The results are announced, and a big thank you

Well, the results are announced and shadowing has ended for this year – or has it?  With two such wonderful winners, and such an amazing shortlist for both awards I do hope you have enjoyed the experience of shadowing the medals.  I know I have enjoyed reading some of your reviews and comments – I couldn’t read them all – there were too many for one person to get through!  But, a huge thank you for all your enthusiasm and comment, it was great to know that you were reading alongside me and all the judges.

The 2017 CILIP Carnegie Medal was awarded to Ruta Sepetys for ‘Salt to the Sea’  – a tragic story hidden away for many years, but brought to life for us in a totally enthralling story of a group of  refugees trying to escape during WWII.  It had many echoes for me of the plight of so many people across the world today, trying to escape persecution, starvation and fear.  We live with the characters through their weariness as they journey in hope, then worry as they try to get tickets to board the ship.  We share their feelings of claustrophobia on the overcrowded boat, and then the awful terrifying end as the boat is attacked.  But even then, there is a sense of hope at the ending of the book – some people cared and looked out for each other.  This is a read that will stay with me for a very long time.

The 2017 CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal went to Lane Smith for ‘A Tribe of Kids’ which is a sheer delight of a book following a child as they explore the natural world; they journey through different habitats, meeting different groups of animals and actually almost mirroring the animals they meet, until the lonely child finds they are a member of the tribe of kids – all different, but all children.  The use of colour and technique in this book makes it a beautiful read.   There is warmth and wit in the play and imagination shown in the final spreads showing how the children are influenced and inspired by the world around them, suggesting ideas around the way nurture and environmental factors can be formative in growth.  A book I will keep and share with children for a very long time.

cilip-2017-ckg-medal-winners-1.jpg2017 CILIP Carnegie winner Ruta Sepetys and 2017 CILIP Kate Greenaway winner Lane Smith

But is it actually all over this year?  As this is our special celebratory year there are still things you can do in your shadowing groups. Have you been following the amazing Jake Hope’s special anniversary blog – covering all the past winners?  Why not try a few of them for your group?  You can even adopt a book for your group – have a look and choose a book for your group.

I do hope you will all have the opportunity to shadow again next year – I’m starting to read books that will be eligible and there are some fantastic stories out there already. Thanks again – see you next time.

Tricia Adams
Chair of CKG Judges

Shakespearean Shortlists

Tanja Jennings is the Northern Ireland YLG Judge,

she is the librarian at Wellington College, Belfast.


When you are juggling rehearsing for an amateur production of Macbeth and being a CKG judge simultaneously, as I currently am, your head is filled with wonderful imaginings. Every book is a phantasmagorical garden of delights to be explored and enjoyed. To be part of celebrating sixty years of fantastic illustrations and eighty years of wondrous words is even more magical and a great honour. But what happens next following the intense deliberations?


When shall we twelve meet again?

At Kate and Andrew’s celebrations

When all the judging’s done

When awards will be given

That shall be ere the set of June

Where the place?

In London town

There to meet with creators


Words are fair and art is fine

Hover through the delightful design


Twice the judgements have been made

Twice and once Amnesty weighed

Harpier cries T ’is time, T ’is time.

Round about the stories go

In the magic mixture throw

Badger tidying leaves,

working for what he believes.

Oops. The forest has gone.

Can Pete’s work be undone?


What’s next? Here’s another one.


Powerful animals from the North

leaping forth

from amazing pages

crafted in geometrical stages.


Meet Lobo,

He’s no slow Mo.

King of the Wild West,

as a protector, he has no rest.


What to do?

Need to look at journeys too.

A boy seeks his place in life

as refugees run from strife.


Or what about a mesmeric theatre tale?

Don’t forget Harry’s magical trail.

Finish it all with a great big cuddle.

Now we’re in a huddle.


Selznick, Smith, Gravett and Grill

Sanna, Braun, Kay and Riddell

all in the Greenaway Medal mix.

Which great artist shall we pick?


Here comes Double the Trouble

As Carnegie enters the Struggle


Fillet of an Alaskan deer.

Bluebells in whisky bottles are near.

Sparrow of bone, and

Toe of Sputnik, hide of wolf

And Hive Monk’s gulf

Alice’s words and Manny’s heart

Destined to never be apart

For a powerful story spell

A recipe for all shadowers to tell


Sinking of Gustloff

Hollow of wolf

Betty’s cruelty, Annabelle’s fear.

More stories to hear.

Poison Ivy digg’d I’ the dark.

Beck’s life is no walk in the park.


Zen and Nova.

What a palaver.

Who can they trust?

Why is stealing the Pyxis a must?



Subhi and Jimmie

under the wire

telling stories

to fulfil their desire.


Add thereto fate, fear, guilt and shame

from a salty name

for our magic story cauldron.


What a mix of exciting contenders.

There will be so many lenders.


By the pricking of my thumbs.

Here the judges this way come.


Give a resounding cheer

for the best books of the year.

The Lament of a Former Judge

Matt Imrie is the librarian at Farringtons School, Chislehurst and he was the 2015 – 2016 YLG London judge.

Matt Imrie

The announcement of the judges selections  for the 80th anniversary Carnegie Medal and  the 60th anniversary Kate Greenaway Medal is on Monday. This has stirred the cravings that I had more or less managed to suppress.

It started in October when the nominations lists were published, I gazed upon them and knew that I had not been ready to leave the judges panel even though I had sat my two year term. Sitting on the panel is addicting, the feeling you get working with other passionate, book-loving library folk who get what you say and contribute thought-provoking points of view about books you love and loathe is almost impossible to replicate elsewhere.

The nights I have lain awake wondering if (based on my memories of when the panels met) the judges were meeting to discuss the long and short lists are burned into my memory. The secret shame of envying my friends and colleagues is hard to bear! I am not hubristic enough to believe that I am needed on the panel – I know those who sit in judgement are talented, professional and just as dedicated as I was (if not more so).

One of the things I have learned is that it is incredibly hard to read the nominations list in time if you have to buy them or borrow them from a library yourself. So yeah – that did not quite work out.

I asked myself the question I think most ex-judges ask when the long and short lists were announced – “Would those have been the books that would have been chosen had I been on the panel?” (impossible to answer accurately but probably).

I think that running shadowing groups is a coping mechanism for many judges that are suffering from CKG withdrawal symptoms. We get to read the books with our students, compare them against the criteria and discuss them with excitable and passionate young readers.

They say that the first step in any recovery is admitting you have a problem but I love reading books and discussing them critically with friends and colleagues – we should all be so lucky to have such problems.

In the mean time I am happy to act as judge support – cheering the lists and authors on social media, educating students and other readers about the importance of the medals and celebrating quality writing for young readers of all ages.

Also I am planning for the day that I return to the judging panel – oh it may not be any time soon but I will make my way back on somehow… someday…

Musings of a CKG Judge (with apologies to William Wordsworth)

Alison Cassels is the CKG Judge for Yorkshire & The Humber YLG and is a Reading Officer in Wakefield.


I read and wandered like a cloud

Until my life was #CKG’d

Then all at once I saw a crowd

A host, of wondrous books to read.

Beneath my desk, piled on the floor

Through every post came more and more.


As many as the books that shine

And tempt you from a library bay

They stretched in never-ending line

For every mood and every day.

Two hundred plus I do believe

Stood fluttering forty thousand leaves.


Fuelled with coffee/tea/gin/sherry

I plunged into the pile with glee

A Judge could not but be merry

With such distinguished #CKG

And as I read I often thought

What wealth to me these books had brought.


Outstanding read and visual treat,

The stories nestle in my heart.

Fine words with glorious pictures meet,

Rich feast of writing and of art.

And then my heart with pleasure fills,

And dances like the Daffodils.

Art, art, wonderful art!

Martha Lee is the CKG Judge for YLG Wales, she is an academic librarian at Cardiff Metropolitan University.

Martha Lee

I became the librarian for the School of Art & Design at Cardiff Metropolitan University in September 2016. This was a massive change from my previous role as a Community Librarian in a public library. It means that now, unfortunately, I don’t get to work with children and young people which is the bit that I really miss the most. However it does mean that I get to work with art and design students and am surrounded by the most incredible art books and image resources.

My change in role has given me a whole different perspective and appreciation of the Kate Greenaway titles. Working with the illustration students at university in a shadowing group was a revelation, the students were so enthusiastic and opened my eyes to further detail of the shortlisted titles.  Not only this but seeing this year’s Degree Summer Show, my first, was awe-inspiring. The students’ talent and creativity was inspirational.

One of the hardest things about judging the Kate Greenaway nominations is that art is so personal and subjective but, as a judge, you have to be completely impartial and balanced and set your personal taste to the side entirely. I studied History of Art at University so art has always been a passion of mine. I know that I’m pretty horrendous at drawing, painting and just generally being remotely creative but I love, love, LOVE looking at and appreciating art. I poured over the gorgeous pages from this year’s shortlist with relish.

From Brian Selznick’s masterful draftsmanship, Francesca Sanna’s poignant screen-print like illustrations to Chris Riddell’s unmistakeable style and William Grill’s masterful use of colour and line. I was enthralled by Jim Kay’s exquisite art and imaginative interpretation of Harry’s world, Lane Smith’s delicate use of colour and brilliant use of texture, the beauty of the natural world that shines through in Dieter Braun’s work and Emily Gravett’s excellent use of humour in her wonderfully distinctive style.

These are all truly wonderful pieces of art and I hope they bring as much joy to you as they did to me when judging them. I’ve now been inspired to get out my pencils and start practising…however bad the results may turn out!

Through the back of the wardrobe

Alison Cassels is the CKG Judge for Yorkshire & The Humber YLG and is a Reading Officer in Wakefield.

Alison Cassels

When I was eight, I walked into a wardrobe, brushing past fur coats, feeling the snow crunching under my feet, and came out under a lamp post into a new world. Yes, it was Lucy’s adventure really but as I sat enraptured as a wonderful teacher (thanks, Mr Brennan) read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe to us, it became mine too.

When a child from a Shadowing group I visited asked me what it is I love about reading, this is what I thought about. I told him what I discovered in the classroom that day, how books take you to other places and times and let you meet people and experience lives that are different to your own.

Now, research is showing how important this is. When we are absorbed in a novel our brains think we are part of the story and the empathy we feel for the fictional characters wires our mind to feel the same way about real people. When children experience other lives through books, they learn that other people have feelings just like them and learn to see the world in a different way. To find out more about this research, visit the Empathy Lab

‘In reading, you get to feel things, visit places and worlds you would never otherwise know. You learn that everyone else out there is a me, as well. Empathy is a tool for building people into groups, for allowing us to function as more than self-obsessed individuals’                  Neil Gaiman, Empathy Lab.

Reading all the 114 nominations for the Carnegie Medal was an incredible experience. It often seemed strange and difficult to come back to my ‘real life’ as my reading life went from Alaska to Australia, from inner cities to outer space. I met many people in situations that I have never come across myself and learned from them about the challenges facing children and young people today.  One of the criteria for the Carnegie Medal is ‘’a vicarious, but at the time of reading, a real experience that is retained afterwards.’’ To feel so many of those real experiences in such a short time left me feeling shattered and also so enriched by the journeys I had made and the characters I had met. It’s a reading experience that will stay with me for a long time and I’m so excited that soon I will push open that wardrobe door and start on another big adventure.