The Story of the Blue Planet wins the UKLA AWARD


10322707_647227998723968_6106996104475040042_nThe winners

The unique UKLA Book Awards are the only awards judged entirely by teachers. The judges have awarded one of them for the first time to a book in translation, to Pushkin Children’s very first book on their list, The Story of the Blue Planet by Andri Snær Magnason, translated by Júlían Meldon D’Arcy and illustrated by Áslaug Jónsdóttir.

“The Story of the Blue Planet comes alive when you read it to a class of children who love the idea of a place, populated entirely by children, living in harmony, playing happily and bathing rarely! Into this blissful existence comes the shady character of Jolly-Goodday who entices them into a whole new level of fun – but at a cost … Suspense, laughter and many questions accompany each chapter in this book, which has been enjoyed by classes throughout the 7-11 age range, each appreciating it on different levels and inspiring moral, philosophical and environmental debate. I loved reading it aloud – you could have heard a pin drop in my class! One boy said ‘Please can you just read it all day?’” Jane Steel (judge)

The Story of the Blue Planet is a whimsical fairy tale that will appeal to fans of Maurice Sendak, Dr Seuss and Hans Christian Andersen. It is also the first children’s book to win the prestigious Icelandic Literary Prize and is published in 26 countries.

‘Andri Snær Magnason writes with a Seussian mix of wonder, wit and gravitas’ The New York Times


Alayne Ó¦zturk, President of UKLA said “UKLA is committed to the importance of a diverse range of literature for children and young people. We know that literature broadens the reader’s experience of the world and sense of the possible and thus should have a central place in classrooms and educational contexts. The exceptional quality of the shortlists this year and the truly outstanding winners shows that there are many gems to be found amongst the smaller presses and we are proud to be celebrating international authors and illustrators at our 50th International Conference”

The winning book for the 3 to 6 years category is This is not my Hat written and illustrated by Jon Klassen, published by Walker Books

The winning book in the 12 to16+ years category is Now is the Time for Running by Michael Williams, published by Tamarind Books an imprint of Random House Children’s Books

The Award winners for the book categories 3 to 6, 7 to11 and 12 to16+ years were announced at a wine reception at the UKLA International Conference at the University of Sussex on Friday 4th July 2014.


Notes to editors

The United Kingdom Literacy Association (UKLA) is a registered charity, which has as its sole object the advancement of education in literacy. UKLA is concerned with literacy education in school and out-of-school settings in all phases of education and members include classroom teachers, teaching assistants, school literacy co-ordinators, LEA literacy consultants, teacher educators, researchers, inspectors, advisors, publishers and librarians.

The UKLA Book Award is unique as it is the only national book award selected by teachers from both the primary and secondary sectors.

For UKLA, giving classroom practitioners the opportunity to read a number of new children’s books is as important as finding an overall winner. Research carried out by members of UKLA (Cremin et al 2008) clearly demonstrated the links between teachers’ knowledge of children’s books and the likelihood of pupils becoming successful readers. Despite this evidence, teachers are seldom given time to read new books or funding to purchase them when they do.

Sponsors Micro Librarian Systems have over 25 years experience developing high specification library systems for schools and colleges and provide library automation solutions to over 15,000 schools worldwide. They provide cost effective and user friendly library systems, which will revolutionise the way the library works, support the curriculum and encourage reading for pleasure and purpose. They are committed to providing engaging technologies to foster a reading and information culture that promotes independent motivated readers and learners for life. For more information see

The final panel of teachers to decide the prize winners was drawn from the group of over 55 teachers from schools across Sussex involved in the shortlisting.

Teachers were looking for books which evocatively express ideas and offer layered meanings through the use of language, imaginative expression and rich illustration. The opportunity to widen their knowledge of new children’s books and to read, enjoy and talk about them together was welcomed by the teachers involved.

Andri Snær Magnason and Áslaug Jónsdóttir are available for publicity

Contact Rosamund Hutchison / +44 (0)7886618301

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