David Roberts

NSTBA Past Winners- Picture Book Category

Owl Logo NSTBA.png

It’s our 5th birthday this year and we couldn’t be more excited! Since 2015, we have read and reviewed so many wonderful books- and met so many lovely authors and illustrators. We started the awards to help teachers be more aware of some of the amazing books that are available and that teachers could- and perhaps should- be using in school. Everyone involved in the awards works in education and most of us are teachers, working full time in classes across the primary age range. This puts us in the perfect position for getting these books into the hands of children and for raising their profile with our colleagues.

As submissions for this year must have been received by April 14th, we thought it was a good time to have a look back at our winners in each category from the last four years. So today, we’re starting with the Picture Book Category.

download (24).jpg

Our first ever winners in this category were Tracey Corderoy and Steven Lenton with their wonderful characters, Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam. This book was an instant hit with the team as Shifty and Sam are brilliant and the story is full of fun . There are now four picture books and four chapter books about them- each offering Tracey’s fabulous writing and Steven’s amazing illustrations. A winning team if ever there was one!

download (1).jpeg

Although Tracey and Steven were not able to attend the ceremony, they came and visited some of our schools shortly after and were a huge hit with staff and children alike! They are both the loveliest people and we have seen them many times since, always enjoying their events. You can read our review here

download (25).jpg

In 2016, Michelle Robinson and David Roberts won with their brilliant book, ‘A Beginner’s Guide to Bear Spotting’. Another gem, this caught our eye as it offers something a bit different. We were delighted that Michelle was able to come to the awards- and that she brought her lovely family with her. Michelle is one of those people who always makes you smile- she is full of fun, warm and friendly and it’s always a pleasure to bump into her. You can read our review of ‘Bear Spotting’ here.

download (27).jpg

The winner in 2017 was Matt Carr with ‘Superbat’. This book had been a huge success with children in events we had held in schools. Having a really strong message about what really makes each of us ‘super’ as well as ‘Batty Facts’, ‘Superbat’ is great to use with classes. The bold illustrations encourage children to draw their own pictures and create their own superheroes. We were delighted that Matt was able to join us for the awards. You can read our review here.

download (26).jpg

Last year, the wonderful Sophy Henn won with ‘Almost Anything’, a wonderful story about George who lacks confidence in himself and is reluctant to try anything. Sadly, Sophy was very poorly on the day of the awards, but sent a lovely video message. Once she had recovered, she came to visit one of our schools and did four amazing sessions with children and parents. It was a fantastic day! It is always a pleasure to see Sophy at festivals as she is so engaging - and genuinely lovely! You can read our review here.


Each of these books has been widely used in our schools and each has ideas for a book event and /or teaching notes to go with them which are available to our members. We have thousands of visits to the website each month and often receive feedback, thanking us for our suggestions.

Since the last awards, we have been searching for this year’s long list and are still hunting.When looking at a book, we are always asking ourselves how it could be used as well as thinking about its fun factor. If you have any suggestions or would like to make a submission, please get in touch. Details are available on our home page.

Next, we will revisit the Information Book Category winners!

David Roberts at the Bath Festival


On Sunday, I was delighted to have the chance to hear David Roberts talk about his wonderful book, ‘Suffragette: The Battle for Equality’. It was an amazing session!


David’s interest in the period was first kindled when he did a project at school when he was 14. He was shocked to find out how few rights women had and in creating this book, discovered many less well known figures who were significant to the movement.


Wonderfully knowledgeable about the period, David entertained us with stories about the men and women who bravely fought against inequality in all manner of inventive and original ways. Muriel Matters is one of his favourite figures; he told us the story of how she chained herself to the grill of the Ladies’ Gallery in the House of Commons!


Another House of Commons story involved Emily Davison, the lady who was to die after being hit by the King’s horse at the Derby, who hid in the House to be listed at that address in the 1911 Census. The above picture shows her sneaking in through a door which David has been to see. He also told us that the mouse in the picture is him!


It was a truly fascinating session and was over far too soon! Fortunately, the book is equally fascinating!

You can read our review here.


All 80 titles for the six categories of our long list have now been reviewed! Each and every one a fantastic book, highly recommended by JAB and the NSTAB team.

The short list will be announced on the 8th September. Votes from the panel are already coming in so here's a little reminder of the twelve fabulous books on the Information Category Long List.


How Does a Lighthouse Work?  Roman Belyaev, translated from Russian with the help of Masha Kulikova (b small publishing)


Suffragette: The Battle for Equality   David Roberts (Two Hoots)


Welcome to our World  Moira Butterworth, illustrated by Harriet Lynas  (Nosy Crow)


The Bee Book   Charlotte Milner  (DK)


Star Finder for Beginners: A Step by Step Guide to the Night Sky Foreword by Dr Maggie Aderin-Pocock  (DK)


Young, Gifted and Black  Jamia Wilson, illustrated by Andrea Pippins (Wide Eyed)


The Histronauts: An Egyptian Adventure  Frances Durkin, illustrated by Grace Cooke (b small publishing)


Wild About Science John Farndon, Steve Parker and Sally Morgan (Miles Kelly)


Why Don't Fish Drown? and other vital questions about the animal kingdom  Anna Claybourne, illustrated by Claire Goble (Thames and Hudson) 


Professor Astro Cat's Human Body Odyssey    Dr Dominic Walliman, illustrated by Ben Newman

(Flying Eye Books)  


Politics For Beginners   Alex Frith, Rosie Hore and Louie Stowell, illustrated by Kellan Stover



Books! Books! Books!  Mick Manning, illustrated by Brita Granstrom (Otter-Barry Books)

An amazing group of books, but which of these twelve will be on the shortlist?