CILIP Carnegie & Kate Greenaway

Books v. Films

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The above cartoon has been pinned on the wall in our staff kitchen for a while, and every time I see it I smile. Then I think about the meaning and wonder about the relationship of books and films.

Personally, I usually find the film based on a book disappointing because they usually leave so much out or change it until it is almost unrecognisable. Equally, if I read the book after seeing the film I find that my internal video has been pre-set to that of the film. Characters can be described completely differently to the actor who plays them, but I still see the actor in my head as I read. Is it just me?

Anyway, I have now learned from experience to either read the book, or watch the film, but not to mix the media. That way I avoid disappointments and frustrations all round. There are exceptions of course. I thoroughly enjoyed watching the Harry Potter films having already read the books, but then the films were so close to what is in the books.

Reading is a pastime for just one person but I love to think of the other people who may be reading the same book at the same time as me. I think it’s probably a side-effect of my job, though it is just as likely because I am very nosy, but I also love to look at what other people are reading. When I’m travelling I have to see what books other passengers are reading. Is it something I’ve read, something I could read myself later, or something I wouldn’t be interested in at all? Have a look around you to see what your friends, your teachers and your family are reading. You might be surprised at the ideas it gives you for something to try yourself.

Being a judge for the Carnegie and Greenaway Medals has given me the opportunity to share my reading with the other judges. Getting together and talking about what we’ve all read is fascinating. It’s great to talk about so many fantastic books and compare notes and ideas.

I am thoroughly enjoying my experience as a judge, though the length of the nominations list was intimidating to say the least. Reading and re-reading the books is a pleasure as there are such great stories to be told in such a way that it takes my breath away. Choosing a winner will be a tough decision. I just wish I could write like that. I suppose I can dream….

 Tracey Acum is the CKG Judge for Yorkshire & Humber YLG and a librarian at Hull Central Library.

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