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: Saint Death by Marcus Sedgwick

With just 24 hours to go until the winners are announced, we continue our reviews of the CKG 2018 shortlisted titles. Here Emma shares her thoughts on Saint Death by Marcus Sedgwick:

What the publisher says…

A potent, powerful and timely thriller about migrants, drug lords and gang warfare set on the US/Mexican border by prize-winning novelist, Marcus Sedgwick.

https://www.hachettechildrens.co.uk/books/detail.page?isbn=9781444011258

Saint Death

 

What we say…

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, Arturo, are perfectly reflected in the structure of the story, in which short chapters are interspersed with newspaper cuttings, quotations and thoughts.

The setting is one of the main things that really stood out for me with this book. Sedgwick is uncompromising in throwing the reader straight into the harsh reality of Arturo’s world.

Just as the city of Juarez (which pulses off the page) has an unceasing hold over Arturo, this book had a hold over me – I read it in a day and continued thinking about it long afterwards. This is a really immersive novel that highlights some big issues around immigration, inequality and hope / desolation; and definitely meets the criteria of “having gone through a vicarious, but at the time of reading, a real experience that is retained afterwards.”

Emma

See Marcus Sedgwick talk about Saint Death here: http://www.carnegiegreenaway.org.uk/watch.php?id=7

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: Under the Same Sky by Britta Teckentrup

With the latest in our series of CKG reviews, here’s Lorna’s take on Under the Same Sky by Britta Teckentrup, which has been shortlisted for the Greenaway Medal.

What the publisher says…

Written and illustrated by the award-winning Britta Teckentrup, this beautiful and heart-warming peek-through picture book celebrates the closeness of the world’s communities through their shared hopes and dreams

http://littletiger.co.uk/under-the-same-sky-2?filter_name=under the same sky&filter_description=0

under the Same Sky

What we say…

Britta Teckentrup has done it again, a beautifully illustrated book with a heart-warming and poignant message.

The book takes us on a journey round the world, looking at different animals from across the globe. From the African Savannah to the Arctic Circle, from mountains to forests and seas to sky. Throughout the book the clever cut outs and glimpses to the next page remind us that no matter where we are in the world, we all share the same moon, sky and stars.

This is a lovely sensitive book for very young children and a great way of starting those conversations about tolerance and acceptance; by demonstrating that no matter where we live or what we look like we all ‘dream the same dreams and we dream them together’.

Britta’s books always bring a happy tear to my eye and this one does not disappoint.

Lorna

See Britta Teckentrup talking about Under the Same Sky on the CKG shadowing website: http://www.carnegiegreenaway.org.uk/watch.php?id=9

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

A Child of Books

Oliver Jeffers and Sam Winston's 'A Child of Books'

Oliver Jeffers and Sam Winston’s ‘A Child of Books’.

 

Numerous picture books have tried to capture the fizz and sparkle with which words and pictures create and bring to life whole worlds, increasing the understanding and providing context for the life experiences that readers have.  Paradoxically these often feel a little flat, perhaps because the set of process that are set into motion are so personal and complex that it is difficult to do them adequate justice…

dsc_0171

Our journeys through the landscape of literature can be so powerful and personal that it is difficult to capture in words or illustrations.

Oliver Jeffers and Sam Winston’s A Child of Books is a tour de force and one that deserves a place on the bookshelves of every bibliophile throughout the land.  Taking as its central premise the idea of a child created from books – from the stories, invention, ideas and imagination that surround her – it provides a treatise on the way that books provide immersion, guidance and endless illumination throughout our lives.

A tour de force.

A tour de force, hyper-textual reference and typographic effects build a rich landscape that brilliantly showcases the way literature helps to shape our world and yet through its spare nature and muted palettes it skilfully avoids sentiment.

One of the major achievements of the book is the way that its story not only figuratively carries readers through this process, but also the means through which its method of illustration – it’s clever hyper-textual references and typographic effects, extracts from Heidi, Treasure Island, Robinson Cruesoe and many, many form the building blocks of oceans, mountains and clouds – literally form the embodiment of that.  Where Jeffers and Winston’s art succeeds so well is in its understated quality, the spare nature of both the text of its narration and illustration.  There are no weighted sentiments here, but instead, a range of poignant staccato statements and indelible images that readers are able to readily identify with and that make a lasting imprint and impression.

A sea of words

There is an understated quality with staccato statements and indelible images, there is a brilliant sense of control in the use of colour and movement.

 

With the loving attention to detail and lavish production values, A Child of Books feels the perfect title to recommend on International Literacy Day and an ideal way to help share positive associations with books, stories and reading and one that might just form a portal to a good many other powerful and poignant stories and reads.

This is our world we’re made from stories…

Lavish production details and loving attention to detail

Lavish production details and loving attention to detail permeate the whole craft and design of the book as shown by the gilt foiled lettering and embossed images.


Jake Hope is a Reading Development and Children’s Book Consultant.  He has worked as the Reading and Learning Development Manager for Lancashire Libraries, one of the largest authorities in the United Kingdom.  Jake is an active member of the Youth Libraries Group both on the North West and National Committees.  He is an avid reader and commentator on reading and books for children and young people.
Twitter: @jake_hope