Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals 2015

Monday 22nd June was a fantastic day despite the really horrible weather.  The reason was the annual celebration of the best in Children’s Literature for the past year as shown in the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway awards.  You could say that I am somewhat biased as I had the great honour to chair the panel of judges in 2010 when Neil Gaiman won with “The Graveyard Book”

2015-06-22 11.28.49This year had proved a mammoth task for the judges with over 90 titles put forward for Carnegie and 70 books listed for the Greenaway.  this was then pruned down to a more manageable number for the long-list and then finally the shortlist.  The titles that made it through the process were by a wide range of new and also well known and loved authors and illustrators; the thing they had in common was the immense quality of the work they produced and they way that this spoke to the audiences.

The award ceremony was back at the British Library after a break of several years and I know that for many of us it felt like a spiritual homecoming.  The conference centre foyer was buzzing as people met up with friends and colleagues from libraries and publishing.  All of the shortlisted nominees were there and were pounced on by their fans from the shadowing schools that had been invited, as well as by their adult fans as well.  The ceremony itself was full of laughter, with Mel Giedroyc (from Great British bake Off) acting as the compere and proving what a funny person she is.  The announcements themselves were greeted by loud cheers (and perhaps some secret sorrow, if your own choice did not win) and we then returned to the foyer for drinks and canapes, although you had to be quick to actually get any food.  The winner of the Carnegie medal is the lovely and truly talented Tanya Landman  for “Buffalo Soldier”, whilst the Greenaway medal has been won by new talent William Grill for his book “Shackleton’s Journey.”

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Tanya Landman, with Agnes Guyon and Mel Giedroyc


It was an occasion to catch up with old friends as well as meet some new people.  It also made me think that I will have to catch up with those books I have not read yet, but most importantly it reminded me that nominations for this year will open in September and I need to start writing a list of titles that I think should be on the list.

Congratulations to everyone involved.

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Sally Gardner with Elizabeth Laird


Tim Bowler with Tricia Adams of the SLA

Tim Bowler with Tricia Adams of the SLA




Children’s Laureate

Last Tuesday, 9th June saw the announcement of who would follow in the footprints of the fantastic Malorie Blackman and become the new Children’s laureate.  I think it was fair to say that most people were ecstatic when we found it was going to be the truly amazing and multi-talented Chris Riddell. His acceptance speech set the tone for the next two years and it promises to be a time when children’s and school librarians will feel supported in the work they are doing.



Chris has been illustrator for many years as well as a very well respected political cartoonist.  His children’s work has covered from picture books such as the “Emperor of Absurdia”, through “Ottoline”, “Barnaby Grimes”, “Goth Girl” and the “Edge Chronicles”up to “Wyrmeweald”.  He has written and illustrated books by himself but he has also worked in collaboration with others such as Paul Stewart and Neil Gaiman.  Chris was in the vanguard of those illustrators fighting for the acceptance of illustrated books for those past the age of about 7 years and he is firmly behind the campaign to give illustrators equal recognition with their authors.


I have to say that my personal favourites are the Goth Girl series, which combine historical backgrounds with the absurdities that we all knew and loved Terry Pratchett for. I can’t wait for the “Goth Girl and the Wuthering Fright” which is due out later this year.  Other titles to look out for are “Doombringer: second book of Cade” (Edge Chronicles) with Paul Stewart, “The book of Demons” with Daniel Whelan and “Witchmyth” with Emma Fischel. Keep your eyes open for all things Laureate related.  Sites to follow are

Twitter  @chrisriddell50    #ChildrensLaureate




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Walker books at the Barbican

What an amazing  evening this turned out to be.  the conservatory at the Barbican was jam-packed with librarians and publishers as well as the megastars that are the authors and illustrators.  It was a night that I will remember as I saw people such as Shirley Hughes, Anthony Horowitz, Chris Riddell, Jez Alborough and the main speaker Patrick Ness.

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the purpose of the evening was to introduce us to the books that will be hitting the shop and library shelves in the autumn and I think it is going to be quite a fantastic offering.  There are several titles that are celebrating anniversaries in the next year and the publisher will be setting up activities and events to mark the occasions.  However there are also many new and exciting books, from picture books to top teens,  that will have the reviews and blogs buzzing about them.

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This looks as if it is going to be another bumper year for Walkers and I am looking forward to reading some of their offerings.