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.


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