Yesterday, I was delighted to be selected as the winner of the 2018 Educational Writer’s Award, organised by ALCS and the Society of Authors, for Far From Home: Refugees and Migrants Fleeing War, Persecution & Poverty.
The shortlist included a fine selection of books on themes of great interest and importance to young people: loos – water and sanitation; the lesbian and gay pride movement; coding; the history of painting.
I am grateful to Franklin Watts and my editor Amy Pimperton (below) for commissioning the book at the height of the Middle East refugee crisis. I couldn’t have written the book without the refugees and volunteers who shared their stories. I wanted to give refugees a voice in the book so that readers could learn what it’s like having to flee your home, leaving everything behind to embark on a long, difficult, dangerous journey to an unknown destination. How does it feel to arrive in a new country and how do local people respond to refugees? I was also determined to present the issues in a non-judgemental way so that children could discuss them and make up their own minds.
I very much appreciate the work of ALCS and the Society of Authors in showcasing educational writing through this award. Naturally, I will divide the generous prize money among refugee organisations that helped me to write the book.