The winner of the 2021 ALCS Educational Writers’ Award is Sometimes I Feel: A Menagerie of Feelings Big and Small, written and illustrated by Sarah Maycock.
The 2021 judges praised this “tender and touching” book for deftly translating complex emotions into relatable animal illustrations, realised with a few brushstrokes; and for the way the carefully chosen words of the text help put universal feelings into perspective.
The result of this year’s ALCS Educational Writers’ Award – the UK’s only award for creative educational writing – was announced this evening by Lord Parkinson at the All Party Writers’ Group Winter Reception at the House of Commons. Sarah Maycock receives prize money of £2000.
Published by Big Picture Press, Sometimes I Feel explores common but complex emotions – including bravery, timidness, curiosity and happiness – through a collection of animal similes and poetic prose, accompanied by beautifully paintings of animals which embody each emotion. Of the book’s creation, Sarah Maycock writes that she “wanted to explore the universal nature of animals and how we can relate them to our own experiences and characteristics”.
This year’s judges – children’s author, Trish Cooke; junior school librarian, Hazel Forbes; and former primary headteacher, Katie Purdey – highlighted the winning title’s relevance to our times, adding that “linking feelings to relatable characteristics of animals is a fantastic way to teach children about the power of emotions; their temporary nature, and how we can respond to them in a healthy and helpful way. This book is a must-have for any primary classroom”.
Runner-up for the 2021 ALCS Educational Writers’ Award is I Am Not a Label, written by Cerrie Burnell, illustrated by Lauren Baldo, and published by Wide Eyed Editions. The judges praised the book for encouraging young people to accept and embrace others for who they truly are. “The empowerment this book could give to young people living with a disability or chronic illness is fantastic, with the potential to really make an impact in overcoming misconceptions and celebrating difference.
Further information about the winning author can be found below. The 2021 ALCS Educational Writers’ Award focused on books for 5–11-year-olds, published in 2019 and 2020. Sometimes I Feel… beat off strong competition from the five other titles shortlisted for this year’s Award. They were:
- I AM NOT A LABEL, written by Cerrie Burnell and illustrated by Lauren Baldo (Wide Eyed Editions)
- BE AMAZING: AN INSPIRING GUIDE TO BEING YOUR OWN CHAMPION, written by Chris Hoy and illustrated by Miguel Bustos (Walker Books)
- A CLIMATE IN CHAOS, written and illustrated by Neal Layton (Wren & Rook)
- I AM A BOOK. I AM A PORTAL TO THE UNIVERSE, written by Miriam Quick and illustrated by Stefanie Posavec (Particular Books)
- OUR PLANET, written by Matt Whyman and illustrated by Richard Jones (HarperCollins Children’s Books)
The ALCS Educational Writers’ Award was established in 2008 by ALCS and the Society of Authors (SoA), “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”.
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