CKG Nominations 2020 – Read Along With Us

As part of our forthcoming Unconference on 21st September we will be discussing the books we have shortlisted as our regional nominations for the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Awards 2020.

We invite all attendees to join us in discussing these books – if you’d like to read the books before hand you can see our current selections below.

 

Read Along With Us... GreenawayRead Along With Us... Carnegie

Is there a book you’ve read that you think is worthy of being nominated? Get in touch and let us know what you’ve been reading and which books you think would be worthy contenders for these prestigious awards.

Nominations for the 2020 Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals are open between Friday 13th and Friday 27th September 2019. If you are a CILIP member you may also make individual nominations (one title per Medal) – please see www.carnegiegreenaway.org.uk  for more detail about the Medal criteria and mission for the Awards.

Picture Books In The Pub – CPD Opportunities

Amanda Childs shares her experience of joining in with our Picture Books In The Pub events…

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At the age of seven I wanted to be a librarian. From an early age – I guess I was about nine I would visit Eccles Library on my way home from primary school and help the library staff – whether they wanted me to help or not!

At eleven we moved and at thirteen/fourteen I discovered a new library to help out at.

For my work experience, no prizes for guessing …. I went to a library which led me onto getting a Saturday job and some holiday work. I went to university and gained a degree in librarianship and from leaving university until today I have almost always been a librarian – both in schools and the public arena. During my twenty five plus years in this wonderful job, I have been fortunate to have encountered a wide range of CPD. For the majority of these days (as we know) the best part is getting together with other librarians to discuss what we love most – books and our jobs.

 

…what I have professionally and personally gained from the last few months have been almost indescribable

This year I have been lucky enough to be involved with the North West Committee of YLG. Last July two of the group headed to the North East for a training day and learnt of a project there – Picture Books in the pub. My ears pricked up – how does this work? Getting books out to more people is of course one of the joys of our jobs and I wanted to learn how to get involved. In reality it hasn’t been as I imagined but what I have professionally and personally gained from the last few months have been almost indescribable. Since the Greenaway List was announced a number of the committee and others have met in a pub in Manchester to discuss the shortlist. Our first meeting involved looking at all 8 on the shortlist and Emma the North West CKG representative gave us a brief overview of why these had been selected. It was marvellous. We then planned on what two books we were going to look at in detail two weeks later….

It was amazing how looking at the criteria with others truly enhanced the experience with the books.

The format for the sessions became – we would order food and drink first (priorities, priorities) then settle with the first book and go through the criteria item by item and discuss whatever pages would catch our eyes. Some folk would email in their thoughts and these were discussed too along with our own analysis. I absorbed every comment, analysis and pages of these books. It was amazing how looking at the criteria with others truly enhanced the experience with the books.

After the first sessions I devised a library lesson for my Year 7 groups sharing the Greenaway books with them, something it had never occurred to me to do before – I know, 25+ years in the field of librarianship, where every year I devoured and loved reading all the Carnegie books but had never really taken much notice of the Greenaway! I was very much ashamed of this and now I can’t wait to explore the backlist of past shortlisted books with my students.

After the discussions of the two books was over we would vote – which one we thought would possibly win/our favourite? It was always such a tough choice. We of course ate, drank and chatted more about work and I have found these times enormously helpful professionally but also because we all love literature I have had the best of fun.

If you ever get the chance to join us please do I know you won’t regret it.

First Impressions: The 2019 Kate Greenaway Shortlist (Part II)

Continuing our look at the 2019 Kate Greenaway shortlist…

Julian Is A Mermaid - Jessica Love

Julian Is A Mermaid – Jessica Love

The colours and the fluid lines really capture what this books is about – we thought it was utterly joyful. Using minimal text, much of the story is revealed via the illustrations -Julian’s tramway dreaming prefiguring the books ending (note the patterned fish and the gifted necklace). This book was a clear favourite on the night!

Our highlight was: the body language as a way of communicating the emotional narrative of the story. We especially liked Nana’s inscrutable face.

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You’re Safe With Me – Poonam Mistry (written by Chitra Soundar)

Visually arresting and intricate illustrations make this stand out stylistically – it’s unlike anything else on the shortlist. Though highly patterned each page or spread is different – colour is used very effectively to change the tone.

Our highlight was:  the use of the whole page – colour and pattern run to the very edges with the text seamlessly integrated into the pictures.

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The Lost Words – Jackie Morris (Written by Robert Macfarlane)

It’s clear from the moment that you open this book that it is something very special – we spoke about the size and format itself being totally immersive and how clever it is to achieve the depiction of the loss of something – the absence of it. The ‘triptych’ of images for each poem and the gold leaf evoked something iconic – as if this were a reliquary for these words.

Our highlight was: The fact that the impact of the illustrations builds – each lost word is addressed with 3 illustrations: one showing the absence of the word, one accomanying the poem and showing a detailed image on gold leaf and finally a double page spread showing the ‘lost word’ in it’s natural setting – as it should be.

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Suffragette: The Battle For Equality – David Roberts

The attention to detail in this work is astonishing. Avoiding the replication of images we may already be familiar with because we’ve seen them in photographs or posters, Roberts offers an intimate look at this moment in history. The use of different styles: the cross stitch samplers, the period portraits, the cataloguing of ephemera such as badges, weapons and flags, as well as action shots of pitched battles, marches and general ‘brouhaha’ make for an intoxicating mix.

Our highlight was: The determination on the women’s faces – even as they are being dragged away by police or eyes closed trudging through the rain – the illustrations make very clear something of the character of these women and the magnitude of the battle they took on.

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For those wishing to join in the fun, our next meeting will take place on the 2nd April, 6.30pm, at The Bank pub (Manchester). You can find out more about the Greenaway shadowing scheme on the Awards website https://www.carnegiegreenaway.org.uk/shadowing.php

 

First Impressions: The 2019 Kate Greenaway Shortlist (Part I)

Last night was the inaugural meeting of our ‘Picture Books In The Pub’ group – an informal shadowing group for adults looking at the books shortlisted for this year’s Kate Greenaway Medal.

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We were very lucky to have regional judge Emma on hand to introduce each of the shortlisted books and tell us a little bit about why these eight books in particular stood out for the judging panel. Naturally lots of discussion and oohs and ahhs ensued. We even managed to brainstorm ideas around the kind of activities we could run with shadowers based on each book (headdresses and mermaid tails here we come!).

We will, of course, be revisiting each book in detail (and with the medal criteria firmly in mind) over the coming weeks but to whet your appetite and in the spirit of the shadowing scheme we’d like to share some of our first impressions with you…

The day The war Came - Rebecca Cobb

The Day The War Came, illustrated by Rebecca Cobb (written by Nicola Davies)

We were particularly impressed with the use of colour and texture here – the contrast conveying all the “smoke and fire and noise” that the narrator “didn’t understand”. The use of panelling in some of the spreads and the wide double pages gives a real sense of the enormity of the journey undertaken and the all encompassing nature of the war.

Our highlight was: the endpapers – we loved the fact that the book begins with empty chairs but ends with each one occupied by a happy and smiling child.

Ocean Meets Sky

Ocean Meets Sky – The Fan Brothers

We all wanted to spend more time poring over these immersive, enchanting illustrations. Each page offered so much to investigate: fish bellied boats, sea monsters and pirates, castles in the air and even a guest appearance from the Titanic.  We loved all the details and felt very pleased with ourselves when we spotted that the lands Finn sails through all echo the curios left on his grandfather’s desk.

Our highlight was: The use of scale and the change in perspectives – the double page spread showing the carp, boat and jellyfish from above eliciting several gasps of admiration.

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Beyond The Fence – Maria Gulemetova

We really like the low, wide format of this book – it enhanced the expansive vistas and their promise of freedom just as much as it intensified the creeping sense of claustrophobia in some of the interiors.

Our highlight was: The final spread – the change of colour and saturation makes a bold contrast to the rest of the book and invites the reader to imagine just what lies on the other side.

The Wolf, The Duck  & The Mouse - Jon Klassen

The Wolf, The Duck & The Mouse – Jon Klassen (written by Mac Barnett)

We loved the textured backgrounds in this one and spoke about them being stylistically reminiscent of works from the 60s/70s. Broad brushstrokes, crayoned lines and inky spatters evoke both the earthy darkness of the wolf and the moonlit wash of the nighttime forest. We were particularly drawn to the contrast between light and dark and wondered how this had been achieved: creatures and objects are almost luminescent in the dark of the wolf’s belly.

Our highlight was: The scenes inside the wolf’s belly – it seems such a bold choice to fill the page with such dark colour and the way that the mouse and the duck are foregrounded by a bold white outline made these spreads really stand out.

We’ll be back with the final four shortlisted books in our ‘First Impressions Part II’ post tomorrow!

Love Letters To Libraries: Jane Ray

Our next writer in our Love Letters to Libraries series, is the inestimable Jane Ray. Jane has illustrated over 70 children’s books and has worked with authors such as Michael Rosen, Carol Ann Duffy, Jeanette Winterson, Dianne Hofmeyr and Kevin Crossley Holland. She is IBBY UK’s nomination for the 2108 Hans Christian Andersen Award, alongside Melvin Burgess.

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Why I Like Libraries

A love of libraries was instilled in me early by my parents, whose own families had few educational aspirations and certainly no money for books. The local library had been crucial to their educational development and they were the first in their families not to leave school at 14 but to go on to Higher Education, and careers as teachers. So my mum took me and my sisters to our library every Thursday evening, teaching us how the library worked and how to find the books we might enjoy.

I have fond memories of that first local library of my childhood – the smell of books, the pink cardboard tickets in their little buff coloured envelopes, the rubber date stamp and the pleasure of leaving with an armful of new possibilities – Noel Streatfield, Tove Janson, Louisa M Alcott, Milly Molly Mandy, My Naughty Little Sister, Teddy Robinson… so many new friends!

There was no library at Primary school, but Secondary School had a wonderfully well-stocked library with an enthusiastic librarian and a selection of art books that filled me with complete joy! Here I discovered how a fresco was painted, the drawings of Michelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci and the illustrations of Arthur Rackham.

There was a sense of growth, of independence, in being free to select books that developed my interests in art, that began to signpost the direction I might go in. (I do also have to admit here, with suitable shame, that for a while I was a part of a group of very noisy girls at school who loved being in the library but talked and mucked about and eventually got barred… not my finest hour – sorry Mrs Brooke!)

School libraries and skilled specialist School Librarians are a vital (and vanishing) part of every school. Occasionally, usually through the unstinting fund raising efforts of Parent Teacher groups, a new library is opened in a primary school – I have been lucky enough to be asked to cut the ribbon for a few of these and they are such a joy and cause for celebration – bright, airy colourful rooms, with cushions, pictures and books, books, books…

My first experience of a proper ‘grown up’ scholarly library was when I was writing my thesis for my degree. My subject was Oriental Puppetry and I found myself ensconced among the stacks of the Library of SOAS – The School of Oriental and African Studies. It was a little intimidating until I’d worked out how to use the cataloguing system and access the books I needed, but from the beginning I was enthralled by the quietly serious atmosphere, and a feeling that what I was writing and researching mattered.

When I had my first child we spent many hours looking at picture books together at Wood Green Library in North London, somewhere meaningful to go where you didn’t have to spend any money, where the whole point was to look and be inspired and make a choice and then take that choice home with you. All three of my children were avid library users throughout their childhoods.

It is vitally important to provide a place to study for children and young people who don’t have access to quiet space at home. The social gap in opportunity is widened by such inequality and public libraries are a huge help in bridging that gap. Specialist children’s librarians also help, by creating events in libraries with authors and illustrators that give children who don’t visit bookshops, an opportunity to experience books and their creators at first hand.

I work as Artist in Residence at a Refugee Centre and the local public library is of huge value to people who have fled their homelands with nothing. Here they can read, study, research, use the internet, sit in peace and think. The freedom this represents to someone who has fled repression of thought and education is incalculable.

Libraries are not just about books – they are local cultural hubs – noticeboards full of opportunities for classes, life drawing, language classes…

As a young illustrator, it was my local library in Crouch End that gave me and a group of fellow artists, all sharing a studio, the chance to exhibit our work for the first time. Professional contacts were made and careers boosted.

In these days of prohibitively expensive university education, public libraries have come to represent more and more a place where access to education and development is free.

As important too, in my view, is the quiet and calm they offer in a world which buzzes with constant ‘noise’.

Libraries represent the best in our society – education, enlightenment, information, peace, trust – and all for free. We should treasure them for we lose them at our peril.

Jane Ray, 2018

Jane’s latest book for Boxer Books, The Elephant’s Garden was nominated for the 2018 Greenaway Medal.