As usual, this was at the House of Commons (very occasionally, it’s in the Lords) and, this year, doubled with the new Ruth Rendell Award for Services to Literacy. The event was on 6 December.
The winner of the Educational Writers Award was This Is Not a Maths Book by Anna Weltman, illustrated by Edward Cheverton and Ivan Hissey, published by Ivy Kids. The judges said of it that it’s ‘just not maths as you thought you knew it …it makes you itch to take up a pencil and get started on the designs … it taught us more about [maths and art] than we’ve learned in aeons!’
Runners up were: The School of Art by Teal Triggs and illustrated by Daniel Frost, published by Wide Eyed Editions; and The Oxford Illustrated Shakespeare Dictionary by David and Ben Crystal, illustrated by Kate Bellamy, published by Oxford University Press.
The Ruth Rendell Ward winner was Andy McNab, who sent a video explaining how as a once-reluctant reader, now turned best-selling writer, he has worked to encourage young people to overcome struggles with reading and learn to enjoy it.
An interesting footnote is that two of the winning publishers – Ivy Kids and Wide Eyed Editions – are part of the Quarto group, though they began as small independents. And both books are distinctly one-off and unorthodox. Can this mean that the straitjacket of illustrated non-fiction in series is now a little looser than it used to be?
Nibweb members are likely to be keen to oblige if imagination, originality and idiosyncrasy are high on the agenda in future!