an IBA Book Club that’s got the books into the hands of the children themselves and supported schools to engage with these brilliant titles. This valuable award once again celebrates some outstanding winners.”
Hilary Murray Hill, CEO of Hachette Children’s Group says: “Information books play a vital role in feeding the minds and development of children and young people today. It is more important than ever that school libraries are supported in providing those readers with access to appealing factual content. We are delighted to sponsor the SLA Information Book Awards in its twelfth year. To ensure the high-quality non-fiction publishing continues to reach readers, it is essential that we continue to celebrate and draw attention to the knowledge, creativity and imagination of authors and illustrators in this field.”
Submissions for the 2023 Information Book Award are now open. For more details on eligibility criteria and how to submit, please visit www.sla.org.uk/iba-2023. Submissions close on 19th December.