8 Fantastic Stories

Hilary Gow is the CKG Judge for YLG South East

Hilary Gow

8 fantastic stories to read, enjoy and … assess.  I wonder if, like me, you find it hard to ‘judge’.  It’s easy to have favourites, to warm to books that resonate for you personally and to feel cool about those that don’t.  Judging the Carnegie goes beyond this.  I’m sure you have all encountered the judging criteria which guide you to focus on style, plot and characterisation.  There is also the over-riding requirement that the winning story should be a work of ‘outstanding literary quality’.  I have been trying to work out just what this means.

Outstanding (in the sense used here) is fairly easy as – according to the online Oxford dictionary – it means ‘exceptionally good’

Literary is a little more slippery … the Oxford online dictionary defines it as ‘Concerning the writing, study, or content of literature, especially of the kind valued for quality of form’

Quality can have the meaning of ‘The standard of something as measured against other things of a similar kind; the degree of excellence of something’

So – judges need to measure each of the works, taking account of how they do in terms of the style of the writing, the use of the plot and the way the characters have been revealed to us, the reader.

I’ve re-read all the books again (multiple times) now but I have little idea which one will take the winner’s prize.  All of them have already shown themselves as worthy of winning by being shortlisted.

I wonder what you think?


Shadow Girl

Jenny Hawke is the CKG judge for YLG South East and is the Library Supervisor at Petts Wood Library, Kent.

Jenny Hawke

Apart from reading and judging so many amazing books the thing I love the most about the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals is Shadowing. Since I started working for Bromley Libraries in 2008 I have been actively shadowing both awards with all the reading groups I run for children and young people. One person who has accompanied me on this 10 year journey of shadowing is Hannah, who joined my Books Aloud group when she was 5 and is now in Petts Wood Bookworms which is my group for teenagers aged 14+.


Hannah has always enjoyed reading and was integral to the shadowing process throughout all the groups she has joined. This is Hannah’s story:

I really enjoyed the Kate Greenaway 2014 shortlist. I remember particularly enjoying ‘I Want My Hat Back’ by John Klassen the most. The illustrations from ‘The Day the Crayons Quit’ were also memorable as they were really well drawn and some were quite funny. I liked how the crayons were personified and given facial expressions.  

Jenny 1

I read all of the books on the Carnegie 2016 shortlist and really enjoyed them. The characters I remember the most were Grace and Tippi from ‘One’ as they were unique, and the book had a very different writing style from any other book I have read. I empathised with the characters from ‘The Rest of Us Just Live Here’ as they were very close to my age, and they were still in school. ‘Lies We Tell Ourselves’ really resonated with me as it really opened my eyes to how ethnic minorities were treated during and before the civil rights movement. Most books I’ve read when shadowing the Carnegie shortlist have taken me elsewhere, but especially ‘The Bone Sparrow’ as the plot was really interesting and the descriptions were well written. I engage more with books that are plot driven as I find they are usually more suspenseful, fast paced and interesting.

Jenny 2

I remember meeting all the authors at the Awards Ceremony in 2014 and learning about how they get their inspirations for their books, and how open and friendly all the authors were.

Jenny 3

Shadowing has always been a fun way to express my opinions about the books I read and it has taught me how to effectively summarise and write my opinions on different books. I remember doing Carnegie Bingo, which I found really fun as there were book based questions, but it was also partially luck based. I would say that shadowing is a really great way to discover new books you haven’t read before, or may be out of your preferred genre, and it’s a good way to find new books you may love. I talk about Carnegie out of school to some of my friends as they also share a love for reading and are also open to new books and genres.

The library has been really important to me as it has always been more than a place to borrow books. It has been a place to have fun and make friends, which gave a sense of community. It had also been a place where I have learnt, and built my confidence.

Jenny 4

I would like to thank Hannah for sharing her experiences of shadowing and her involvement in the process over the past 10 years.

For more information on shadowing the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Awards go to: http://www.carnegiegreenaway.org.uk/shadowing.php