At the end of our shared journey: a special thank you to shadowers

A special  letter to  shadowers from Helen Thompson, Chair of the 2014 judging panel

Helen Thomson - Chair of Judges

Helen Thomson – Chair of Judges

Well, here we are at last! What a journey, from being presented with the list of nominated titles – 76 for the Carnegie, and 61 for the Kate Greenaway – to the final, exhausting, judging meeting where the winners were finally identified. Every step of the way we, the judges, have felt your presence through your reviews, magazines and pages.

It is wonderful to be able to share the excitement of exploring these amazing books with you, to hear your passion, and to know that Shadowing Groups all over the world are spreading the joy of reading.

I want to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt thanks to you for taking part in this year’s shadowing, and helping to make the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Awards so very special. I very much look forward to meeting some of you as judges in future years!

The 2014 CILIP Carnegie Award goes to Kevin Brooks for ‘Bunker Diary’. An uncompromising book that explores the darkest heart of humanity, and shines a light on the strength and unflinching morality that lies within us all, should we choose it. The judges chose ‘Bunker Diary’ for its incredible characterisation and completely credible plot. Kevin Brooks refuses any easy solutions, and maintains the diary format throughout – creating a real world for the reader to inhabit fully. ‘Bunker Diary’ is undeniably a book that transports the reader to a place that, at the time ofreading, feels very real. It is a book that can be read and reread without losing any of its power, and we feel that it should join the canon of previous winners as a new classic.

The judges chose ‘This is Not My Hat’, by Jon Klassen, as the winner of the 2014 Kate Greenaway Award. Klassen uses colour and simple, clear shapes to transport the reader deep beneath the surface of a vast lake. Synergy between text and illustration is effortless, witty and very satisfying. The sense of movement, tension and comic timing created by tiny bubbles, eyes and deadpan text perfectly balanced by the illustrations is outstanding. ‘This is Not My Hat’ works on many levels, and is a satisfying visual experience that can be shared again and again.

I hope that you have enjoyed your shadowing experience, and that you will join us again next year. Who knows what delights are being written and published in readiness for nomination? Go along to your local library, and explore their new books. Can you identify any that might appear on the nominations list in November? Next year’s judges are doing just that – why not join them?


4 thoughts on “At the end of our shared journey: a special thank you to shadowers

  1. Very disappointed by the selection of Bunker Diary as the winner of the Carnegie medal 2014. We held a Carnegie Day for four of our local schools yesterday. So many of our younger readers felt excluded when the announcement came. The book was obviously not targeted at the majority of our participants – 11- 13s. What about a second category of medal for books suitable for our younger readers? Some of our students said they wouldn’t take part in Shadowing the Carnegie next year. How is this encouraging literacy?

    • Dear Lynne

      The judging panel can only judge the books that are published that year and of good enough quality, and there were books in the shortlist recommended for younger readers aged 11-13, but obviously, only one can win and many of our older young readers are very happy that a book for their age range and interest won.

      The Carnegie medal is a single medal awarded to a single title from the shortlist – and the criteria does not specify that it should be for any particular age, the beauty of it is that year on year, books for all different ages win the medal. While we are sorry for their disappointment, I encourage you to look at the various reviews (180 pages in total) of the Bunker Diary posted by young readers to understand how it encourages literacy.

      Whilst we do not claim it is to everyone’s individual taste (or age range), it is evident that for many of our shadowers, this book is a huge inspiration to them in their reading journeys:

      Best regards
      The Carnegie Greenaway team

      • This book is Marmite. It seemed to be liked and loathed in equal amounts. I must admit every member of staff I spoke to fell into the latter category. I worry that for every shadower who finds it an inspiration in their reading journey, there will be large numbers for whom it will have exactly the opposite effect. It was certainly a brave choice.

  2. Unlikely to shadow next year after twelve years of reading amazing books with wonderful young people.
    I was floored by Kevin Brooks comments. “This school of thought — that no matter how dark or difficult a novel is, it should contain at least an element of hope — is still fairly widespread and ingrained in the world of ‘young adult’ books .
    Yes, I believe in hope in fiction but if this is wrong I am in the wrong job and will make way.

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