Summer 2010 brought forth whooping and punching of the air by an interesting variety of children's book award winners. The breadth and originality of the titles short listed for these major prizes seems to suggest that even though the economy might be in recession, publishers are still willing to take risks and bring out exciting writing for young readers.
Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Winners for 2010
The CILIP Carnegie Medal for 2010 was announced on 24th June and went to Neil Gaiman for The Graveyard Book. He has already been awarded the Newbury Medal, in America, for this remarkable text. His delight at winning this ultimate children's book award was apparent. 'For my seventh birthday I was given a boxed set of the Narnia Books by CS Lewis. The last of them, The Last Battle had the words "Winner of the Carnegie Medal" on it. I did not know what the Carnegie Medal was, but I knew it was something important.
It was the first literary award I had ever heard of. And if the Narnia books had won it, then it had to be the most important literary award there ever was. Somewhere deep inside me, but not too deep, a seven-year-old version of me is amazed and delighted that he's written a book that was given the most important literary award there ever was. And nothing you can say about Bookers or Nobels or Pulitzers will convince him otherwise.'
The Graveyard Book is reviewed by a teenaged reader (and self confessed Neil Gaiman fan), further on in this edition of BookBox. Gaiman's opposition on the shortlist included:
Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson, Bloomsbury
The Vanishing of Katarina Linden by Helen Grant, Penguin
Roan the Strange by Julie Hearn, Oxford University Press
The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness, Walker
Nation by Terry Pratchett, Doubleday
Fever Crumb by Philip Reeve, Scholastic
Revolver by Marcus Sedgwick, Orion
The Kate Greenaway prize for illustrated books was won by Harry and Hopper by Freya Blackwood, published by Scholastic.
Lancashire Children's Book Awards
This year's recipient of the Lancashire Book of the Year 2010 was Narinder Dhami for her thriller, Bang, Bang, You're Dead published by Random House.
The competition involved over 275 schools reading and reviewing some 2,400 books.
The Chair of the judging panel was Adele Geras but this is very much a competition '... judged by young people for young people', as their publicity declares. Next year should see the 25th awarding of this excellent prize. Long may it continue.
Frances Lincoln Diverse Voices Children's Book Award 2010
I may be biased but I'm always pleased when teachers win children's book awards. It seems fitting that those who work closely with young learners, who hear their stories and concerns, should draw on this experience when they come to write.
Tom Avery is a teacher who works in a culturally diverse inner city comprehensive school. His tense, fast paced novel Too Much Trouble won this year's Frances Lincoln Diverse Voices Children's Book Award. His entry was described by the judges as being, '... an Oliver Twist of our times'.
It concerns Emmanuel and Prince, two brothers who fall in with a gang of pickpockets when their family abandons them. The novel explores issues such as illegal immigration, what makes a family, and the ethical dilemmas surrounding crimes committed for survival.
Accepting his award at a ceremony on 8th June 2010 at Seven Stories, the National Centre for Children's Books, the author commented,
'I wrote Too Much Trouble when I heard the story of a boy and his sisters who had been sent to live in England without their parents. I couldn't stop thinking about what that responsibility must be like. …