CILIP Carnegie & Kate Greenaway

A Four Letter Word

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Tracey Frohawk is the East Midlands YLG CKG judge and is the

librarian at Weston Favell Academy, Northampton.  

Tracey suggests you listen to What Do I Know by Ed Sheeran  whilst reading her post.

I HATE you!  Some words are unbelievably strong, whether they are used in a good or a bad way; they have a huge amount of emotion attached to them and once said, they can’t be unsaid.  We don’t realise how hurtful we can be by voicing these words, the damage they cause can last a lifetime.

I LOVE you!  This humble word can change everything once uttered from your lips.  It is incredibly strong and will stop you in your tracks for that split second whilst you delight in the feelings it inspires; the emotions it causes within your body and soul.

Quite often we don’t realise how many times we will hear these words during a day whilst working in a school library.  The most common phrase will be either of these:  I HATE reading or I LOVE books.  It’s incredibly sad to hear a child say they hate reading, as reading for me is a complete pleasure and I am able to immerse myself in another world, losing all sense of time and surroundings.

Occasionally we all face dark times in our lives, so having the option to be briefly transported to a different universe can help us find the strength to deal with reality afterwards, even if it’s not pleasant.  Reading gives us the capacity to connect with characters, recognising our own emotions by identifying similar experiences we share with them in the books we read.  We can appreciate we are not alone as the characters can often become our friends or enemies; we all love to hate an archetypal villain like Dolores Umbridge!

The first novel I remember reading by myself was The Adventures of Pip by Enid Blyton, I was whisked away on wonderful adventures and my love affair with books began.  One of my favourite series was The Chronicles of Narnia; I was convinced I would meet and marry Aslan!

When I became a children’s librarian the first YA book I read was Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging by the late Louise Rennison: I loved it!  I was instantly transported back to my teenage years and reminded of the emotional angst a teenager has to deal with in a hilarious yet believable way.

I am delighted to say my love affair with reading and children’s literature has continued and evolved over the years. Being a CKG Judge has been a privilege and honour.  I will never fall out of love with reading, even if the subject matters are difficult or emotive; I embrace the journey even if I don’t love the destination. What I love might be something you hate, but that’s OK: books have always caused controversy and that’s wonderful, because it’s the sign that they inspire powerful feelings in us.

 

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