From Year 1 to 2 in the world of a CKG Judge

Elizabeth McDonald is the South East YLG Judge, she is Reader Development Officer for Young People and Families at Wokingham Library.

Last week children up and down the country celebrated the joy of reading and value of books with World Book Day.  Children were inspired by amazing and brilliant books that they love.  The past list of Carnegie and Kate Greenaway winners is astonishingly brilliant and they are still being read and enjoyed. My first year as a CKG Judge led to my 7 year old becoming obsessed with Shackletons’ Journey, so much so that I arranged for the fantastic Kate Greenaway medal winner, Will Grill to visit. Will came and spoke to over 500 children at schools across our borough, and my son got to meet him and explore some of Will’s sketches and inspirations for future projects.

EM Will

This was then followed by attending the Diversity, Variety and Choice conference in Glasgow run by the Youth Libraries and Community, Diversity and Equality Group, which was inspiring and challenging. It really did make me think about how we get the right books into the right hands.  It also launched the Amnesty CILIP Honour award.

The new award will help children, teachers and librarians to better understand our freedoms through the outstanding books shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals.  It will show how great children’s books encourage empathy and broaden horizons.  All of this year’s shadowing groups will also have access to resources and teaching notes to help group leaders and readers to explore the human rights content of each shortlisted book.

CILIP will announce the shortlisted books on 15 March 2016, with shadowing officially starting on 16 March 2016.

After the excitement of the conference, the real task of starting to read all of the books began, the parcels started to arrive…


…and I started to analyse the books against the criteria.


Writing up and analysing each book for both the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway means that a lot of your normal life gets put on hold. I had the slight issue of moving house in between which was traumatic enough but also very satisfying to get all of my books arrange on the new shelves! I also received a fantastic house warming present from my colleagues which was very apt, “So many books, So little time” bookends, which are currently holding my books to be read after judging:


I’m looking forward to promoting the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Books to the shadowing groups that I will be visiting, and we will be running some sessions within my libraries as well.

My family have been very patient with me, and my friends and work colleagues supportive of my reading and full of encouragement. Being a representative for the South East is a huge privilege and I have enjoyed my time as Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Judge.

Don’t forget that as a CILIP member you can join your regional committee!  They are always looking for new members to support regional activities.  We will be hosting a YLG Unconference in Winchester on May 6,  it is aimed at people with an interest in how we can bring stories to life and encourage reading for pleasure to children and young people.  There will be authors, poets and illustrators galore full details here:




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