This week, on a very, very hot Monday morning, we made our way to Dereham for our annual CILIP CKG shadowing celebration, this year hosted by Ms Ling from Northgate High School. SIX schools came together to share their thoughts on the books shortlisted for both the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals; Wymondham High, Litcham School, Caister High, Neatherd High, Long Stratton High, and of course, Northgate- the most pupils we’ve ever had!
Though the books for the awards are chosen and judged nationally by librarians, there are shadowing groups in schools all over the country whose responses and thoughts are caught wonderfully on the shadowing website- including lots from Norfolk!
As always, the format for our morning remained the same: pupils were mixed into groups, were put to the test with an icebreaking CKG-themed quiz, then discussed each of the shortlisted titles for both the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Awards. After a break, some biscuits, a brief trip outside to enjoy the sun and some brilliant reviews from a few pupils, our morning came to a close with our own mini-vote to decide who our shadowing groups picked as their winning books. The results were: Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys and Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by JK Rowling, illustrated by Jim Kay. But how would their selections fair against the real results?
We had to wait until we arrived back to our office to find out, but we were pleased to discover that our groups had been spot-on with their Carnegie pick; Ruta Sepetys did indeed win for her brilliant book, Salt to the Sea, which is set in WW2 and tells the heartbreaking tale of the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff. Though the deadliest maritime disaster in history, the majority of our CKG shadowers were unaware of the tragic events and cited this as one of the reasons they enjoyed reading Sepetys’ book- because it drew attention to a piece of history about which they knew very little. There’s a brilliant video of Ruta talking about her book on the CKG website here. Onto the Greenaway and our group sadly didn’t predict the outcome- the prize went to Lane Smith for his picturebook, There is a Tribe of Kids which looks at loneliness and belonging. You can read an official press release about the winners just here which also mentions the Amnesty CILIP Honours, now in their second year, awarded to Francesca Sanna’s The Journey and The Bone Sparrow, by Zana Fraillon. Both titles senstively address the global refugee crisis and were commended for doing so.
Our shadowing morning is always something we look forward to and this year we were not disappointed by the quality of discussion; all those who attended really knew their stuff and had lots of interesting points about the books they’d been reading. Same time next year, everyone?
Now: our Friday Reads!
Harriet: Totally Amazing Facts About Stuff We’ve Built by Cari Meister
I’m an architecture fan, but many of the buildings and bridges which feature in this bright and breezy little book were unknown to me. For example: a building made in the shape of a grand piano?? There really is one, in China. There are older buildings such as the beautiful underground churches of Lalibela in Ethiopia – and our own Globe Theatre, which mentions that the thatched roof was made from 800 bundles of sedge – but doesn’t say these came from Norfolk! This is a fun browser.
(Raintree, £11.99 hardback, ISBN 9781474737418)
Zoë: The Mystery of Wickworth Manor by Elen Caldecott
This is an enjoyable mystery which begins at Wickworth Manor where lots of Y6 pupils are staying for a school trip before starting secondary school.
Paige and Curtis are paired up for the activities – reluctantly as they both have strong opinions about each other. Paige has a mother who is influenced by the supernatural – tarot cards, séances and divining – so she is susceptible to atmosphere. Curtis feels he has let his down by failing his scholarship exams but won’t reveal this because he is embarrassed.
When Curtis finds a hidden portrait, they wonder if it’s anything to do with story they have heard –The Wicklow Boy – a slave whose ghost is rumoured to walk the corridors of the manor. Despite their differences, the children become reliant on each other to solve the mystery of the portrait. This is suitable for independent readers or as a class read.
(Bloomsbury, £5.99 paperback, ISBN 9781408820483)