a

Lorem ipsum dolor amet, modus intellegebat duo dolorum graecis

Follow Us
  /  Woke Babies Book Awards   /  The Woke Babies Book Awards – Meet the Judges

The Woke Babies Book Awards – Meet the Judges

The Woke Babies Book Awards will celebrate black creatives and their incredible work, spotlighting empowering children’s books with positive and uplifting themes, which has a black author or illustrator at its helm. On a mission to change the narrative and give black creatives a voice, we have partnered with BookTrust, National Literacy Trust, World Book Day and Milk Honey Bees for our first ever awards, with sponsorship from DK.

We’re delighted to announce our diverse judging line-up. Our expert judging panel is made up of authors, literary agents and publishers!

Ken Wilson-Max

Ken Wilson-Max has a boastful career as an illustrator and as a publisher of TWO publishing houses, AlannaMax and as of November 2021, HarperCollins. Wilson-Max founded AlannaMax in 2017 after having spent the last 25 years writing and illustrating children’s books. A champion for bettering diversity in books, Ken makes an excellent judge for the Woke Babies Book Awards.

Every child should be able to see or read themselves in a book, just as much as they should be able to see their friends lives reflected, especially if they come from different backgrounds. The Woke Babies Book Awards will make it easier to find stories from black authors and illustrators that do just that. Its a great privilege to be a judge. Not only do we get to see those stories first, but we also get a unique overview of the depth of new black British creativity in children’s publishing.
- Ken Wilson-Max, AlannaMax and HarperCollins

Rykesha Hudson

BookTrust’s Rykesha Hudson makes a brilliant addition to the awards. Through her work with BookTrust Represents, she has championed black creatives and worked hard to better representation in children’s books. She has an Instagram book review page where she shines a spotlight on inclusive and diverse picture books.

“I am honoured and so very excited to judge the inaugural Woke Babies Book Awards. Ensuring that all children see themselves and the wider community reflected in new books that they read is an important focus for BookTrust. As part of this focus, BookTrust Represents was launched in 2019, to improve representation in children’s literature and get children reading books by illustrators and authors of colour. Woke Babies also strives for better representation in children’s books and we’re so pleased to partner with them on their first award.”
- Rykesha Hudson, BookTrust

Kirsty Cunnington

As the early years programme manager for National Literacy Trust, Kirsty is an expert in children’s literature. Through her work she has worked on projects to support communities. A supporter of bridging the inequality gap in children’s literature, she makes a brilliant and welcome addition to the Woke Babies Book Awards.

Every child should be able to see or read themselves in a book, just as much as they should be able to see their friends lives reflected, especially if they come from different backgrounds. The Woke Babies Book Awards will make it easier to find stories from black authors and illustrators that do just that. Its a great privilege to be a judge. Not only do we get to see those stories first, but we also get a unique overview of the depth of new black British creativity in children’s publishing.
- Kirsty Cunnington, National Literacy Trust

Natasha Vignon

Representing Woke Babies, Natasha Vignon spends her days sourcing black children’s books. She knows what to look out for when it comes to fun, positive children’s books.

"It's an honour to be a part of the first ever Woke Babies Book Awards. To be a part of this ground-breaking award ceremony for children's books is incredible."
- Natasha Vignon, Woke Babies

Kate Sayer

As a part of World Book Day, Kate Sayer is immersed in children’s books and the importance of them reflecting the society we live in. She understands that inclusive and diverse children’s books help broaden children’s opportunities. She makes a fantastic judge for the Woke Babies Book Awards.

"World Book Day is delighted to partner with Woke Babies for their inaugural book awards. Our mission is to promote reading for pleasure, offering every child and young person the opportunity to have a book of their own. We know that to develop a reading for pleasure habit books children encounter need to reflect their lived experiences and these awards will broaden what is available to children."
- Kate Sayer, World Book Day

Francesca Young

Publisher at DK, Francesca Young makes a brilliant judge for the awards. An expert in her field, she knows exactly what to be looking for when finding inspiring, engaging and fun children’s books.

"I am thrilled to be a part of these fantastic, and very important, awards. Everything that Kelly and her team does at Woke Babies is always creative, fun and engaging and I can't wait to see what new talent we find."
- Francesca Young, DK

Trish Cooke

Yorkshire-born author, Trish Cooke published her first children’s book in 1989. Since then she has published 22 books, including So Much, Zoom and the Hairytales series, the latter published by Woke Babies. She also has experience working in children’s television as one of the original writers of CBBC show Tweenies.

Her immersive storytelling has inspired generations of children. Her hard work and dedication to diversifying children’s literature makes her an excellent judge for the Woke Babies Book Awards.

"I am so excited about Woke Babies Book Awards, celebrating the work of black authors and illustrators. Thank you Woke Babies for asking me to be one of the judges!"
- Trish Cooke, Author

Elorine Grant

Art Director, Elorine Grant’s expertise makes her a wonderful addition to the awards. She has worked on the bestselling books from author, David Walliams. Her successes prove her to be a brilliant judge, from a book’s first conception to publication.

"The Woke Babies Book Awards will highlight the continual great work that is being done in children’s literature - showcasing the diversity in publishing and the importance of seeing ourselves in books. 2021 was an amazing year for black character led books, from picture books to young fiction, there have been some real stand out gems. I’m looking forward to reading the selected books and helping to choose the winners."
- Elorine Grant, HarperCollins

Jasmine Richards

Author and founder of Storymix, Jasmine Richards makes an excellent addition to the awards panel. She has worked in children’s publishing for over 15 years and written over a dozen books for children, ranging from picture books to teen fiction. Storymix focuses on putting children of colour front and centre in stories with inclusive casts of characters, through its creative projects. She is always seeking to work with new voices to offer an apprenticeship for minoritised writers and illustrators and create a pathway to being published.

"The Woke Babies Book Awards is a brilliant initiative that spotlights and celebrates the types of stories that I adore to read or create through my production company Storymix. Uplifting, positive pieces of literature that centre children of colour. Woke Babies have always supported Black authors and illustrators, which I believe is crucial to ending the cycle of under-representation within the industry. I am honoured to be on their judging panel."
- Jasmine Richards, Storymix

Marvyn Harrison

Marvyn Harrison founded Dope Black Dads in 2018 with the aim to create safe spaces for black families and since then has dedicated his time to creating opportunities for the black community. Publishing his first children’s book later this year, Marvyn makes an excellent judge for the Woke Babies Book Awards.

"I am excited to be a part of this award show. Books are so important and we need to continually inspire authors and the next generation with incredible stories and ideas."
- Marvyn Harrison, Dope Black Dads

Sallyanne Sweeney

Literary agent, Sallyanne Sweeney joined Mulcahy Sweeney in 2013 and has gone on to grow an impressive client list including award-winning author and illustrator, Nathan Bryon and Dapo Adeola. Her commitment to inspiring diverse children’s books makes her a brilliant judge.

“Woke Babies does an incredible job in shining a light on empowering, engaging and, most of all, FUN children’s books by Black authors and illustrators and I’m hugely honoured to be one of the judges for the inaugural Woke Babies Book Awards. I can’t wait to discover the literary stars who will be inspiring this generation of young readers.”
- Sallyanne Sweeney, Mulcahy Sweeney

Liz Pemberton

A former nursery manager and a qualified teacher, Liz Pemberton is a fantastic addition to the Woke Babies Book Awards.
Working in a nursery where the children were predominantly from an African-Caribbean background, Liz is a campaigner for better representation and she knows that starts through the books we read.

"I am thrilled to have been invited to be a judge for such an important award. Given my work in anti-racist practice in the Early Years sector I definitely recognise the power of books in shaping the world views of children"
- Liz Pemberton, The Black Nursery Manager

Post a Comment