How much can a blue whale eat in one day? Which animal has the largest eye on the planet? What is the smallest mammal?
A book teeming with questions like these (and the answers, of course) has scooped a prestigious prize for educational writers.
The judges of the 2014 Educational Writers’ Award described The World in Infographics: Animal Kingdom as “an outstanding book”.
Illustrated with colourful icons, pictograms and graphics, it details the biggest, smallest, deadliest and rarest animals in the world.
Shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt presented the award to co-authors Jon Richards and Ed Simkins at a ceremony at the House of Commons last month.
The Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS) and the Society of Authors established the award in 2008 to celebrate educational writing that encourages students “to read widely and build up their understanding of a subject beyond the requirements of exam specifications”. It is the UK’s only prize for educational writing.
The 2014 prize focused on books for 11 to 18-year-olds and the winners beat off three other shortlisted titles – Keep Your Cool: How to Deal with Life’s Worries and Stress by Dr Aaron Balick and Clotilde Szymanski, Mission: Explore Food by The Geography Collective and Tom Morgan-Jones, and The Danger Zone: Avoid being Sir Isaac Newton! by Ian Graham and David Antram.
“We were really thrilled to be selected,” said Jon Richards, “especially as the other titles on the shortlist were of such a high calibre.”
The judges of the £2,000 award, teacher Vanessa Casey, school librarian Aidan Higgins and author Anne Rooney, were unanimous in their praise for the winning book and said that it was “thoroughly engaging and informative”.
The World in Infographics: Animal Kingdom by Jon Richards and Ed Simkins is published by Wayland, price £8.99. CAPTION: Animal success: (from left) Award winning authors Ed Simkins and Jon Richards with shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt