CKG 2018 Nominations Announced

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It’s always an exciting day when the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway nominations are announced. It marks the first step in an extraordinary reading journey that will take us all the way to the announcement of the winners in June next year.  Moreover, it’s a wonderful insight into the books that fellow librarians have been reading and recommending and with a total of 237 books nominated across the two awards this year there’s no doubt that we’ve got a couple of months of outstanding reading ahead.

Over the last couple of years I’ve inadvertently developed my own ritual for nomination announcement day: after printing a nice crisp copy of the lists, I take an inexplicable joy in wielding a highlighter across them to see how many I have read. The necessity has also sadly developed in recent years to denote books on the lists that I have in my possession but have not yet had time to read so there’s also the added excitement of colour coding going on!

Sometimes it’s been scary to see how many I’ve not got around to reading – I like to think that I stay up to date with recent publications and this can be a bit of a wake up call – but for the most part it’s a welcome challenge. I’m fairly certain that I’m not going to manage to read them all, probably not even close, but past experience has taught me that these lists hold treasures and there’s genuine delight in the anticipation of what I’m going to find.

I’m already looking forward to the announcement of the longlists in February – highlighter at the ready!

You can see the full lists and award timetable on the CKG Website

Happy reading everyone!

Lizzie

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Read Along With Us: Carnegie regional nominations

There’s just under a week to go until we’ll be deciding what our regional nominations for this year’s Carnegie and Kate Greenaway awards will be. We’ll be asking attendees at next Tuesday’s event with Cressida Cowell to vote on a selection of titles, to decide which ones we put forward.

All nominations for the 2018 Carnegie and Kate Greenaway awards will be officially announced on 6th November 2017. The longlist will be announced in February 2018, the shortlist will be unveiled in March, and the winners will be revealed on 18th June 2018.

We’ll have copies of the books available for you to look at on the night. In the meantime, here are our thoughts on the titles we’re asking you to consider for the Carnegie nomination, and why we think they are worthy contenders for the awards. We’ll be posting about our Greenaway suggestions soon.

 

Carnegie:

Overheard in a Tower Block – Joseph Coelho (Otter Barry Books)

Overheard in a tower block

Publisher comment: “Award-winning poet Joseph Coelho’s astonishing new collection is a powerful and moving poetic narrative about growing up in the city.”

Our thoughts: “Ambitious in theme, the collected poems are held together by an overarching narrative of a boy living in an urban tower block and growing from late childhood to early adulthood. The everyday experiences of childhood are made extraordinary here through astute observation and dexterity of word play – parental discord, peer pressure and the ever-expanding sense of horizons and world-views extending outwards. Each poem offers a childlike vantage point, but collated together there are profound comments about the nature of late childhood, its shift towards adulthood and responsibility and the continuing role it is able to play in determining and defining our lives.” (Jake)

 

Wed Wabbit – Lissa Evans (David Fickling Books)

Wed Wabbit

Publisher comment: “Wed Wabbit is an adventure story about friendship, danger and the terror of never being able to get back home again. And it’s funny. It’s really, really funny.”

Our thoughts: “Lissa Evans’ truly unique writing style combines fantasy and humour to convey complex and difficult ideas with heart and emotional insight. The majority of the story takes place against the surreal and often absurd backdrop of ‘The Land of Wimbley Woos’ yet excellent plotting and characterisation ensure that the sense of jeopardy and eventual resolution feel real. This is a surprising read that takes the reader on an unexpected but rewarding journey.” (Lizzie)

 

Welcome to Nowhere – Elizabeth Laird (Macmillan Children’s Books)

Welcome to nowherePublisher comment: “Elizabeth Laird has succeeded again in writing an incredibly powerful novel, this time about one of the biggest humanitarian crises of our age.” (Belinda Rasmussen, Publisher, Macmillan Children’s Books)

Our thoughts: “Everyone should read this book ! It gives an accessible account of Syrias descent into civil war. It begins in Bosra and follows 12 year old Omar and his family ,as their lives fall apart and they lose everything. Their hopes for the future had been so normal ! Omar wants to be a business man , his sister Eman a teacher . His older brother Musa has cerebral palsy and is greatly underestimated by his family. As the bombs fall they have to leave everything and end up in a refugee camp .

Beautifully written , well researched ,powerful and atmospheric . It contains a message of hope” (Ann)

 

Saint Death – Marcus Sedgwick (Orion Children’s Books)

Saint DeathPublisher comment: “A powerful and timely thriller set on the Mexican-US border.”

Our thoughts: Saint Death is absolutely gripping from start to finish. It’s a pulsating narrative and the pace and urgency of the plot, along with the increasing desperation of the main character, are perfectly reflected in the structure of the story, in which short chapters are interspersed with newspaper cuttings, quotations and thoughts. This is a really immersive novel that highlights some big issues around immigration, inequality and hopelessness. (Emma)

 

The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas (Walker Books)

The Hate U GivePublisher comment: “A powerful and brave YA novel about what prejudice looks like in the 21st century.”

Our thoughts: “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 simply 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. 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)

 

Encounters – Jason Wallace (Andersen Press)

EncountersPublisher comment: “Inspired by true accounts, this is the long-awaited new novel from Costa-award-winner Jason Wallace.”

Our thoughts: Wallace builds an intense and uneasy atmosphere in which he unravels the brutal complexities of his characters’ lives. This is a work of technical mastery with no less than six engaging and convincing narratives pivoting around the mysterious event at the heart of the novel.  These six apparently disparate voices interconnect in surprising and revealing ways bringing new meaning to the idea of the titular ‘encounter’. The end result is a unique and outstanding slow burner of a book which leaves the reader with much to think about. (Lizzie)

So those are our thoughts on our Carnegie suggestions, please do let us know your thoughts on these books. You can find out more about the CKG awards process and the judging criteria here: http://www.carnegiegreenaway.org.uk/awards-process.php

Don’t forget, YLG members can also make up to two individual nominations for each award.

 

 

YATakeover – celebrating 80 Years of the CKG Medals

Today is day two of this amazing celebration over on Twitter – if you missed out yesterday fear not – catch up using the hashtag #YATakeover and throw yourself into the fun today.

Just check out the list of authors and illustrators involved! What better way is there to spend the eve of the Carnegie and Greenaway Medal announcements?!

YATakeover

CKG Review: The Smell Of Other People’s Houses – Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock

What The Judges Say:

Not a word is wasted. The four protagonists are subtly and so convincingly developed it’s difficult to imagine they are not real people… There is a total balance between a sense of urgency and great reflection’ – Judging panel

Smell Of Other People's Houses

What We Say:

We often talk about reading being able to take you to other places, to transport you to other worlds and perhaps to allow you to walk in another person’s shoes for a while– my goodness does this book do that! Set in the Alaska of the 1970s, Bonnie- Sue Hitchcock tells a delicately interwoven story of four teenagers and shows how their lives are transformed when their paths intersect.

However, this is not your average coming of age story. Though the story is shared between the four first person narratives of the teens, it is actually the location that really dominates. Looming large over the narrative, Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock shows us an Alaska that is both strange and beautiful but simultaneously harsh and unforgiving. It is undeniably ‘home’ for these characters – they’re woven into the very web of it. The way they navigate the land – their personal journeys through it – does much in the way of character development, ultimately revealing their self sufficiency, grit, humility and generosity.

I’ve seen it described as a ‘quietly beautiful’ book – and I think that’s a pretty accurate summation having now read it. It has a slightly somber quality that enables the sense of ‘great reflection’ that the judges talk about. It’s certainly a book that I’ve thought about many times and certain scenes in particular have stayed in my head long after I’ve put the book down – Orcas, cranberries and red ribbons have taken on almost totemic qualities for me.

In short, sophisticated plotting, a superb sense of place and a pleasantly uplifting ending make this a great Carnegie contender.

From The Horse’s Mouth:

You can watch Bonnie-Sue talking about her book and reading an extract here: http://www.carnegiegreenaway.org.uk/watch.php?id=18

Bonnie-Sue

CKG Review: Sputnik’s Guide To Life on Earth

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We’ve been industriously reading and digesting the Carnegie and Greenaway shortlists over the last couple of weeks but with only a month to go before we discover 2017’s winning titles we think it’s high time that we shared our thoughts with you…

To start us off we’re looking at Sputnik’s Guide To Life on Earth by previous Carnegie Medal winner Frank Cottrell Boyce.

What the Judges Say:

‘This writer is particularly skilled at using fantasy to say something about the world we live in and how we relate to each other and it is the relationships which really matter. Touching and credible’ – Judging panel

sputnik

What We Say:

Frank Cottrell Boyce takes the story of Laika, the dog sent into space by the Russians in 1957, and asks what if she didn’t die, what if she was rescued by someone up there and told them about the wonders of Earth? Enter Sputnik, a small, rather unpredictable alien who lands on the doorstep of Prez, a young boy in care. Prez has grown up with his grandfather but the onset of dementia has meant that the two have become separated. Though he finds himself unable to speak to humans, Prez will talk to Sputnik, who having only Laika as a reference, has taken the form of a dog.

Prez’s uncertainty of his place in the world makes him hugely endearing, and Sputnik, a kind of beneficent Lord of Misrule (happy to put a lightsabre into the hands of a five year old or deploy a reverse dynamite grenade to rebuild Hadrian’s Wall), is a fantastic character able to fill the page with joy and adventure. Together the two embark on a mission to save the earth from destruction by cataloguing the reasons it is still worth seeing (according to Sputnik’s alien logic). The resulting list is both profound and ridiculous.

Sure to be a hit with young enquiring minds, this is a tale which is heart-breaking and hilarious in equal measure; it takes the poetic and the mundane and blends them into Cottrell Boyce’s own particular brand of magical realism. Readers will find themselves more than happy to suspend their disbelief – adventures are but a gravity eddy away!

From the Horse’s mouth:

Watch Frank talking about the book on the CKG website where you can also hear him read an extract: http://www.carnegiegreenaway.org.uk/watch.php?id=14

FCBckg17