Alison Brumwell is a librarian for Booksplus, Leeds and Director of the Morley Literature Festival. She blogs here about her role as a judge for the 2014 Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Children’s Book Awards.
July 1st 2014
Well, it’s Canada Day and the Carnegie and Kate Greenway medal ceremony seems quite distant. It was such a thrill for me to meet (and mind) the very talented Jon Klassen. Jon is one of those very rare talents who has actually won both the Caldecott and Kate Greenaway Medals and is highly regarded on both sides of the Atlantic.
I followed up a trip to London with festivities at Whitcliffe Mount, a Kirklees secondary school which has been supporting a Greenaway shadowing group of Year Three pupils at Howard Park Community School, led by Carol Lavender. We talked about the short listed books, presented book prizes to the Greenaway quiz winners, enjoyed games and puzzles and had a picnic; including, two kinds of cake and strawberry picking in the quad. As Tegan very brightly informed me, the Howard Park lot were missing an afternoon of numeracy and topic work on the Titanic, not to mention school dinner (“roast of the day”); it was very clear how much they enjoyed the event, organised by Amanda Rabey and Vicki Cawley, and how much the shadowing experience has enriched their summer term.
The Kirklees-wide Greenaway shadowing event was held on Canada Day at Huddersfield Town Hall, with our guest author/illustrator, Chris Mould. Chris was short listed last year for ‘Pirates ‘n Pistols’ and delighted shadowing groups this year with his presentation. We all know how much positive impact shadowing has on reading for pleasure and academic success, but being able to meet an author and illustrator like Chris shows children that self-belief and commitment are just as crucial. Not everyone can be an academic high-flyer and artistic ability is something that parents and teachers need to nurture.
The Greenaway shadowing project team, led by Olivia Barnden, and ably supported by Amy Hearn, Chris Stearn, Amanda Ambler, Fiona Sullivan, Tina Blaker and Linda Williams, has done an amazing job for the past two years and they have really flown the CKG flag across Kirklees, and beyond. What a great way to end three years as a regional judge! I have seen non-readers become readers, Greenaway Medal shadowers become Carnegie Medal shadowers and children become young adults with so much to offer their schools and communities. They have read, written, drawn, discussed, presented; all, with so much energy and interest. They have inspired me, and have given me so much to listen to and think about.
I think I must have read and carefully considered around 200 novels and an additional 170 illustrated texts between October 2011 and May 2014; most several times, as judging requires. Every page turned has been a delight. I am sure, though, that Patrick Ness, Sally Gardner, Kevin Brooks, Jim Kay, Levi Pinfold and Jon Klassen would all agree that it is their young readers who matter most. Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medal shadowing is a unique experience for children and young people and one that I have been proud to support.
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