If The World Were 100 People wins ALCS Educational Writers’ Award 2023

The book, written by Jackie McCann and illustrated by Aaron Cushley, wins the UK’s only award for creative educational writing.

The author and illustrator were presented with the award, along with a prize of £2,000, at last night’s ALCS Annual Awards ceremony at the Goldsmiths’ Centre in London.

If The World Were 100 People helps children to better understand the world they live in by imagining the world was condensed to a small village of 100 people and explaining what this global village would look like.

Author Jackie McCann said: “It’s a great time to be writing and illustrating children’s non-fiction. It’s a really vibrant and creative area. Gone are the days when non-fiction had to be curriculum compatible and subject specific. The field has exploded and writers can appeal to a child’s sense of wonder about almost anything.”

Illustrator Aaron Cushley said: “It’s an incredible achievement. I’m just so grateful for everyone who sees the potential in this book.”

Judge Imogen Thomas said: “At first look, we thought this was a very simple little picture book with information and illustrations that were wonderful and a wide variety of facts about the world we live in. But when we considered it in more detail, we thought that its simplicity was actually the genius behind this book. It was current, accessible, original and vibrant.”

The other shortlisted books for readers aged 5-11 encouraged young readers to think about the role of art in historical social movements; learn about themselves through genetics; find out about the plastic crisis and what can be done; and answered their questions about racism.

ALCS Chief Executive Barbara Hayes said: “Good educational writing not only imparts knowledge to the reader, but also inspires a curiosity to go and learn more about the world. The five books shortlisted are all fantastic examples of this and it was fascinating to hear about the wide range of topics covered. Congratulations to our winners Jackie and Aaron!”

The ALCS Educational Writers’ Award was established in 2008 by ALCS and the Society of Authors to celebrate educational writing that inspires creativity, encourages students to read widely and builds up their understanding of a subject beyond the requirements of exam specifications.

You can read about the winners of the other two prizes from the awards ceremony below:

Ruth Rendell Award

V.S. Pritchett Short Story Prize