CKG Review: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

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. 

http://www.walker.co.uk/The-Hate-U-Give-9781406372151.aspx

The Hate U Give

 

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.

Emma

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:

http://www.carnegiegreenaway.org.uk/carnegie-current-shortlist.php

http://www.carnegiegreenaway.org.uk/greenaway-current-shortlist.php

 

CKG review: A First Book of Animals – illustrated by Petr Horacek

Not one, not two, but three reviews in one day! We’re so close to he CKG winners announcement now – and so close to getting all our reviews of the shortlisted titles posted! Here are Lizzie’s thoughts on A First Book of Animals from the Greenaway list, which sees Petr Horacek shortlisted for his stunning illustrations.

What the publisher says…

Nicola Davies, the award-winning author of A First Book of Nature, presents a spellbinding treasury of poems about the animal world, illustrated in breathtaking detail by Petr Horacek. … From blue whales to bumblebee bats and everything in between, A First Book of Animals takes you all over the planet to visit all kinds of different creatures. 

http://www.walker.co.uk/A-First-Book-of-Animals-9781406359633.aspx

img_0082

What we say…

It’s impossible to tell which came first here – the text or the illustrations – as both work so perfectly together to create an outstanding work of vivacity and exuberance. Nature bursts from the page in abundance. Petr Horacek’s double page spreads allow Nicola Davies’ poetic text to dance across the page whilst his jewel-like colours and textured collages express the remarkable diversity of the natural world on a grand scale. Clever layout and design, with the occasional nod to works of natural history from yesteryear, make this a book which works on several levels with appeal across a wide age and ability range, A true treasury!” 

Lizzie

See Petr Horacek talk about A First Book of Animals here: http://www.carnegiegreenaway.org.uk/watch.php?id=4

View the full CKG 2018 shortlists here:

http://www.carnegiegreenaway.org.uk/carnegie-current-shortlist.php

http://www.carnegiegreenaway.org.uk/greenaway-current-shortlist.php

 

CKG review: Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk

Continuing with our series of reviews of the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway 2018 shortlisted titles, today Amanda shares her thoughts on Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk, from the Carnegie list.

What the publisher says…

Vivid and heartfelt, Beyond the Bright Sea is a gorgeously crafted, gripping tale of buried treasure and belonging.
Beyond the Bright Sea
What we say…

As a lover of Lauren Wolk’s debut novel, Wolf Hollow, I was really looking forward to reading this book. A historical read which had me wanting to learn more about this part of the world.

Crow, the hero and narrator is a young girl who was saved by Osh – a loner who we as the reader want to know more about.  The relationships between, Osh, Crow and Miss Maggie are beautifully crafted and you as the reader are really invested in these characters lives.

This book will stay in my memory forever as it uses the most beautiful sentence I ever remembering reading – “It was hard for me to believe that this man, who was as strong as February and August combined – and smart, besides – would be afraid of something like that.”  The language really is beautiful throughout, as descriptive you can imagine yourself on the island with Crow and Osh – but the description does not overtake the storyline which is equally strong.

Crow has to deal with being an outcast – and is not content with this so tries to find out if she truly should be shunned. All this and the prospect of finding treasure keeps the reader completely gripped throughout.

I was enthralled with the events told and felt the author did a brilliant job of not tying up all the parts in a predictable ‘happy ever after’.

One of my Carnegie Shadowing Group was left feeling unsatisfied with the ending as she wanted to know more about Osh – I may encourage her to write to the author to find out!

Amanda

See Lauren Wolk talk about Beyond the Bright Sea on the CKG shadowing site: http://www.carnegiegreenaway.org.uk/watch.php?id=22

Check out the full CKG shortlists here:

http://www.carnegiegreenaway.org.uk/carnegie-current-shortlist.php

http://www.carnegiegreenaway.org.uk/greenaway-current-shortlist.php

CKG review: Where the World Ends by Geraldine McCaughrean

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?

https://usborne.com/browse-books/catalogue/product/1/11571/where-the-world-ends/

where the world ends

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.

Ros

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:

http://www.carnegiegreenaway.org.uk/carnegie-current-shortlist.php

http://www.carnegiegreenaway.org.uk/greenaway-current-shortlist.php

CKG Reviews: Rook by Anthony McGowan

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.

https://www.barringtonstoke.co.uk/books/rook/

rook

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.

Amanda

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