Canada Day happily spent in Kirklees: strawberry picking and fun with Chris Mould

Alison Brumwell is a librarian for Booksplus, Leeds and Director of the Morley Literature Festival. She blogs here about her role as a judge for the 2014 Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Children’s Book Awards.

July 1st 2014

Well, it’s Canada Day and the Carnegie and Kate Greenway medal ceremony seems quite distant. It was such a thrill for me to meet (and mind) the very talented Jon Klassen. Jon is one of those very rare talents who has actually won both the Caldecott and Kate Greenaway Medals and is highly regarded on both sides of the Atlantic.

I followed up a trip to London with festivities at Whitcliffe Mount, a Kirklees secondary school which has been supporting a Greenaway shadowing group of Year Three pupils at Howard Park Community School, led by Carol Lavender. We talked about the short listed books, presented book prizes to the Greenaway quiz winners, enjoyed games and puzzles and had a picnic; including, two kinds of cake and strawberry picking in the quad. As Tegan very brightly informed me, the Howard Park lot were missing an afternoon of numeracy and topic work on the Titanic, not to mention school dinner (“roast of the day”); it was very clear how much they enjoyed the event, organised by Amanda Rabey and Vicki Cawley, and how much the shadowing experience has enriched their summer term.

The Kirklees-wide Greenaway shadowing event was held on Canada Day at Huddersfield Town Hall, with our guest author/illustrator, Chris Mould. Chris was short listed last year for ‘Pirates ‘n Pistols’ and delighted shadowing groups this year with his presentation. We all know how much positive impact shadowing has on reading for pleasure and academic success, but being able to meet an author and illustrator like Chris shows children that self-belief and commitment are just as crucial. Not everyone can be an academic high-flyer and artistic ability is something that parents and teachers need to nurture.

Chris Mould in action

Chris Mould in action

The Greenaway shadowing project team, led by Olivia Barnden, and ably supported by Amy Hearn, Chris Stearn, Amanda Ambler, Fiona Sullivan, Tina Blaker and Linda Williams, has done an amazing job for the past two years and they have really flown the CKG flag across Kirklees, and beyond. What a great way to end three years as a regional judge! I have seen non-readers become readers, Greenaway Medal shadowers become Carnegie Medal shadowers and children become young adults with so much to offer their schools and communities. They have read, written, drawn, discussed, presented; all, with so much energy and interest. They have inspired me, and have given me so much to listen to and think about.

I think I must have read and carefully considered around 200 novels and an additional 170 illustrated texts between October 2011 and May 2014; most several times, as judging requires. Every page turned has been a delight. I am sure, though, that Patrick Ness, Sally Gardner, Kevin Brooks, Jim Kay, Levi Pinfold and Jon Klassen would all agree that it is their young readers who matter most. Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medal shadowing is a unique experience for children and young people and one that I have been proud to support.

 

Shadower Megan (Year 3, Howard Park Community School)

Shadower Megan (Year 3, Howard Park Community School)

Strawberry picking

Strawberry picking

Find out more about:

the other judges
the 2014 Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Children’s Book Awards
the shadowing scheme
our latest news on Twitter

 

The best things about being a Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medal judge

Alison Brumwell is a librarian for Booksplus, Leeds and Director of the Morley Literature Festival. She blogs here about her role as a judge for the 2014 Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Children’s Book Awards.

Alison Brumwell

Last week was my final week of being a CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medal judge; nearly three years of reading, followed by discussion and deliberation has culminated, for me at least, in the awards ceremony on Monday 23 June.

I had another chance on Thursday to Skype chat with a Carnegie shadowing group, this time from Croydon Girls’ High School; ten in total and all Year 9 pupils. They had obviously given a great deal of thought to framing their questions and were lovely to speak to. It was another opportunity for me to highlight what makes the medals, and the shadowing process, truly unique in the work of children’s book awards. I had to give some very vague answers to the more specific questions and we discussed the importance of judges maintaining strictest confidentiality throughout the whole seven+ month process,along with the importance of the judging ctiteria.

One of the questions I could answer quite frankly was what was the best, and the worst, thing about being a Carnegie and Kate Greenaway medal judge. The best in my view has been the reading; I normally read a lot, and quite widely, but there are books I would never encountered outside my reading as a judge. This has been a real treat. A close second would be the chance I have had to speak to young people about books and reading, and to share my passion with them; also, to meet the adults who support them, like Karen Abrams at Croydon Girls’ High School

I have also had the opportunity to champion books and authors I feel very strongly about, not just during judges’ deliberations but further afield. Authors like Sonya Hartnett, who was shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal in 2012 and whose latest novel, ‘Children of the King’ is subtle and so beautifully crafted. And books like ‘The Double Shadow’, ‘The Scorpia Races’ and ‘Far Far Away’, which didn’t make the shortlists in three very competitive years, but which are well-worth reading (and re-reading). Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to talk openly about what I was reading with anyone apart from other judges, and it will be a relief when everyone knows who are the winners this year (this is definitely the worst thing about being a judge!).

Finally, I have had the chance to meet authors I admire and to work with and to get to know an amazing team of people; Joy Court, Amy McKay and the CKG working party and my fellow judges. Not to mention Rachel Levy, Karen Robinson and Helen Thompson who have been three superb Chairs. 2015 will be another outstanding year for children’s and young adult fiction: expect to see Sally Gardner, Meg Rosoff, Marcus Sedgwick and Patrick Ness leading the way along with some wonderful debut novels. I was recently asked by one shadowing group member what my ‘long shot’ would be for next year, which really made me think. So, you’re reading it here first: Tanya Landman’s ‘Buffalo Soldier’, which is every bit as compelling as ‘Apache’.

 

Find out more about:

the other judges
the 2014 Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Children’s Book Awards
the shadowing scheme
our latest news on Twitter

At the end of our shared journey: a special thank you to shadowers

A special  letter to  shadowers from Helen Thompson, Chair of the 2014 judging panel

Helen Thomson - Chair of Judges

Helen Thomson – Chair of Judges

Well, here we are at last! What a journey, from being presented with the list of nominated titles – 76 for the Carnegie, and 61 for the Kate Greenaway – to the final, exhausting, judging meeting where the winners were finally identified. Every step of the way we, the judges, have felt your presence through your reviews, magazines and pages.

It is wonderful to be able to share the excitement of exploring these amazing books with you, to hear your passion, and to know that Shadowing Groups all over the world are spreading the joy of reading.

I want to take this opportunity to express my heartfelt thanks to you for taking part in this year’s shadowing, and helping to make the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Awards so very special. I very much look forward to meeting some of you as judges in future years!

The 2014 CILIP Carnegie Award goes to Kevin Brooks for ‘Bunker Diary’. An uncompromising book that explores the darkest heart of humanity, and shines a light on the strength and unflinching morality that lies within us all, should we choose it. The judges chose ‘Bunker Diary’ for its incredible characterisation and completely credible plot. Kevin Brooks refuses any easy solutions, and maintains the diary format throughout – creating a real world for the reader to inhabit fully. ‘Bunker Diary’ is undeniably a book that transports the reader to a place that, at the time ofreading, feels very real. It is a book that can be read and reread without losing any of its power, and we feel that it should join the canon of previous winners as a new classic.

The judges chose ‘This is Not My Hat’, by Jon Klassen, as the winner of the 2014 Kate Greenaway Award. Klassen uses colour and simple, clear shapes to transport the reader deep beneath the surface of a vast lake. Synergy between text and illustration is effortless, witty and very satisfying. The sense of movement, tension and comic timing created by tiny bubbles, eyes and deadpan text perfectly balanced by the illustrations is outstanding. ‘This is Not My Hat’ works on many levels, and is a satisfying visual experience that can be shared again and again.

I hope that you have enjoyed your shadowing experience, and that you will join us again next year. Who knows what delights are being written and published in readiness for nomination? Go along to your local library, and explore their new books. Can you identify any that might appear on the nominations list in November? Next year’s judges are doing just that – why not join them?

Large piles of books stacked upside down in my living room

Kathryn Flagner co-ordinates and runs children’s activities across Cumbria Library’s West Group as Deputy Area Library Manager. She blogs here about her role as a CKG 2014 judge.Kathryn's Carnegie list

I have wanted to be a Carnegie/Greenaway judge for a number of years and this year I got to do just that.  It all started in October when I got to meet the other judges, which was great, and we were given the list of nominations, 70+ for Carnegie and 50+ for Greenaway, all to be read within 3 months!

The lists didn’t faze me and I started calmly by re-reading some of those I already had at home.  However, within a week or so copies of titles from both lists started arriving, and very quickly formed large piles in my living room.  It was the books’ physical presence that made me realise the immensity of the task I had undertaken.

I am normally a distracted reader; as soon as a book I want to read comes along I start it, even if I am already reading something else.  I knew this wouldn’t work for the judging, as I was going to have to concentrate on each book and apply the criteria as I read.  To discipline myself I stacked the books upside down, so I couldn’t see the title, and just picked from the top, finishing one book before starting the next.  I even worked out how many books I needed to read a week to meet the deadline. Then settled down to read, and did nothing else for months.

Now all the reading and judging is done and I can hardly wait for the presentation.  What do I do now?  Read books that will eligible to be nominated for next year of course!

Find out more about:

the other judges
the 2014 Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Children’s Book Awards
the shadowing scheme
our latest news on Twitter.

 

 

Shadower Imogen: Hoping to detect the perfect book!

This post has been submitted by Imogen Bowen, a year ten pupil at Shelley College and an avid CKG shadower in  judge Alison Brumwell’s region.

I’ve been involved in Carnegie Shadowing since year 7 when I joined the Scissett Middle School Book Group. We followed a haphazard system where everyone read whichever books they wanted and somehow we all managed to have conversations about each book we had read. In both my years involved with this group, none of our favourite titles actually won, but here’s hoping that this time I might be a bit better at detecting the perfect book!

I’m now a year ten pupil at Shelley College and regrettably, juggling revision and homework has had me reading a lot less than I would like. However, our book group have finally been provided with numerous copies of the shortlisted books this year and we are all keen to start reading! At the minute I am reading The Wall by William Sutcliffe and enjoying it more than I originally thought I would (always a pleasant surprise), and my eyes are set on The Bunker Diary for my next read.

As I said, I’ve been short on reading time so had little chance to read many of the originally shortlisted books when they were announced. I had already read and thoroughly enjoyed Ketchup Clouds by Annabelle Pitcher, but was new to the novel All The Truth That’s In Me which was also on the longlist. I can safely say it is one of the best books for young adults that I’ve read in a while and easily surpassed any of my expectations. So far, for me, it’s the one I’m betting on to win, but there’s still time and 7 more books before I can safely say it is, The One. My only criticism was that the paperback cover is a much worse representation of the powerful story it is and for me (a self-proclaimed book-cover-judger) this is a VERY big deal.

Despite some mild disappointment over Ketchup Clouds not making the shortlist and one of my favourite authors, Maggie Steifvater, not making it past the nominations, I think this year’s Carnegie Medal Shortlist is a fair representation of plenty of genres and styles, some of which I wouldn’t normally read.”

Imogen Bowen

Imogen..

Find out more about:

the CKG 2014 judges
the 2014 Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Children’s Book Awards
the shadowing scheme
our latest news on Twitter.

My visit to BBG Academy

Alison Brumwell is a librarian for Booksplus, Leeds and Director of the Morley Literature Festival. She blogs here about her role as a judge for the 2014 Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Children’s Book Awards.

I have already tweeted about my invitation to visit BBG Academy and their Carnegie shadowing group. We met Alison Brumwelllast Thursday and wow! What a group of articulate and lovely Year Seven pupils (led, very expertly, by LRC Manager Karen McKirgan). The 2014 shadowing group is all-girl: Alice, Iara, Natalia, Orla, Sophie and Alicia. We had quite a lively discussion about whether a plot-driven or character-driven novel is more memorable. They all voted for character-driven novels, so well-done girls! A whizzy, innovative ‘Dan Brown’ plot is great, but reading a plot-driven novel is a bit like eating a bag of Maltesers. Reading the Carnegie short-listed titles is like slowly consuming a hand-dipped truffle; if you take the time to savour each word you are rewarded with a memorable experience. And if you want to know what the BBG Academy Carnegie shadowing group read and recommend, here is their list of titles:

Entangled – Cat Clarke

A Sea of Stars – Kate Maryon

A Spoonful of Jam – Michelle Magorian

Looking for Alaska – John Green

Ketchup Clouds – Annabel Pitcher

Sorrowline – Niel Bushnell

Violet Wings – Victoria Hanley

Mr. Stink – David Walliams

Try reading one this summer!

 

Find out more about:

the other judges
the 2014 Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Children’s Book Awards
the shadowing scheme
our latest news on Twitter.

 

CKG Secrets

Kara Orford is Community Librarian for Denbighshire Libraries and recently achieved Chartered status. She blogs about her experience as a 2014 Carnegie Greenaway judge.

When I embarked upon this quite marvellous judging journey, the thing that I was most Kara Orfordworried about was the sheer amount of reading that I knew came with the territory.  Everyone tells you about it, previous judges prepare you for the fact that you are quite possibly going to have to put your life on hold for a good few months and bunker down (I know that ‘hunker down’ is what I really mean, but I couldn’t resist a cheeky Kevin Brooks reference!)

Anyway, panicking about reading ALL of the nominations is par for the course so that didn’t come as a surprise at all –I just stocked up on chocolate, used up an awful lot of annual leave from work and spent a lot of time in my pyjamas! What I was quite unprepared for though, was the responsibility as a judge to quite simply keep schtum! To keep it ‘zipped’ and to keep hush when it came to lots of elements of judging – That, I wasn’t quite so prepared for!

Working with Sarah, the fabulous School Librarian, I run a CKG shadowing group in a nearby high school and once the longlist was announced, our little group began diligently making our way through the 20 titles.  Now, the time came when myself and the rest of the judging panel had whittled this longlist down into a rather stonking shortlist that had yet to be announced.  There was something of a gap before the list was released and all the time I had to listen to my lovely group saying things like “Well I think that one will DEFINITELY make the shortlist” or “There’s no way that will be on the shortlist, it’s absolutely rubbish!” all the time I was thinking  ‘BUT I KNOW IT IS!!!!!!  AGHGGHGH I KNOW, I KNOW, I KNOW!!!’ I was bursting at the seams but couldn’t tell a soul. For a chatter box like me, this was difficult!

I enjoyed following the debate on Twitter as librarians, publishers & all round eager beavers predicted what the shortlist might look like, all the while staring at my screen thinking ‘You’re WRONG!  You’ve missed off Julie Berry!’ or some such.  I wanted to talk about it, I wanted to natter about my first years’ experience of judging  to anyone who would listen.  I wanted to explain how vigorously we had debated the nominations and longlist, I wanted to tell people about the books that proved most controversial in our discussion, I wanted to spill the beans on just how close some books had come to making the shortlist and how hard some judges had battled to earn them a place there.  But I couldn’t.  Not yet.  I couldn’t say a thing.

You see the thing is, keeping secrets is part and parcel of being a judge, it says so on our job description!  (Bet you didn’t know we had a job description, but we do!)  Right there on the list of our responsibilities as judges it says in black and white “To maintain confidentiality.”  Well I’ll let you in on a secret of my own…

When I feel like I’m about to POP with excitement from judging and all of the Carnegie Greenaway that I have fizzing through my brain, I hotfoot it over to tell my friend Fin ALL about it.  I go on and on and on and on, giving him the juiciest gossip and the most controversial of insights and the best thing of all is, I know he won’t tell a soul!

Cara Orford and Fin

Kara and Fin!

You see Fin is only 5 months old, and whilst he seems to be more of a Greenaway fan than a Carnegie enthusiast at the moment, he listens to every word I say.  I get to share my secrets with someone and know 110% that he won’t let the cat out of the bag! Phewee, what a relief!

To be honest, I think Fin will be relieved when the winner is announced – Keeping these secrets is a lot of pressure for the both of us!  ; )

 

Find out more about:

the other judges
the 2014 Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Children’s Book Awards
the shadowing scheme
our latest news on Twitter.