Arts Derbyshire


Shortlist announced for Derby Children’s Picture Book Award

Derby Book Festival has announced the three shortlisted books for the Derby Children’s Picture Book Award 2023, selected by 10 Derby primary school teachers.  Now in its fifth year, the Award celebrates picture books that children can relate to and in which the diversity and challenges of modern life are represented.

The Festival, which is funded by the University of Derby will be held for the eighth time in 2023, from 19 – 27 May.  Children’s publishers were invited to submit up to three books, published in 2022, which meet the criteria. A record number of 51 books were submitted from 20 publishers.  Members of the Festival’s Education Group selected the longlist of 11 books before the team of teachers made their selection of the final three.

This year’s shortlist comprises:

  • ‘My Granny is a Queen’ by Madeleine Cook and Rebecca Ashdown (Oxford University Press)
  • ‘Human Town’ by Alan Durant and Anna Doherty (Tiny Owl Publishing)
  • ‘Stop the Clock’ by Pippa Goodhart and Maria Christania (Tiny Owl Publishing

This year 51 Derby schools will take part, receiving copies of the books for each class, involving 169 classes.  Around 5,600 children in Years 2 and 3 will vote for their favourite book after reading them in class this term.  Voting Day is Tuesday 28 March and the winner will be announced on Thursday 30 March.

The four previous winners have been hugely inspiring books, which continue to be used by schools across the city: The Tale of the Whale by Karen Swann and Padmacandra,  All Kinds of Families, written and illustrated by Sophy Henn, Brian the Brave by Paul Stewart & Jane Porter and The Girls by Lauren Ace & Jenny Løvlie.

Di Smith, who devised and organises the Award said: “We had a very high standard of submissions again this year and recognition of the Award continues to grow.  We are delighted that each year the number of books and publishers increases.  Last year we had 34 books submitted and this year the number has leapt to a record 51 books.  We have an excellent and varied shortlist of books which will give children the opportunity to see a window on their world and a mirror in which to see themselves.”

Paula from Firs Estate Primary School, whose pupils have been involved with the Award in previous years, said: “It is lovely to get the chance to spend time looking at books with a focus on celebrating diversity and belonging.”   Chris from St Chad’s Junior School said: “It’s not often we get the chance, as teachers, to sit and talk about books for children with like-minded people.”

Liz Fothergill CBE DL, Chair of Derby Book Festival said: “One of the Festival’s key aims is to inspire a new generation of readers to appreciate the joy that books and reading bring to our lives.  The Book Award is central to this and we are delighted that even more children will be involved with our 2023 Award.

This year we have three beautifully illustrated, thought-provoking and engaging picture books which will both inspire a child and help them to understand the issues and challenges of today’s modern world. “

Professor Keith McLay, Provost – of Learning and Teaching at the University of Derby, said: “It is fantastic to see the growth of the Children’s Picture Book Award as part of the Derby Book Festival.

“Sharing ideas, knowledge and creativity are crucial to learning, so it is particularly pleasing to see the Festival focus on encouraging children to get involved and engage with reading.

“Derby Book Festival expands and develops each year, offering an exciting programme of events for all to get involved in, and we are delighted to continue to support it.”

Derby Book Festival has a strong programme of events for children, families and schools.  Each year it organises Meet the Author events for Derby and Derbyshire primary and secondary schools, which last year reached over 11,000 pupils.  The two primary events are held at Derby Theatre and live-streamed to around 60 schools across the city and county.  This year’s Meet the Author events will include the current Children’s Laureate, Joseph Coelho and author and former Derby school teacher, Lesley Parr.  Secondary schools will also have a Meet the Author event for Year 7s.

Derby Book Festival is funded by Arts Council England and the University of Derby with additional sponsorship from local businesses.

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