2017 Educational Writers’ Award: CODES & INVENTIONS & ALL CREATURES GREAT & SMALL

Shortlist announced for the UK’s only award for creative educational writing.

The Society of Authors and the Authors’ Licensing & Collecting Society are delighted to announce the shortlist for the 2017 Educational Writers’ Award, the UK’s only award for educational writing which stimulates and enhances the learning experience.

The six outstanding books for readers aged 5-11 years on this year’s shortlist take us to teeming rainforests and into deep blue seas, explore the exciting possibilities of coding, celebrate humankind’s brightest inventions, and create a buzz about bees and minibeasts.


Author: Kate Baker
Illustrator: Eleanor Taylor
(Publisher: Big Picture Press/Templar)

This lavishly illustrated, large format book takes young readers on a journey of discovery from rock pools along the shoreline, to the deepest, darkest depths of the ocean to uncover an incredible, and rarely seen world. It reveals the creatures that live there – from the microscopic and the bizarre, to the fragile and the deadly – in all their startling beauty.

Our judges said: Taking its readers on a diving experience to discover the wonders of the deep blue sea, this book has a well-written and accessible text which will appeal to a wide range of ages, and beautiful artwork which brings the marine world to life.


Author: Jess French
Illustrator: Jonathan Woodward
Paper Engineering: Keith Finch
(Publisher: Red Shed/Egmont)

Find out how caterpillars change into beautiful butterflies, pond dip for baby dragonflies, and then continue the journey with the pop and play minibeast model which awaits the reader at the end of this colourful book. Each adventure, from pond to plant to night-time hunts for moths with torches, is full of facts and activities that encourage children to explore the world around them.

Our judges said: A bright, inviting and informative book, clearly written without being patronising. Its magical ideas are superbly laid out, with accessible text that will appeal to younger and early readers.


Author: Deborah Kespert
Designer: Karen Wilks
(Publisher: Thames & Hudson)

From Archimedes’ machine for carrying water uphill, to Tim Berners-Lee’s creation of the World-Wide Web, here are gripping stories of brilliant brave inventors who dared think the unthinkable and do the impossible, and so helped create our 21st century world. Organised thematically, there are chapters on Pioneers, Communication, Technology, Transport and Space.

Our judges said: Full of interesting information enlivened with beautiful photographs, drawings and paintings, this is a fascinating book which ranges across technologies and across time, with a varied approach which will appeal equally to early, and more advanced readers.


Author: Sean McManus
Illustrator: Venitia Dean
(Publisher: QED Publishing/Quarto)
Teaching young readers how to design and code their very own computer games, this book gives readers the ten essential skills to get started.

Our judges said: Providing a lively way into an exciting new subject for all age groups, this book approaches complex ideas with both humour, and beautiful clarity. Full of handy tips and easy-to-understand instructions, it succeeds in making coding a fun activity for both boys and girls.


Author: Kate Messner
Illustrator: Simona Mulazzani
(Publisher: Chronicle Books)

Deep in the forest, in the warm-wet green, who makes their homes in the almendro tree? 2 great green macaws, 4 keel-billed toucans, 8 howler monkeys, 16 fruit bats, 32 fer-de-lance vipers, 64 agoutis, 128 blue morpho butterflies, 256 poison dart frogs, 512 rusty wandering spiders and 1024 leafcutter ants. Count each and every one as life multiplies again and again in this vibrant and lush book about the rainforest.

Our judges said: Based on the wonderful idea that a single tree supports thousands of lives, this is an attractive and layered picture book with two kinds of text; a simple text about one kind of animal associated with the tree, with more detailed information about that animal alongside. Its brilliant use of numeracy activities, and its gorgeous illustrations will encourage lots of questions.


Author: Wojciech Grajkowski
Illustrator: Piotr Socha
Translator: Agnes Monod-Gayraud
(Publisher: Thames & Hudson)

Who survived being stung by 2443 bees? What does a beekeeper actually do? How do bees communicate? This epic encyclopaedic book illustrated by popular Polish cartoonist, Piotr Socha (and son of a beekeeper!) tracks bumble bees from the age of the dinosaurs to their current plight, examining the role bees have played throughout history and in the rest of the natural world.

Our judges said: A beautifully and wittily illustrated compendium of information all about bees and their interconnectedness with the world. Broad in its themes and containing lots of humour, it takes in the ancient Greeks and Egyptians, entymology, botany, the Bible, design, technology and much more.

Now in its tenth year, the Educational Writers’ Award was established in 2008 by the Authors’ Licensing & Collecting Society (ALCS) and the Society of Authors (SoA) “to celebrate educational writing that inspires creativity and encourages students to read widely and build up their understanding of a subject beyond the requirements of exam specifications”. The 2016 winner was This is Not a Maths Book: A Smart Art Activity Book, written by Anna Weltman, and illustrated by Edward Cheverton and Ivan Hissey.

The 2017 Award focuses on books for 5-11 year-olds, published in 2015 & 2016. This year’s judges are: Marion Le Lannou, a school librarian; Mike Reeves, a London headteacher; and Annemarie Young, a writer, editor and publisher of books for young people. Further information about each judge appears below.

The winner of the 2017 Educational Writers’ Award will be announced at the All Party Writers Group (APWG) Winter Reception at the House of Commons on Tuesday 5th December. The winning author will receive a cheque for £2000. #EWA17

Read the full press release.