Tuesday, 27 March 2012

The Official CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Awards shortlists!

The wait is over and today we know what the judges have chosen as their shortlists from the 100-odd books nominated across the two awards.  Remember, the only nomination criteria were that it had to be written for children or teenagers and have been published in the UK between 1st September 2010 (seems a long time ago!) and 31st August 2011 (without having been published more than 3months earlier in another country).

The titles they chose for Carnegie, meaning they think they are “outstanding literature for children and young people” are:

The Midnight Zoo by Sonia Hartnett
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness
Between Shades of Grey by Ruta Septys
Small Change for Stuart by Lissa Evans
Everybody Jam by Ali Lewis
My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece by Annabel Pitcher
My Name is Mina by David Almond
Trash by Andy Mulligan

Eight titles this year so I could have chosen two more for my short list!  As you will remember from my previous posts relating to the Carnegie, I loved four of these, with two making it onto my short list.  I posted in NovemberFebruary and earlier this month.  I didn’t like the other four, though I can understand why people did, but I am surprised that the judges thought they were better than any of the other titles on the list!

A nice variety, they’re all very readable and not too worthy or difficult for your average school child to read, probably the most accessible short list there has been for a long while and I think less for your average School Librarian to criticize.  There are always complaints about the Carnegie short list being full of books that are too difficult but all of these titles are age appropriate for KS3 reading groups.

My prediction for the final winner:
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

I read a proof copy before it was published and at the next YLG London meeting said there’s no point reading any more books because this is the next Carnegie winner!  It is such a beautiful, sad story.  Second choice would be The Midnight Zoo.

The short list for the Greenaway Award for outstanding illustration is:

A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, illustrated by Jim Kay
Wolf Won’t Bite by Emily Gravett
Puffin Peter by Petr Horacek
Slog’s Dad by David Almond, illustrated by David McKean
Solomon Crocodile by Catherine Rayner
The Gift by Carol Anne Duffy, illustrated by Rob Ryan
There are no Cats in this Book by Viviane Schwarz
Can we save the Tiger? By Martin Jenkins, illustrated by Vicky White

I’ll be shadowing the Greenaway with a group of Year 7s at school so I’ll let you know what we think!

Thursday, 22 March 2012

My personal Carnegie shortlist

I have finally got to the end of the 52-book long long-list for this year's Carnegie!  I shall tell you which I think should be the final 6, and which I think might actually be on the short list, but first a brief look at the ones I've read since my last related post.  Again, red means I liked it and green means it didn't live up to expectations :-)
Deary, Terry Put Out The Light
Diterlizzi, Tony The Search for Wondla
Doherty, Berlie Treason
Halahmy, Miriam Hidden
LaFleur, Suzanne Eight Keys
Mason, Simon Moon Pie
McCaughrean, Geraldine Pull out all the Stops
McKay, Hilary Caddy's World
Mitchelhill, Barbara Run Rabbit Run
Morpurgo, Michael Shadow
Priestley, Chris The Dead of Winter
Revis, Beth Across the Universe
Saunders, Kate Magicalamity
Stephens, John The Emerald Atlas
I'm afraid I don't have time to explain those opinions today, have a look at my twitter feed (@cazapr1) for my mini-reviews of them all.

Such a huge variety of books, some of which I would not have picked up if they weren't on the list and so some nice discoveries, as well as the occasional disappointment.  But without further ado, my personal short list is...

Blackman, Malorie Boys Don't Cry
Dogar, Sharon Annexed
Gibbons, Alan An Act of Love
Hardinge, Frances Twilight Robbery
Hartnett, Sonya The Midnight Zoo
Ness, Patrick A Monster Calls
with special mention for Earle, Phil Being Billy, Pitcher, Annabel My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece and Young,

Moira Blood Red Road.

I wouldn't be surprised to see Almond, David My Name is Mina, Peet, Mal Life : an Exploded Diagram, or Rosoff, Meg There is no Dog on the real list because, among a couple of the other names on the long list, they're high-hitting literary types even if I didn't enjoy the stories much.

Next week we'll find out whether I have good taste or not!

Thursday, 8 March 2012

World Book Day

I work in a secondary school so World Book Day is a little more low-key than I imagine it is in primary schools - I love the idea of dressing like book characters and doing book related things all day but I can't take pupils off timetable very often and without an excellent reason and I'm not sure that my cool teens would be prepared to dress up!  So I try to do something that doesn't take too much preparation, doesn't disturb teaching at all, and is good fun.  I tend to have a week of little things happening e.g. a pairs competition (find and match up the pairs around the library - different ones each day), or sevens (find seven words/names and tell me the link), quizzes, text tales (write a story in 140 characters)...this year was the simplest yet, but in some ways the most effective.  

I was allowed to take the year 7s off timetable to meet an author on the Monday, Sam Gayton, to talk about his book The Snow Merchant.  They really enjoyed listening to Sam read some of the story and got really involved when he discussed the process of illustrating his characters (the pictures in the book are lovely).  He also treated us to a sneak preview of his new book, a sequel to Gulliver's Travels!

Then a small challenge in the library: each break something new on the whiteboard for the kids to write their responses to:

I also had "worst book I've read" but most pupils put down books they've read in English - a good demonstration of why I didn't choose to do English beyond G.C.S.E. - so I didn't take a photo!  My final one, lunch break on Friday, was "my favourite book" but a teacher rubbed it off while I went to have my lunch before coming back with my camera :-(  We had a great time discussing their answers, I gave a raffle ticket to each pupil that put an answer, except to one of my favourite Year11s who insisted on putting 'OCR science revision guide' as his answer to every question, except for the 'best boyfriend' one for which he put himself :-)

I always like to do something that can get the whole school involved on the day itself.  In previous years I've asked for staff to volunteer to wear a badge so that the pupils have to find them and discover the links (e.g. character & their book, job and book title), created a form that the kids have to fill out during the day, and then had prizes for the completed entries handed in.  This year I made it as easy as was humanly possible - I put a sticky label in the pigeon holes of every member of staff on wednesday afternoon and sent them an email saying they need to write their favourite childhood book on it and wear it all day thursday.  On thursday morning I gave the kids that were in the library a form with 2 columns - staff name and book title - and told them to harrass any staff they saw without a label...word spread, lots more forms were collected from me throughout the day.   All except 2 teachers took part and some of them pupils had nearly 70 staff members written on their pages!  I gave raffle tickets out - the more answers the more tickets - and at the end of the day I had a queue of about 1/4 of the pupils in the school with pages of responses.  It took me 40minutes to get through them all and, including those for the whiteboard questions, I gave out over 800 raffle tickets!  All I had for prizes were small chocolates, some boxes of maltesers and half a dozen books, but still, they love winning anything...it doesn't have to cost a lot of money or take a huge amount of time to get everyone involved and recognising the Library