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

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

 

I gave up my rights to become a CKG judge!

Karen Horsfield manages Resources for Learning at Somerset’s Schools’ Library Service. Here, she blogs about her role as a judge for the 2014 Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Children’s Book Awards. 

Karen Horsfield, CKG 2014 Judge

Karen Horsfield, CKG 2014 Judge

I have a poster on the wall in my office – ‘The rights of the reader’ by Daniel Pennac, illustrated by Quentin Blake which has left me wondering how those rights apply to me with my CKG hat on.  For the three months between November and January when I was reading the nominated titles, I think I gave up most of them (alongside my family, friends, cinema, TV, swimming, meals out and life in general)!  

‘The right not to read’.  I can honestly say, hand on heart, that I have read every last word of each nominated title at least once.  This means that the second and third reader’s rights, ‘the right to skip’ and ‘the right not to finish a book’, went straight out of the window too!  No skipping pages and no unfinished endings.

The right to read anything is something else that can’t apply to a CKG judge whilst working their way through the nominated titles.  There just aren’t enough hours in the day.  I will admit to some sneaky reading of a couple of magazines and Christmas letters from friends but generally was unable to choose what I wanted to read.  It didn’t stop me compiling a wish list which also includes DVDs of the films I missed out on as well!

‘The right to mistake a book for real life’ is a failing of mine.  I do this all the time, the characters become my friends and united we combine to vanquish villains and thwart antiheroes even though I have absolutely no control over the outcome of the plot.  There are times when having finished a book, I am unable to pick up another because I cannot say goodbye to the characters whom I have grown to love.  (Not when CKG reading though.)

‘The right to read anywhere’ A CKG judge has to take full advantage of this.  In order to get through all the titles in the allotted I time read anywhere and everywhere attracting annoying comments like, “Get your nose out of that book” (mainly from my family).  I am sure this phrase will be engraved on my book shaped headstone!   I read in bed, over meals, on buses, in breaks, while waiting for meetings to start, in the queue for the checkout, while waiting for my daughter, in the ‘little room’, in the bath, while cooking dinner.  You name it!

I would have liked to have exercised my right ‘to dip in’ as a way of selecting the order in which the nominated titles were to be read.  However, I knew I would read all my favourite authors first.  The books were stacked in the spare room and I was most strict about not cherry picking those I was desperate to read, making myself pick from the top of the pile.  The only concession was that I allowed myself to select half a dozen slimmer volumes to read during Christmas week.

‘The right to read out loud’?  No chance!  I can read a million times faster in my head and speed is of the essence for a CKG judge.

‘The right to be quiet’.  I prefer to snuggle up quietly in a nest on my sofa.  However, I found I developed an ability to read in the midst of chaos and confusion and the hustle and bustle of life simply to ensure I got through the titles.

I am pleased to say that since having completed the CKG list of nominated titles life has got back to normal.  I am not going to read a book for book group simply because I just don’t fancy it.  I skip articles in the paper and I may not finish the book currently in my bag because life is too short to read something I am not enjoying.  I am going to enjoy reading all the CKG shortlisted titles again and particularly relish the one where I was so scared I felt as if I was one of the characters.  I’m going to continue to read anywhere and everywhere and dip into poetry all of which was written to read aloud.

However, a word of warning from Daniel Pennac.  ‘Don’t make fun of people who don’t read – or they never will’.  But how do I deal with people who make fun of me because I do read?

Books, tea and sunny weather – what more could you want?

Cath Skipper is librarian at Campbell College, Belfast. She blogs here about her role as a judge for the 2014 Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Children’s Book Awards.

Cath Skipper blog

Cath Skipper blog

The Easter holidays are finally here, and so I am writing this from a campsite just outside Aberystwyth in sunny Wales. I have little light reading with me in the form of the CKG shortlists; a supply of teabags and biscuits; and sticky notes and pencils to keep track of my thoughts. Along with a few walks with the dogs, what more could you need for a perfect holiday?!

My first year of being on the panel of CKG award judges has been hugely enjoyable so far. As an already out-of-control book addict, the opportunity to be part of such a prestigious book award is very exciting, and although reading every nominated book in a very short space of time was hard work, it was also very rewarding.

I’ve really enjoyed seeing the reactions to both the long and shortlists, not least from my book group at school who were fizzing with excitement to find out what would make the cut. Having just taken part in our local book awards, the Northern Ireland Book Award, it’s really nice to be able to keep their enthusiasm for reading going towards the end of the school year with Carnegie shadowing.

On re-reading the shortlisted books, I am even more convinced that there really is something for everyone on the lists. All of the contenders are very strong, and I really have no idea how we are going to decide a winner… Time for another cup of tea, I think!

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Find out more about:

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