Amy Powell is Librarian for Children and Young in Telford
and is the West Midlands CKG Judge.
As a second year judge I desperately tried to continue the pace of my reading as soon as the winners for 2017 were announced, with the aim of familiarising myself with as many eligible titles as possible before nominations even opened. I was so glad that I had taken this approach when a mammoth 121 books were nominated for the 2018 Carnegie Medal and 116 for the 2018 Kate Greenaway medal.
Meaning in total 237 books were been nominated for 2018, that’s a gargantuan 44,377 pages! To read all of these books in such a short amount of time, with Christmas in the middle, is a huge challenge- needless to say I found myself reading every spare waking moment!
Now we have our amazing shortlist it’s time to reread each title that has reached this stage and add to the huge amount of notes on each, to make that all important decision of which books are going to be the 2018 winners!!
Me with my reading piles of nominations for both the Carnegie and the Kate Greenaway Medals 2018!
Jake Hope is a Reading Development and Children’s Book Consultant, and is Chair of Judges for CKG 2018.
After the excitement of this year’s nominations and the announcement of the longlist in February, we’re finally at the stage where the shortlist has been decided. This is always a favourite part of the awards, it’s the stage when others are able to read alongside the judges, bringing their own thoughts, ideas and experiences to the characters, themes and stories in each of the books. An open book is a portal to different worlds and ways of thinking and it’s at this stage when they are being devoured and deliberated upon by so many readers that the books begin to take on a life of their own… This is the point when lively discussions and debates begin, when across the country and indeed the globe, people start engaging in creative activities thinking about their own reactions and responses to the writing and illustration they have been encountering. All of this energy and activity builds up to an enormous crescendo in the final stages where the awards themselves are decided and announced.
Regardless of interests or age, there is something to enchant and enthrall all readers on this year’s shortlist. From fiction set in the past, to stories of the present, from real life to fantasies, from factual books about the world around us to richly imagined representations of the emotions and experiences familiar to children and young people from their everyday, the range of themes, styles and forms makes for a particularly vibrant and varied selection.
There’s always a sense of ownership in having read and thought around the shortlists in the lead up to the announcement of the winners. This makes the process feel all the more special and personal and there’s real pride in contemplating winners from a year where you’ve read and ruminated upon the shortlist. What a history and pedigree the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals hold too, stretching back for 81 and 61 years respectively! They form a roll-call for some of the greatest and most innovative writing and illustration this country has known.
Like dinosaur footprints of yesteryear, they show a journey through different stages and states of our cultural history, their impressions provide the shape of society’s views on childhood, on education, on learning and what it is to think and to feel. They shine a light upon the books that, as critic and author Italo Calvino put it, never finish saying what they have to say, stories that, whether composed of words or pictures, help us to better understand who we are and the world that we inhabit. Join with us in reading this exceptional and varied collection of books, feed in your ideas and views and let’s make this one of the most impressive, inclusive and immersive experiences around reading!