Information Book Award 2019

by Alison Tarrant

The shortlist for the Information Book Award 2019 was released last month, with 10 books across three age categories – however, there are two opportunities for books to win overall, as there is a ‘Judges’ Overall Winner’ and a ‘Children’s Choice Overall Winner’.

The Children’s Choice winners (there’s one for each age category as well as one overall winner) are chosen by children who vote – and so we are dependent on librarians and teachers introducing these books to their pupils and library users and getting them to vote.

There are activity ideas that link to the curriculum (provided by Peters, a keen supporter of the Award), which can be found here. If you want to do something more generally about information skills then the pack that FCBG helped create in 2016 is still very useful. This can be found here.

The shortlist provides a huge variation of topics, and you can be guaranteed the quality and accuracy is there (they wouldn’t have made it this far if not!). Information books can be incredibly important in starting children on a reading for pleasure journey, and these will delight the adults as well! With stunning design, breath-taking illustrations and interesting narrative these books convey some of the most important topics of our times – from the space race to the silk roads!

Having the IBA lesson was one of the highlights of my year – it works well both as a pre-end of term lesson, or as a solid start to the year in September – a lesson where the class gets to look at the books in pairs or small groups, and then think about specific things – the Top Trumps lessons do this really well (resources here). It gives you a chance to discuss purpose, audience, and the mechanics of information books with pupils, and meanwhile they are also learning about the space race or evolution or politics. The lesson also had an extra impetus as they knew they were contributing to a decision for a national award.  The lesson and discussions had real purpose, and the focus was on justifying opinion – ‘What’s made you think that?’ ‘Can you find a page that shows that?’ so the class as a whole could vote making an informed decision. The only bad thing about this lesson was that I never had enough books for the first class to borrow the ones they wanted! A reservations list is essential.

One of my favourite quotes about the power of reading is that ‘the benefits are reciprocal and exponential’ and this is particularly the case with beautifully created information books – look at the impact that ‘The Lost Words’ (Robert Macfarlane, Jackie Morris) has had on the country. Doing a lesson on these books is an exciting activity that allows children to contribute to something of great value to the teams that create these books. To cast your vote click here. You can do this as a school, or per class. Peters are also providing IBA packs at discounted rates viewable here.

The views expressed do not necessarily represent those of the FCBG.

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