The Short Lists

Matt Imrie is the librarian at Farringtons School, Chislehurst and the YLG London judge.

Matt Imrie

The. Short. Lists. Three simple, one syllable words; harmless, forgettable even – and for a brief time each year they are the most powerful words in the world of children’s book publishing.

There is a pause, and if you listen carefully you may hear a faint drawing-in of breath as authors, publicists, librarians, bloggers and other members of the book-loving community lean in towards their computer screens willing the appointed time to hurry nearer and the short lists for the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals to appear.

If you turn your eyes towards social media at this time you may see fevered speculation as to which books and authors will make the lists. In these discussions the potential short listees may say that they are sure it is not them and it has been an honour to appear on the long lists with such amazing authors and illustrators.  Or they remain silent, much like the judges except that we know the names that will appear and in the short time since we made those decisions we have returned to the books and the criteria to start the process of identifying the most outstanding of the incredible titles on those lists.

The unveiling of the short lists is the lighting of a fuse that will burn through libraries, schools and thousands of discussion & Shadowing groups. It will ignite passionate debate, inspire young readers to become writers and illustrators themselves and set the judges on a journey to meet as many groups as possible to discuss the medals, the judging process and answer as many questions as humanly possible.

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From Year 1 to 2 in the world of a CKG Judge

Elizabeth McDonald is the South East YLG Judge, she is Reader Development Officer for Young People and Families at Wokingham Library.

Last week children up and down the country celebrated the joy of reading and value of books with World Book Day.  Children were inspired by amazing and brilliant books that they love.  The past list of Carnegie and Kate Greenaway winners is astonishingly brilliant and they are still being read and enjoyed. My first year as a CKG Judge led to my 7 year old becoming obsessed with Shackletons’ Journey, so much so that I arranged for the fantastic Kate Greenaway medal winner, Will Grill to visit. Will came and spoke to over 500 children at schools across our borough, and my son got to meet him and explore some of Will’s sketches and inspirations for future projects.

EM Will

This was then followed by attending the Diversity, Variety and Choice conference in Glasgow run by the Youth Libraries and Community, Diversity and Equality Group, which was inspiring and challenging. It really did make me think about how we get the right books into the right hands.  It also launched the Amnesty CILIP Honour award.

http://www.carnegiegreenaway.org.uk/amnestyciliphonour/

The new award will help children, teachers and librarians to better understand our freedoms through the outstanding books shortlisted for the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals.  It will show how great children’s books encourage empathy and broaden horizons.  All of this year’s shadowing groups will also have access to resources and teaching notes to help group leaders and readers to explore the human rights content of each shortlisted book.

CILIP will announce the shortlisted books on 15 March 2016, with shadowing officially starting on 16 March 2016.

After the excitement of the conference, the real task of starting to read all of the books began, the parcels started to arrive…

Parcels

…and I started to analyse the books against the criteria.

Analysing.jpg

Writing up and analysing each book for both the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway means that a lot of your normal life gets put on hold. I had the slight issue of moving house in between which was traumatic enough but also very satisfying to get all of my books arrange on the new shelves! I also received a fantastic house warming present from my colleagues which was very apt, “So many books, So little time” bookends, which are currently holding my books to be read after judging:

Bookends

I’m looking forward to promoting the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Books to the shadowing groups that I will be visiting, and we will be running some sessions within my libraries as well.

My family have been very patient with me, and my friends and work colleagues supportive of my reading and full of encouragement. Being a representative for the South East is a huge privilege and I have enjoyed my time as Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Judge.

Don’t forget that as a CILIP member you can join your regional committee!  They are always looking for new members to support regional activities.  We will be hosting a YLG Unconference in Winchester on May 6,  it is aimed at people with an interest in how we can bring stories to life and encourage reading for pleasure to children and young people.  There will be authors, poets and illustrators galore full details here:http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/youth-libraries-group-south-east-unconference-tickets-17830057181

 

 

Hello Shadowers!

Tanja Jennings

Welcome to CKG  2016. My name is Tanja Jennings and I am a School Librarian at Wellington College, Belfast in Northern Ireland. I am delighted to have the honour, privilege and pleasure of being a CKG judge this year. After delving into a cornucopia of richly illustrated texts and vibrant, breath-taking and imaginative reads, the judges have decided upon two stellar longlists which we all hope you will enjoy exploring.

With these books you will travel through fantastical landscapes, the raw emotions of believable characters, countries decimated by the horror of war, teenage lives altered by surprising circumstances, injustice, dark dreams and treacherous lies. As the stories unwind you will discover how important it is for the protagonists to be true to themselves and establish their own identity as they make difficult choices and battle many obstacles. The authors featured showcase a dazzling array of different styles and genres, conjuring wonderful words that produce lyrical language and startling imagery. Sometimes funny, sometimes sad, sometimes thought-provoking, they will enrich your vocabulary, challenge your mind, set your imagination on fire and, perhaps, inspire you to be writers of the future.

Turning from the Carnegie to the Greenaway, you will experience playful, humorous, emotional, evocative, clever, colourful and exquisitely creative texts, which you will want to reread to appreciate the sheer skill involved in creating them. From bears to  hyenas to pandas to reinvented sleeping princesses to gothic adventures to pirates to complaining crayons to journeys, the books sparkle with moments that celebrate fairy tales, friendship, family, art, reading, culture, nature, the animal world and human kindness.

Have fun blogging, vlogging and reviewing these astounding creations. What will make your shortlist?

The Second Year Blues

Matt Imrie is the librarian at Farringtons School, Chislehurst and the YLG London judge.

Matt Imrie

At the end of the first year of judging I believe it is common to all judges to feel a bit of trepidation, or even fear at the thought of year two (or it could just be me). This can be due to a number of reasons – reading burn out (rare, but it does happen), or more commonly the thought that for the first year you have had plenty of time to read just about everything in the run up to the nominations, so that by the time the nominations list is made public you have already read a fairly large chunk of what is there.

Year two is different, as you are still reading the long and short lists so reading potential nominees is not usually an option.

This year of judging has been particularly challenging to me for one particular, baby-shaped reason – my new daughter Aggie. Her arrival coincided with the judges training in Scotland so I missed that (and the YLG Conference), handy tip for anyone considering becoming a judge for the CKG Medals – DO NOT MISS THE TRAINING – the first year is vital and the second year is just as important, I only realised this after the event as there is so much that gets forgotten in a year. Fortunately the judge moderation panel has been very swift in recapping things for me during the long-listing.

I had thought that having a baby would not be a problem as I could read in the wee hours when I was comforting my precious child if she was having trouble sleeping or needed a burp after a late-night feed. It would be magical, I could hold the light of my life and read at the same time.

I can hear the laughter from here!

Needless to say that did not happen, I got no reading done when my daughter was awake and I was holding her – who can read when the most beautiful being in creation is in your arms? Not me anyway!

The reading got done when she was asleep in my lap or on my chest, I got adept at holding a book in one hand and her hand in my other when she was in her crib. I read before school started, during my lunch-breaks and those times when I could not sleep and every other available moment that presented itself!

“But Matt!” I hear you cry, “this post is called the Second Year Blues, and so far it sounds wonderful – what do you have to feel blue about?”

Well, I will tell you! This is my second year as a judge, and judges only sit for two years. I realised it as I sat down to discuss the long-listing of the nominations with fellow library professionals – this task that we do, selecting the most outstanding books in a year is something bigger than all of us – in my almost two years involvement with the judging of the medals I have met fellow librarians I only previously knew via email or twitter and together we became a small part of the history of Children’s Books and I do not want to stop being involved.

There is something else to feel blue about: the public library service in the UK has been decimated: https://twitter.com/mygibbo/status/676699067762802688

I know what it feels like to have my post deleted out from under me (this happened at the beginning of the austerity cuts in 2011) but I was lucky and was able to find a new job pretty promptly but with more libraries closing or being shoved into the hands of volunteers the deprofessionalisation of the service is a major threat not just to public libraries as a whole but also to the future of the CILIP Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Judging process – no libraries, no children’s librarians and no YLG Judges.

So if you have managed to read through to the bottom of this rather rambly post can I ask you to support the struggle to save the soul of the library service in the UK by supporting CILIP’s My Library by Right Campaign: http://www.cilip.org.uk/advocacy-campaigns-awards/advocacy-campaigns/my-library-right and sign the petition to save libraries:

https://www.change.org/p/john-whittingdale-hm-government-act-now-to-protect-my-statutory-rights-to-a-quality-public-library-service

We all grew up with libraries and I want my daughter to have the same experience – come on do it for her!

Hello from the 2016 CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Chair of Judges

Sioned_thumbnail

Sioned Jacques, 2016 Chair of Judges

The 2016 Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Awards process has begun. As I write this the 12 regional judges are busy reading the nominations for this year’s awards.

To introduce myself, before I go any further, I’m Sioned, chair of this year’s judging panel. To be honest I’m so excited about this year. Firstly, for the personal reason of having a dream come true; the medals have been a part of my life since my childhood, many books I read as a child and teen were Carnegie and Greenaway winners.

Secondly, having recently started a new job that for the first time will give me the opportunity to lead a shadowing group rather than just give talks (which I also hope to continue!).

Thirdly, there are so many new things being introduced this year – a newly designed website coming in March and not forgetting the partnership with Amnesty and the launch of their award The CILIP Amnesty Honour.

Though I am Chair I consider myself part of a team. A team of talented judges you will all get to meet through this blog and through visits to your shadowing groups. This year a map showing which region of the country each judges represents will be available on the website and shadowers like yourselves will have the opportunity to contact them, and they may even be able to visit your school.

All of us have to read every book on the Carnegie nominations list and study the art work of all the Greenway titles thoroughly. I consider the task very much a labour of love. I read at every opportunity, at the breakfast table, on the bus to and from work, during my lunch break and all evening. Ask me what was on telly or happened on the news and I wouldn’t have a clue!

I have been a judge before, back in 2010/11 – an amazing experience. Before this year’s judging process I was lucky to be part of discussions around the new Amnesty Honour and was conscious that knowing about these awards must notaffect my reading for this year’s medals. The Honour will have its own judging panel and set of criteria, so has no influence over judging for the Carnegie and Greenaway medals. And actually I have been surprised, not once during my reading have I thought about the Honour. However, as Chair I am looking forward to sharing the stage with Amnesty at a joint shortlisting / launch party on the 15th March!

In the same way I am looking forward to working with twelve judges from across the nation and selecting a longlist, a shortlist and winner that will be as memorable and enjoyable to you shadowers as the many titles that were part of my childhood reading experience.

The moment of truth: a message from the 2015 Chair of Judges

The moment of truth has arrived! I hope that you enjoyed the experience of reading, reviewing, and discussing the shortlisted books as much as I did!  The thought of so many of you sharing the excitement and love of reading is heartening and I would like to thank you all.

The 2015 CILIP Carnegie Award goes to Tanya Landman for Buffalo Soldier. This beautifully written, heart breaking and often brutal, novel engages the reader from the very beginning.  The narrative voice is genuine and evolves as the story unfolds, mirroring Charley’s personal growth. The plot is skillfully drawn to raise difficult issues, and question us as readers.  As the story progress and Charley’s view and experiences expand, our views and perspectives also develop providing an unforgettable reading experience.

Carnegie Winner 2015 long

The judges chose Shackleton’s Journey, by William Grill, as the winner of the 2015 Kate Greenaway Award. This striking and modern retelling  shows that Ernest Shackleton’s story is one that merits revisiting. From the tiny vignettes to the big spreads, which perfectly convey the vastness of the environment, every image has a purpose. The choice of colours further emphasises the sense of isolation, with warm tones to show human warmth and cold blues for the icy inhospitable world around them. The whole book is an object of beauty and no detail has been overlooked.

Kate Greenaway Winner slide long

I hope that you will join us again next year. Go along to your local library, and explore their new books – you may spot next year’s winner – and above all keep reading!

Agnès Guyon, Chair of Judges 2015

Agnes Guyon

The moment of truth: a message from the 2015 Chair of Judges

The moment of truth has arrived! I hope that you enjoyed the experience of reading, reviewing, and discussing the shortlisted books as much as I did!  The thought of so many of you sharing the excitement and love of reading is heartening and I would like to thank you all.

The 2015 CILIP Carnegie Award goes to Tanya Landman for Buffalo Soldier. This beautifully written, heart breaking and often brutal, novel engages the reader from the very beginning.  The narrative voice is genuine and evolves as the story unfolds, mirroring Charley’s personal growth. The plot is skillfully drawn to raise difficult issues, and question us as readers.  As the story progress and Charley’s view and experiences expand, our views and perspectives also develop providing an unforgettable reading experience.

Carnegie Winner 2015 long

The judges chose Shackleton’s Journey, by William Grill, as the winner of the 2015 Kate Greenaway Award. This striking and modern retelling  shows that Ernest Shackleton’s story is one that merits revisiting. From the tiny vignettes to the big spreads, which perfectly convey the vastness of the environment, every image has a purpose. The choice of colours further emphasises the sense of isolation, with warm tones to show human warmth and cold blues for the icy inhospitable world around them. The whole book is an object of beauty and no detail has been overlooked.

Kate Greenaway Winner slide long

I hope that you will join us again next year. Go along to your local library, and explore their new books – you may spot next year’s winner – and above all keep reading!

Agnès Guyon, Chair of Judges 2015

Agnes Guyon