On Monday morning, we made our way to Long Stratton High School for our annual CKG award celebration. Pupils from two other schools – Litcham School and Wymondham High Academy – joined us for an exciting morning of book discussion, everyone sharing their opinions of the shortlisted titles they had managed to read and what they felt were the most worthy winners. Views and responses were varied and as always it was interesting to see what the groups picked as their winning choices in our (unofficial!) mini-vote in advance of the national announcement that afternoon. Their Carnegie choice was ‘More Than This’ by Patrick Ness and for the Kate Greenaway, they picked Shaun Tan’s ‘Rules of Summer’. Both of these won with a huge majority, 16 and 18 votes respectively, and all of the results from our day can be found below:
- ‘More Than This’ by Patrick Ness: 16 votes
- ‘Buffalo Soldier’ by Tanya Landman: 6 votes
- ‘Apple and Rain’ by Sarah Crossan: 3 votes
- ‘Cuckoo Song’ by Frances Hardinge: 3 votes
- ‘The Middle of Nowhere’ by Geraldine McCaughrean: 2 votes
- ‘The Fastest Boy in the World’ by Elizabeth Laird: 1 vote
- ‘When Mr Dog Bites’ by Brian Conaghan: 0 votes
- ‘Tinder’ by Sally Gardner: 0 votes
Kate Greenaway Medal
- ‘Rules of Summer’ by Shaun Tan: 18 votes
- ‘Jim’s Lion’ by Russell Hoban, illustrated by Alexis Deacon: 4 votes
- ‘Dark Satanic Mills’ by Marcus and Julian Sedgwick, illustrated by John Higgins and Marc Olivient: 4 votes
- ‘The Promise’ by Nicola Davies, illustrated by Laura Carlin: 2 votes
- ‘Smelly Louie’ by Catherine Rayner: 2 votes
- ‘Shackleton’s Journey’ by William Grill: 1 vote
- ‘Tinder’ by Sally Gardner, illustrated by David Roberts: 0 votes
- ‘Goth Girl and the Ghost of a Mouse’ by Chris Riddell: 0 votes
If you were following the award announcements, you’ll know that the books to actually receive the national prizes this year were Tanya Landman’s powerful ‘Buffalo Soldier’, set during the American Civil War, and William Grill’s ‘Shackleton’s Journey’, a wonderful account of the explorer’s voyage and book that has been well-loved in our office. The Guardian’s Children’s book site has some great CKG coverage, including a great interview with Tanya Landman and a gallery showcasing William Grill’s award-winning illustrations!
Many of the pupils who attended our event spoke of how much they enjoyed making their way through the shortlisted titles, primarily because they encountered authors they’d not come across before, genres they wouldn’t ordinarily read and even (in the case of ‘Buffalo Soldier’) real-life events they knew very little about. Though several of the books on this year’s lists do embrace very serious themes, it was noted that the titles all seemed “less dark” than last year which many of them saw as a positive thing. Another area of discussion- which seemed particularly interesting given the recent appointment of the amazing Chris Riddell as Children’s Laureate for the next two years- focused on the relationship between text and image and how one can often enhance or be reliant upon the other, for example in Sally Gardner’s ‘Tinder’, David Roberts’ illustrations heightening the unsettling, supernatural feeling of the story. We also discussed the inclusion of a graphic novel (‘Dark Satanic Mills’), a format unfamiliar to many, and compared the use of illustration in this with the use of illustration in the more traditional picture books.
As always we came away feeling really impressed by what we’d heard from the pupils who’d joined us for the morning and their excitement when watching the live-stream of the announcement was great to see! Less controversial than last year but equally as enjoyable, we’re already looking toward 2016’s awards, theorising whether any of the great books we’ve encountered recently are worthy of next year’s prize!
For more shadowing updates, from schools around the country (over 10,000 children participated!), why not take a look at the CILIP CKG Shadowing site here? You can also read a few reviews below, sent to us by pupils at Litcham High!
Tinder by Sally Gardner, review by Katie (Y7)
I guess l’ll begin with my opinion of Tinder; I thought that Tinder is a great book with many brilliant illustrations and the story line was pretty good as well. I didn’t really have a favourite part of the book, but if I did have to choose, it would be about the part where he couldn’t get rid of the Tinderbox. The only let down for me wasn’t that bad to be honest, and that tiny let down was when I found that the end was spoilt slightly. It was predictable although it was still a good book.
I think it did the story of the Tinderbox justice, I mean yes, it wasn’t an original storyline but it was lengthened and illustrated. I enjoyed the way it was written, with all the pictures splitting it up making it an easier read for me. It was captivating and I couldn’t put it down.
The illustrations were Kate Greenaway Award good. They had a cartoonish detail to them. The story didn’t need them, but it strengthened the descriptions of the characters mainly, also adding an atmosphere that’s hard to describe to the book.
I personally think that this is a really good book – definitely in my top 5 books from this year’s Carnegie short list and definitely one of my Greenaway nominees.
I would recommend Tinder to anyone who is into fantasy and rewrites of old stories. Also to anyone who likes a good story with lots of illustrations.
Apple and Rain by Sarah Crossan, review by Kyra (Y7)
I’m reviewing Apple and Rain by Sarah Crossan. This is one of my favourite shortlisted books and the book for me that had the biggest difference in what I thought it would be like at the beginning, and what it was like when I had read it.
When I first saw the cover and read the blurb of the book I thought “Oh great! One of those books that is a soppy, lovey family story, that I really dislike”. But I was wrong, so wrong in the best way possible. It was a family story – but I loved this one!
My favourite part was the way the author used Apple’s poems to break up the story. I like them because they really showed her emotions for being lumped with a younger sister, when she expected quality time with her mum. I can relate to this really well, as I am also often lumped with my younger brother and sister. The poems were written in a beautiful, easy to understand way, making it the perfect way to pause the story for a second.
I also like the fact that all of the characters were lifelike and unique. I also believe, in my opinion, that they weren’t the usual ‘family style book’ characters.
This book has been brilliantly written for the target audience of 11 plus, including lots of descriptive writing and the right balance of narrative and dialogue.
Overall I gave this book huge 93 out of 100. A brilliant read I would recommend it to anyone!
Shackleton’s Journey by William Grill, review by Felix (sent by his sister, Amelia!)
Shackleton’s Journey is one of the best books I have ever read. With beautiful drawings and interesting text, this book portrays the advantages and hardships of Shacklton’s Journey.
Goth Girl by Chris Riddell, review by Esme (sent by her sister, Amelia!)
I really liked Goth Girl because it is so exciting and is telling you about how you should always to be nice to people and always remember that some places are upsetting to people like Lord Goth. It was so fun and I felt like I was in it. I really liked it a lot because I like Ada a lot.