Arts Derbyshire


Derby Children’s Picture Book Award 2022 winner announced

The winner of Derby Book Festival’s fourth Derby Children’s Picture Book Award is announced today (8 April).  The winning book, from a shortlist of three, is The Tale of the Whale by Karen Swann and Padmacandra (Scallywag Press) in a very close contest.   The children, in Years 2&3 at 45 Derby schools, voted for their favourite book on Voting Day, 6 April having read the three shortlisted books in their classes.  The book has a strong message about plastic pollution and its impact on the natural world.

In total over 4000 children in 145 classes in the 45 schools took part in this year’s Award.  Every school received sets of the three shortlisted books for each class in February.  The Award aims to celebrate picture books that children can relate to and in which the diversity and challenges of modern life are represented, enabling children to better understand the world they live in.

The announcement of the winner was made by Sophy Henn, last year’s winning author and illustrator, who revealed the winner at a special Zoom event for schools with classes invited to log in.

The winning author, Karen Swann and illustrator, Padmacandra said on hearing the news of their win: “It has been a huge honour to have The Tale of the Whale included on the Derby Children’s Picture Book Awards shortlist for 2022, and we are delighted that so many children in schools across the city have had the opportunity to read and vote on all the books on this fantastic list.

“Thank you to all the teachers involved, both in organising the awards and in helping the children to take part. And thanks to our amazing publisher Scallywag Press for believing in this project.

“Above all – a massive thank you to all the children who engaged with our book, listened to the Whale’s message about plastic pollution, and voted the book as your favourite! We are delighted.”

Di Smith, organiser of the Award and a Festival Trustee said: “The Award continues to grow both in terms of the numbers of schools who are keen to be involved and the engagement with children’s publishers who submitted a record number of books this year.  It has really excited teachers in the city and it was wonderful to visit the schools to see them working with the books.

“We plan to organise a virtual visit by the winning author and illustrator, Karen Swann and Padmacandra, to the participating schools before the end of the summer term. We know how important it is for children to meet the authors of books they read – a report published last year by The National Literacy Trust showed that reading enjoyment levels are markedly higher among those who said that they had a writer visit.”


Liz Fothergill, Chair of Derby Book Festival said: “The Tale of the Whale becomes our fourth very worthy winner.   We are delighted with the enthusiastic response we get from schools for the Award and it is clearly something they value as part of their teaching.  We have been able to involve so many more schools this year – reaching more than half the schools in Derby, thanks to the generous sponsorship of the Award by an anonymous donor.  The Award introduces children to beautifully illustrated picture books which have a profound story to tell, enabling them to develop empathy towards others and better understand the important issues of today’s world.”

“The Award continues be instrumental in delivering our aim to bring all Derby’s residents together in a love of books and to inspire a new generation of readers to appreciate the joy that books and reading bring to our lives.”

Derby Book Festival has always included a strong programme of events for children, families and schools.  Each year the Festival organises Meet the Author events in Derby Theatre for the city’s 60 primary schools.  In 2021 the events were live streamed to schools enabling around 8,000 children and teachers to watch them.  This years.  This year’s events with authors Onjali Q Rauf and Zanib Mian will be held in-person at Derby Theatre and will also be live streamed across Derby and Derbyshire with an aim of reaching over 10,000 children and teachers.

The Festival will also offer children’s events in Derby Theatre during half term with three of the country’s most popular children’s authors: Lauren Child on Monday 30 May, sponsored by Smith Partnership, David Baddiel on Tuesday 31 May and Jacqueline Wilson on Wednesday 1 June, sponsored by Cosy.

To find out more, visit the Festival website and sign up for more information.  You can also follow the Festival on Twitter at: @DerbyBookFest and ‘like’ the Festival on Facebook:

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