Here we are at last! The day the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway medal winners for 2018 are finally announced, as well as the Amnesty CILIP Honours, and we can’t wait to see which books have been chose to receive the top prizes in children’s literature.
The shortlists this year have been outstanding as always, and we’ve really enjoyed reading and reviewing the shortlisted titles. This morning we round off our reviews with Emma’s thoughts on The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, which is shortlisted for the Carnegie award.
What the publisher says…
Sixteen-year-old Starr lives in two worlds: the poor neighbourhood where she was born and raised and her posh high school in the suburbs. The uneasy balance between them is shattered when Starr is the only witness to the fatal shooting of her unarmed best friend, Khalil, by a police officer. Now what Starr says could destroy her community. It could also get her killed. Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a powerful and gripping YA novel about one girl’s struggle for justice.
What we say…
The Hate U Give gave me bags under my eyes! I just couldn’t stop reading until I finished it (at 3am!). The book addresses some really big issues, such as police shootings of unarmed black people and white privilege, through telling the story of one ordinary girl, Starr Carter, who finds herself in an extraordinary and horrific situation, having witnessed the fatal shooting of her unarmed friend by an officer.
It is the characters and the relationships between them that make this a truly exceptional book for me. The balance of the awful things Starr is having to deal with and the everyday teenage-ness of her character is perfect and the strong family dynamic of the Carters is a joy to experience.
See Angie Thomas talk about The Hate U Give here: http://www.carnegiegreenaway.org.uk/watch.php?id=13
View the full CKG 2018 shortlists here:
Looking for some bank holiday / half term reading? If you haven’t already read them all, the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway shortlists are a brilliant place to look for inspiration.
Today we continue on our mission to review all the shortlisted titles for each award before the winners are announced on 18th June. Here Ros reviews Where the World Ends by Geraldine McCaughrean, from the Carnegie shortlist:
What the publisher says…
Every summer Quill and his friends are put ashore on a remote sea stac to hunt birds. But this summer, no one arrives to take them home.
Surely nothing but the end of the world can explain why they’ve been abandoned – cold, starving and clinging to life, in the grip of a murderous ocean. How will they survive?
What we say…
Full disclosure – I am not a huge fan of Geraldine McCaughrean’s work as a whole. She’s a writer I appreciate, rather than enjoy, and so I was a bit trepidatious about reading this. I even had another book with me ready for when I gave up on it!
I did not give up on it. In fact, I could barely put it down. This story of a group of boys (and a few men) abandoned on a remote sea stac is full of tension and perhaps even more importantly, takes the time to develop the characters so that I genuinely cared about their fate. There are moments of humour amongst the grind of survival and when events took a bad turn at various points, I found myself almost holding my breath (and holding back tears).
This is based on a true story, although of course the actual events on the sea stac are fictionalised. McCaughrean manages to create an ending that feels almost like a beginning – full of hope for the future, but the author’s note about the actual reason for the group’s abandonment is devastating.
Watch Geraldine McCaughrean speaking about Where the World Ends on the CKG shadowing site: http://www.carnegiegreenaway.org.uk/watch.php?id=11
You can view the full Carnegie and Kate Greenaway 2018 shortlists here:
Continuing with our series of reviews of the CKG shortlisted titles, today Amanda gives her verdict on Rook by Anthony McGowan, from the Carnegie list.
What the publisher says…
When Kenny and Nicky rescue a rook left for dead, Kenny is determined to keep it alive. Nicky doubts the scruffy bird will make it, but then Nicky has plenty else to worry about – a school bully, his first love, and the fact that everything is about to go very, very wrong.
What we say…
I have to admit, when I saw Rook was on The Carnegie Shortlist I was a little skeptical. It was a Barrington Stoke book and I always believed them to be much easier reads without much substance (this was of course because I hadn’t read any!)
The first two pages did put me off a little as it described the birds fighting, but as soon as Kenny and Nicky came flying onto the page I thought – I’m going to enjoy this.
I loved the way Nicky looked out for his brother and really felt his pain when he was dealing with his issues. I feel a true testament to how powerful the writing was, was me thinking – if I was at the school I would sort out those boys! And having to remind myself – its not real.
The topics were all dealt with sensitively and with realism and I would highly recommend this book to every student as it was very relatable.
Even though it was the third one about the boys it didn’t make the story incomprehensible, it simply made me want to read the earlier novels, Brock and Pike, which I now have.
One of my students in the shadowing group stated she liked it as it was realistic the way the school children were with each other but she was confused where mum was. I have suggested she reads the others.
A great read.
You can see what Anthony McGowan has to say about Rook on the Carnegie shadowing site: http://www.carnegiegreenaway.org.uk/watch.php?id=1
We went to see the very funny Proon Productions version of this book at the weekend and it’s been in constant demand in our household ever since…
Written by Sean Taylor and illustrated by Jean Jullien, Hoot Owl talks a fierce game—“I swoop through the bleak blackness like a wolf in the air” but his dumpy ovoid shape and propensity for dressing up are at odds with the super villain hyperbole. It means that despite Hoot Owl’s self-professed “deadly-dangerous beak” even squeamish readers can be confident that no animals will be hurt during the reading of this book!
Jullien’s bold, black outlines, rich colours, expressive animal eyes (often turned towards the intrepid hero in benign bemusement) and positioning (Hoot Owl is frequently sideways à la Superman) hilariously complement Taylor’s text and reveal the ‘predator’ as both melodramatic and comical. Our favourite line, and the one that had us giggling the most, was the dramatic “The shadowy night stretches away forever, as black as burnt toast”.
Hilarity, smart pacing and lots of ridiculous costume changes make this a winner for all ages!
The book that I’m reading at the moment has become a true classic in our house. Published back in 2012, Nicola Davies and Mark Hearld’s A First Book of Nature, has become a staple of our reading year. The forerunner of this year’s Greenaway longlisted First Book of Animals (illustrated by Petr Horacek), the book journeys through the four seasons in a mix of poetry and lyrical prose, offering scraps of recipes, facts, fragments and observations to remind us of the wonder and diversity of the natural world.
I’m blown away each time I return to it by the richness of the illustrations – colour simply floods the page (no white margins here) perfectly capturing the essence of each season. Mark Hearld’s collages are vibrant and evocative: a mixture of direct observation and characteristic nostalgia. I’m a fan anyway but they seem to me to perfectly capture the essence and experiences being related in Nicola Davies’ words.