Posts Tagged ‘Carnegie And Greenaway Awards’

Carnegie and Greenaway Awards: Puffin Peter

Petr Horacek

Peter and Paul are the best of friends, but when Peter gets lost in a terrible storm he can’t find Paul anywhere. With the help of a big blue whale Puffin Peter set off to find him. They find all kinds of birds that match Peter’s description but none of them is quite like Paul.

This is a heart warming story of two puffins called Peter and Paul who are separated by a terrible storm. Peter finds a big blue whale who wants to help, so Peter describes Paul to him, but he just can’t quite seem to get the description right and they find lots of birds but none of them are Paul. Just as Peter is about to give up he spies an island and on it is his friend. So the big blue whale wants to know why didn’t Peter tell him that Paul was a Puffin?

The pictures in this book are really colourful with lots of detail that really adds to the story. This makes it easy to discuss the story with little one’s when you are reading to them. The theme of friendship is strong throughout as Peter travels the seas in search of his friend. He describes his friend in detail to the big blue whale but they still aren’t successful in finding him, the issue could however have been solved by saying that Paul was a puffin in the first place. This is an effective way of showing a preschooler that sometimes it’s the simplest way of explaining things that count.

Verdict: This isn’t my favourite of the Greenaway books but I’ll still be borrowing this when shadowing is finished to read to my preschooler.

Reviewed by Alison

Publisher: Walker
Publication Date: July 2011
Format: Paperback
Pages: 40
Genre: Picture Book
Age: Picture Book
Reviewer: Alison
Source: Borrowed
Challenge: None
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Carnegie and Greenaway Awards: Everybody Jam

Ali Lewis

Danny Dawson lives in the middle of the Australian outback. His older brother Jonny was killed in an accident last year but no-one ever talks about it.
And now it’s time for the annual muster. The biggest event of the year on the cattle station, and a time to sort the men from the boys. But this year things will be different: because Jonny’s gone and Danny’s determined to prove he can fill his brother’s shoes; because their fourteen-year-old sister is pregnant; because it’s getting hotter and hotter and the rains won’t come; because cracks are beginning to show . . .

When Danny’s mum admits she can’t cope, the family hires a housegirl to help out – a wide-eyed English backpacker. She doesn’t have a clue what she’s let herself in for. And neither do they.

Danny is thirteen and still trying to cope after the death of his older brother last year. He has an older sister Sissy who is pregnant at fourteen. Its summer in Australia and the rains aren’t coming. The annual muster at the cattle station at which Danny lives is about to happen and Danny is determined to show his Dad that he is growing up and that he can live up to the shadow of Jonny, his older brother. Amongst all of this enters an English housegirl, she hasn’t got a clue how an Australian cattle ranch his run. But maybe she is what Danny needs to help both him and his family heal.

I really struggled to get into this book. It took me over a week to get to page 50 which is most unlike me. In fact had it not been on the Carnegie shortlist I probably would have given up. I am however glad I didn’t, although slow to start Everybody Jam turned into a poignant coming of age tale that grew and grew on me. I found the language hard to start with, Ali Lewis seems determined to get as much Australian slang in there as possible, you won’t forget where the book is set, but after a while this ceased to matter.

Danny is a very strong protagonist and a typical young boy. Lewis has captured the confused nature of his emotions incredibly well and whilst he isn’t always likeable, he is an incredibly real character. Everything is told from his point of view, so the story comes out in stages, I think this did contribute to the slow start but was effective by the end. In spite of this supporting characters are also drawn very well. Lewis uses the drought at the ranch to show the state of Danny’s family. As the cracks show in the earth, so they do in the household. It is only when the family starts to heal that the rain comes too.

It won’t be my favourite off the list, I’ve already read better. But Everybody Jam is worth getting through a slow start.

Verdict: Slow to start but the effort is worth it. A moving, poignant tale of a boy coming of age and family relationships.

Reviewed by Alison

Publisher: Andersen
Publication Date: March 2011
Format: Paperback
Pages: 336
Genre: Coming of age
Age: Middle Grade
Reviewer: Alison
Source: Borrowed
Challenge: Debut Author
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Carnegie and Greenaway Awards: There Are No Cats in this Book

Viviane Schwarz

Our furry friends from There Are Cats in This Book – Tiny, Moonpie and André – have returned, and this time they are filled with the spirit of adventure – they are off to see the world! They have their suitcases packed and are ready to set off – but they can’t seem to get out of the book. They try pushing their way out, and jumping their way out but nothing works. Finally they decide to WISH themselves out and they are going to need your help!

I absolutely adore this book; in fact I think it may well end up being my favourite of all the Greenaway books this year. This follows on from ‘There Are Cats in This Book’ which was on the shortlist for the Greenaway Award last year. The title is of course misleading to a degree as there are cats in this book. This time however the cats want to escape and see the world and they need your help.

The pictures in this book are great, simple but tell a story all on their own. There is a very basic storyline, but what is the most important is the way that it is told. The cats in this book talk directly to the reader, something that is bound to appeal to little ones, but again a class full of 11 year old loved it too. In fact when the cats ask them to close their eyes and make a wish they did just that with no cajoling from me! It involves the reader in the story so that they can feel as though they have contributed to how it turns out. It has pop ups and postcards which also will appeal to pre-schoolers.

Verdict: A really lovely simple book that makes the reader feel as though they are part of the story.

Reviewed by Alison

Publisher: Walker
Publication Date: June 2011
Format: Paperback
Pages: 32
Genre: Picture book
Age:Picture books
Reviewer: Alison
Source: Borrowed
Challenge: None
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Carnegie and Greenaway Awards: Between Shades Of Gray


Ruta Sepetys

One night fifteen-year-old Lina, her mother and young brother are hauled from their home by Soviet guards, thrown into cattle cars and sent away. They are being deported to Siberia.
An unimaginable and harrowing journey has begun. Lina doesn’t know if she’ll ever see her father or her friends again. But she refuses to give up hope.
Lina hopes for her family. For her country. For her future. For love – first love, with the boy she barely knows but knows she does not want to lose…Will hope keep Lina alive?

Lina lives a happy life in Lithuania, the daughter of a university professor she enjoys life as any teenager her age would at that time. But now Stalin has annexed Lithuania and all people who pose any kind of threat to his regime must be dealt with. Lina, her brother and Mother are woken one night by Soviet Guards, put into cattle cars on a train as their lives as they knew them will never be the same again.

This is a beautifully written story and I defy anyone not too need tissues at the ready by the end. The subject matter is bleak, undeniably, but there is such strength and hope held within the book too. Although the conditions within the work camps in Siberia are horrific and described as such, the focus within the book is on how people will band together and help each other, even when they have very little themselves. A book such as this could have quite easily focused on the darker side of human nature, yet here you are even left feeling some level of sympathy for one of the guards in the camp. The quality of the writing really brings the story alive and it is very obvious that a huge amount of research was done in writing the book, as it feels very real.

Lina is a really strong central character. She is very real and hasn’t been romanticised in any way. She is far from perfect and doesn’t always do the right thing. This only serves to make her more believable.

The only aspect that I found slightly disappointing was the ending. The theme of hope is carried through right to the end and the ending does give the reader hope that there is life at the end of the tunnel for these characters. I don’t feel that the epilogue was needed though. Those two pages on their own raised questions that I wanted answering, questions I wouldn’t have had had it not been included. I don’t know if there are plans for a second book, if there are it could explain the epilogues inclusion.

Verdict: Haunting and beautifully written. A bleak book that at the same time highlights the better side of human nature.

Reviewed by Alison

Publisher: Puffin
Publication Date: April 2011
Format: Paperback
Pages: 352
Genre: Historical fiction
Age: YA
Reviewer: Alison
Source: Borrowed
Challenge: None
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Carnegie and Greenaway Awards: Solomon Crocodile

Catherine Raynor

Poor Solomon is looking for some fun but no one wants to play. The dragonflies tell him to buzz off, the storks get in a flap, and the hippo? Well, the less said about the hippo, the better! But then somebody else starts causing trouble . . . and for once it is NOT Solomon. Could it be the perfect pal for a lonely crocodile?

Solomon wants to play, but instead he ends up annoying the other animals. Solomon is sad. But then he starts to hear the other animals shouting, and this time it isn’t at him. Has Solomon found the perfect friend? And what will the other animals think of that?

This is a truly lovely picture book; the pictures are very simple but tell the story so well. The story is also very simple, told in very short sentences. This makes it perfect for very young children, yet I had a class full of 12 year olds entranced when this was read to them. The fact that Solomon causes trouble and doesn’t make any apologies for it is very appealing to children of all ages. This doesn’t have a moral message in the same way that some books aimed at children do, but it doesn’t suffer for that and in some ways this approach is quite refreshing.

Verdict: Simple and attractive kids of all ages will love it.

Reviewed by Alison

Publisher: MacMillan children’s Books
Publication Date: March 2012
Format: Paperback
Pages: 32
Genre: Picture book
Age: Early Readers
Reviewer: Alison
Source: Borrowed
Challenge: none
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Carnegie and Greenaway Awards: Trash

Andy Mulligan
Raphael is a dumpsite boy. He spends his days wading through mountains of steaming trash, sifting it, sorting it, breathing it, sleeping next to it.
Then one unlucky-lucky day, Raphael’s world turns upside down. A small leather bag falls into his hands. It’s a bag of clues. It’s a bag of hope. It’s a bag that will change everything.
Soon Raphael and his friends Gardo and Rat are running for their lives. Wanted by the police, it takes all their quick-thinking and fast-talking to stay ahead. As the net tightens, they uncover a dead man’s mission to put right a terrible wrong.
And now it’s three street boys against the world…

One day, whilst he is out sorting through the dumpsite just like he does on any other day, Raphael discovers a bag. The bag contains a wallet with 1100 pesos and some pictures in and a key. It is a discovery that will change the life of Raphael, and that of his friends Gardo and Rat forever.

This book was removed from the Blue Peter Book Award shortlist last year for being too violent and containing a swear word. This hasn’t put the judges on the Carnegie panel off as it finds itself on the shortlist for that award this year. I wasn’t really expecting to enjoy this book. I had heard very good things about it but it just didn’t seem like the kind of book that I normally would want to pick up, but then that’s part of the beauty of the Carnegie Award, the chance to discover books you normally wouldn’t read. But I did enjoy this book. It tells of a world so totally different to the one we inhabit that I couldn’t resist finding out more. I was drawn into the world of these three dumpsite boys who had so little in a material sense, but were happy none the less. Although the general premise of the story is betrayal and corruption I actually found the story quite heart warming. The ending however is quite simplistic and not all that believable, but this is a story designed for children not adults so that shouldn’t matter as much.

The story is told from a multitude of first person point of views, people recounting their part of the story afterwards in order to form a book. This is actually very effective as you don’t just get the story of the three dumpsite boys, but that of the people who helped them. It also contributes to the fast paced feeling of the book. It’s one of those books where you suddenly find that you are halfway through but don’t really feel as though you have read that much yet. There is almost continuous action with very little downtime, but this is handled well and you, as a reader don’t feel over faced. I don’t think this will be my winner, though as this is the first that I’ve read that may change, whilst it is very enjoyable it didn’t have the wow feeling for me.

Verdict: Fast paced and filled with tension yet at the same time has that feel good factor. A very enjoyable way to while away a couple of hours.

Reviewed by Alison

Publisher: David Fickling Books
Publication Date: March 2011
Format: Paperback
Pages: 224
Genre: Mystery
Age: YA
Reviewer: Alison
Source: Borrowed
Challenge: British Book
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Carnegie and Greenaway Awards: A Monster Calls



Patrick Ness and Jim Kay (Illustrator) based on an idea by Siobhan Dowd


At seven minutes past midnight, thirteen-year-old Conor wakes to find a monster outside his bedroom window. But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting — he’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the nightmare he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments.
The monster in his backyard is different. It’s ancient. And wild. And it wants something from Conor. Something terrible and dangerous. It wants the truth.
From the final idea of award-winning author Siobhan Dowd — whose premature death from cancer prevented her from writing it herself — Patrick Ness has spun a haunting and darkly funny novel of mischief, loss, and monsters both real and imagined

As some of you may have seen in a previous post, Caroline and I went to a Patrick Ness/Jim Kay talk. Prior to this event, I didn’t really know who Patrick Ness was (I know! I promise to flagellate myself later for such ignorance) and what with it being only February, I was still feeling skint so promised myself that I was not going to buy, ‘A Monster Calls’ at the signing. Well, that lasted almost as long as my decision to give up chocolate during lent! I just couldn’t help it. The moment I clapped eyes on the black and white foreboding cover and then to caress the pages to be rewarded with such beautiful artwork, I just had to have it!

Thankfully, the story does the artwork justice. The premise is simple, a young boy struggles to cope as his mother battles terminal cancer. As he is becoming increasingly isolated and frustrated, he suddenly gets a visit from a monster who insists on telling Conor three stories, each with an unexpected thought provoking twist and in return, Conor must tell him one that’s the truth.

Whilst Conor is dealing with all this and his father’s pathetic attempts of being supportive, putting up with his not so stereotypical grandmother and being bullied by what can only be described as a sociopath in the making at school, you can’t help but hope that everything will turn out okay for him. Conor isn’t a saint though, there are a few times you’ll be shaking your head over his actions but this only makes him and the story more real – which is surprising really, when the most interesting and influential character in the story is a talking tree…

Verdict: This is a book, even in it’s Paperback form that will be treasured for it’s outer beauty and for the heart wrenching story within

Reviewed by Karen

Publisher: Walker
Publication Date: February 2012
Format: Paperback
Pages: 216
Genre: Fantasy
Age: Middle grade
Reviewer: Karen
Source: Own Copy
Challenge: British Book
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Carnegie and Greenaway Awards

Across the country children and school librarians are waited with bated breath.  Tuesday the 27th of March marks the day of the release of the shortlists for the annual Carnegie and Greenaway Awards.  These awards are among the top awards for children’s literature in the country and thousands of students will begin to ‘shadow’ the awards when the shortlists are announced.

As a school librarian this is always an exciting time for me.  The awards help to start a real reading buzz around the school and help to get the students reading books they otherwise would not have picked up.  The sense of achievement they feel at reading a number of books within a time frame is massive.  And then there are always the discussions in which they disagree with the judge’s chosen winner….

Over the next 8 weeks we’ll be looking at the shortlists of both awards.  The winners will be announced on 14th June.

The Carnegie Award recognises authors who write books for children.  The intended age range can be anything from 7 to 14.  The winners are chosen by a panel of children’s librarians.  Winners in the recent past include Patrick Ness and Neil Gaiman.  This year’s shortlist includes
My Name is Mina- David Almond
Small Change for Stuart- Lissa Evans
The Midnight Zoo-Sonya Hartnett
Everybody Jam- Ali Lewis
Trash- Andy Mulligan
A Monster Calls- Patrick Ness
My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece- Annabel Pitcher
Between Shades of Grey- Rita Sepetys

The Greenaway Award recognises the illustrator of picture books.  It looks at how pictures tell stories and what they can add to the words.  As such it’s the illustrator that receives the award rather than the author.  This year’s shortlist includes

Wolf Won’t Bite- Emily Gravett
Puffin Peter- Petr Horacek
A Monster Calls- Jim Kay (illustrator), Patrick Ness
Slog’s Dad- Dave Mckean (illustrator), David Almond
Solomon Crocodile- Catherine Rayner
The Gift- Rob Ryan (illustrator), Carol Ann Duffy
There Are No Cats in this Book- Viviane Schwarz
Can We Save the Tiger- Vicky White (illustrator), Martin Jenkins

Check back to see what we think of the books and see who we think should win!

Post by Alison

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