48th UKLA International Conference

This weekend I had the pleasure of attending the UK Literacy Association (UKLA) Book Awards and 48th International Conference in Leicester. 

As a student primary teacher, I was involved in shadowing the book awards to help decide a winner of the Student Teacher Vote in the 7-11 age group. While at the award ceremony, I was able to meet two of the authors - Ruth Eastham (The Memory Cage) and Katherine Rundell (The Girl Savage). Being able to discuss their books was an honour as both were very well received in our shadowing group. It was a pleasure to discuss their books with them and understand their inspiration for writing their stories.

Student teachers across the country have been shadowing the awards to choose a winner. The category I have been involved with is the 7-11 years books. The shortlisted books I have read for this category are:

  • A Girl Called Dog - Nicola Davies
  • The Memory Cage - Ruth Eastham
  • Small Change for Stuart - Lissa Evans
  • Sky Hawk - Gill Lewis
  • Moon Pie - Simon Mason
  • The Girl Savage - Katherine Rundell

Each group of student teachers has read all of the shortlisted books in their category and decided on a winner. While I know the result of our winner, the overall winner was announced during the awards ceremony on Friday night - congratulations to Gill Lewis for winning the award. Additionally, Ruth Eastham was awarded the Student Teacher Vote.

For me, choosing a winner was not an easy decision. During our book club discussions, we were joined by lecturers form the Primary English team who have challenged and developed our opinions towards the books. It has been this discussion of each book that has contributed towards my development in understanding children’s literature; it has built my confidence in critical thinking and being able to validate my opinion against lecturers, who are traditionally seen as authoritative figures.

Of the themes covered by the books, some of which are incredibly emotive, each has been different and handles the theme in a different way. Covering such themes from alcoholism to magic, it has been great to see how these authors have used language sensitively to discuss the theme in a way which is appropriate for children.