The CILIP Carnegie Medal & Kate Greenaway Medal Shortlists 2021

This week see’s the exciting announcements of the shortlists for both of these prestigious awards.

The CILIP Carnegie Medal is awarded annually to a children’s book author whose writing creates an outstanding reading experience. It was established in 1936 in memory of the Scottish-born philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919).

The Kate Greenaway Medal, established in 1955, is named after the popular nineteenth century artist, known for her beautiful children’s illustrations and designs. The Kate Greenaway Medal is awarded annually to a children’s book illustrator whose artwork creates an outstanding reading experience.

The Carnegie Medal Shortlist 2021

Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo 
In a novel-in-verse that brims with grief and love, National Book Award-winning and New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Acevedo writes about the devastation of loss, the difficulty of forgiveness, and the bittersweet bonds that shape our lives.
Camino Rios lives for the summers when her father visits her in the Dominican Republic. But this time, on the day when his plane is supposed to land, Camino arrives at the airport to see crowds of crying people…
In New York City, Yahaira Rios is called to the principal’s office, where her mother is waiting to tell her that her father, her hero, has died in a plane crash.
Separated by distance – and Papi’s secrets – the two girls are forced to face a new reality in which their father is dead and their lives are forever altered.
And then, when it seems like they’ve lost everything of their father, they learn of each other.

The Girl Who Speaks Bear by Sophie Anderson, illustrated by Kathrin Honesta
Found abandoned in a bear cave as a baby, 12 year old Yanka has always felt out of place in her small village. When she wakes up to find that her legs have become bear legs, she sets off into the forest to discover who she is, on a journey that takes her from icy rivers to smouldering mountains, with an ever-growing group of misfits alongside her… Interwoven with traditional stories of bears, princesses and dragons, Yanka’s journey is a gorgeously lyrical adventure from the best-selling author of The House With Chicken Legs

The Girl Who Became A Tree by Joseph Coelho, illustrated by Kate Milner
Daphne is unbearably sad and adrift. She feels the painful loss of her father acutely and seeks solace both in the security of her local library and the escape her phone screen provides by blocking out the world around her. As Daphne tries to make sense of what has happened she recalls memories of shared times and stories past, and in facing the darkness she finds a way back from the tangle of fear and confusion, to feel connected once more with her friends and family. The Girl Who Became a Tree sees Joseph Coelho deploy a wide variety of poetic forms with consummate skill in its narration of events. He seamlessly but searingly weaves together the ancient legend of Daphne, who was turned into a tree to avoid the attentions of the god Apollo, and a totally modern tale, mixing real-life and fantasy, in which a latter-day Daphne seeks her own freedom. This is a heart-stoppingly imaginative story told in poems, at times bleak and even tragic, which is layered, rich and ultimately a tour de force of poetic skill and energy. 

On Midnight Beach by Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick 
In this beautiful, epic coming-of-age novel, an old tale is rewoven as a stunning YA story by well-known Irish author/illustrator Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick.
I kept clear of Dog Cullen. Till the summer we turned seventeen, the summer the dolphin came to Carrig Cove . . .
Donegal, 1976
When a dolphin takes up residence in Carrig Cove, Emer and her best friend, Fee, feel like they have an instant connection with it. Then Dog Cullen and his sidekick, Kit, turn up, and the four friends begin to sneak out at midnight to go down to the beach, daring each other to swim closer and closer to the creature . . .
But the fame and fortune the dolphin brings to their small village builds resentment amongst their neighbours across the bay, and the summer days get longer and hotter . . . There is something wild and intense in the air. Love feels fierce, old hatreds fester, and suddenly everything feels worth fighting for.

Run, Rebel by Manjeet Mann 
When Amber runs, it’s the only time she feels completely free – far away from her claustrophobic home life. Her father wants her to be a dutiful daughter, waiting for an arranged marriage like her sister Ruby.
Running is a quiet rebellion. But Amber wants so much more – and she’s ready to fight for it.
It’s time for a revolution.

Look Both Ways by Jason Reynolds
From National Book Award finalist and New York Times bestselling author Jason Reynolds comes a novel told in ten blocks, showing all the different directions a walk home can take.
This story was going to begin like all the best stories. With a school bus falling from the sky. But no one saw it happen. They were all too busy –
Talking about boogers.
Stealing pocket change.
Skateboarding.
Wiping out.
Braving up.
Executing complicated handshakes.
Planning an escape.
Making jokes.
Lotioning up.
Finding comfort.
But mostly, too busy walking home.
Jason Reynolds conjures ten tales (one per block) about what happens after the end of day bell rings, and brilliantly weaves them into one wickedly funny, piercingly poignant look at the detours we face on the walk home, and in life.

The Fountains Of Silence by Ruta Sepetys 
Madrid, 1957. Under the fascist dictatorship of General Francisco Franco, Spain is hiding a dark secret. Meanwhile, tourists and foreign businessmen flood into Spain under the welcoming promise of sunshine and wine. Among them is eighteen-year-old Daniel Matheson, the son of an oil tycoon, who arrives in Madrid with his parents hoping to connect with the country of his mother’s birth through the lens of his camera. Photography – and fate – introduce him to Ana, whose family’s interweaving obstacles reveal the lingering grasp of the Spanish Civil War – as well as chilling definitions of fortune and fear. Daniel’s photographs leave him with uncomfortable questions amidst shadows of danger. He is backed into a corner of difficult decisions to protect those he loves. Lives and hearts collide, revealing an incredibly dark side to the sunny Spanish city.
Includes vintage media reports, oral history commentary, photos, and more.

Echo Mountain by Lauren Wolk 
A young heroine in Depression-era Maine is navigating the rocky terrain of her new life on Echo Mountain.
After the financial crash, Ellie and her family have lost nearly everything – including their home in town. They have started over, carving out a new life in the unforgiving terrain of Echo Mountain. Though her sister Esther, especially, resents everything about the mountain, Ellie has found more freedom, a new strength, and a love of the natural world that now surrounds them. But there is little joy, even for Ellie, as they all struggle with the sorrow and aftermath of an accident that left her father in a coma. An accident for which Ellie has accepted the unearned weight of blame.
Desperate for a cure to bring her father back, Ellie is determined to try anything. Following her heart, and the lead of a scruffy mutt, Ellie will make her way to the top of the mountain, in search of the healing secrets of a woman known only as “the hag.” But the mountain still has many untold stories left to reveal to Ellie, as she finds her way forward among a complex constellation of strong women spanning generations.

The Kate Greenaway Medal 2021 shortlist:

Starbird illustrated and written by Sharon King-Chai 
A stunning gift to treasure from the astonishingly talented illustrator of Animalphabet by Julia Donaldson.
Starbird is an original fable about freedom and love. This unique book shimmers with shiny silver foil throughout its pages, and Sharon King-Chai’s intricate illustrations of plants and animals are utterly beautiful.
Starbird’s songs weave the richest dreams and delight all who hear him, but when the Moon King traps him in a cage, the colour and life in his voice begin to drip away. What follows is a story with the feel of a timeless myth, with the message that that captivity dims even the brightest star.

The Bird Within Me illustrated by Sara Lundberg and translated by B. J. Epstein
What do you do when it feels impossible to live the life that is expected of you? What do you do when you long for something that you can hardly name?
Berta is a twelve-year-old girl growing up on a farm in a small village in northern Sweden in the early twentieth century. She loves drawing and painting more than anything else, and secretly dreams of being an artist. But her mother is sick and Berta is needed on the farm. She knows that she needs art, that she has to express herself. But how can she make her dreams a reality?
Based on the paintings, letters and diaries of the Swedish artist Berta Hansson (1910–1994), ‘The Bird Within Me’ is an exquisitely told story of family and obligation and following your dreams, which will appeal to all ages.

It’s A No-Money Day illustrated and written by Kate Milner 
“My mum works really hard and knows lots of fun things to do that don’t cost any money.
But when there’s nothing left in the cupboards we have to go to the foodbank.
Maybe one day things will be different…”

How The Stars Came To Be illustrated and written by Poonam Mistry 
Have you ever wondered how the stars came to be in the sky?
 The Fisherman’s Daughter loved to dance in the sunlight, and bathe in the glow of the moon. But when the moon disappeared for a few nights each month, she worried about her father and how he would find his way home from the sea in the deep darkness. When the sun finds her sobbing one night, he takes one of his rays and shatters it onto the ground, creating the stars and giving the girl the task of putting them into the dark night sky. This beautifully illustrated story gives us a new folk tale, and a new way to look up at the night sky.

Hike illustrated and written by Pete Oswald 
Take to the trails for a celebration of nature – and a day spent with dad.
In the cool and quiet early light of morning, a father and child wake up. Today they’re going on a hike. Follow the duo into the mountains as they witness the magic of the wilderness, overcome challenges, and play a small role in the survival of the forest. By the time they return home, they feel alive – and closer than ever – as they document their hike and take their place in family history. In detail-rich panels and textured panoramas, Pete Oswald perfectly paces this nearly wordless adventure, allowing readers to pause for subtle wonders and marvel at the views. A touching tribute to the bond between father and child, with resonant themes for Earth Day, Hike is a breath of fresh air. 

I Go Quiet illustrated and written by David Ouimet 
How do you find your voice, when no one seems to be listening? A young girl struggles to make herself heard, believing she is too insignificant and misunderstood to communicate with the people in her life.
Anxious about how she thinks she should look and speak, the girl stays silent, turning to books to transport her to a place where she is connected to the world, and where her words hold power. As she soon discovers, her imagination is not far from reality, and the girl realises that when she is ready to be heard, her voice will ring loud and true.

Arlo The Lion Who Couldn’t Sleep illustrated and written by Catherine Rayner 
Arlo is a very tired lion, and he’s tried everything to get to sleep. But the grass is too prickly, the trees are too noisy, and his family wriggles awfully too much. Goodness! How is an exhausted lion ever to get a wink of shut-eye? Luckily, owl has a few tricks up her sleeve and Arlo couldn’t be happier to give them a whirl.
Perfect for reluctant or troubled sleepers, author-illustrator Catherine Rayner’s gorgeous illustrations capture a gentle and humorous bedtime story that has a calming, meditative message of mindfulness and centeredness.

Small In The City illustrated and written by Sydney Smith
It can be a little scary to be small in a big city, but this child has some good advice for a very special friend in need.
When you’re small in the city, people don’t see you, and loud sounds can scare you, and knowing what to do is sometimes hard. But this little kid knows what it’s like, and knows the neighbourhood. That makes for some pretty good advice for an even smaller friend.
Like, alleys can be good shortcuts, but some are too dark.
Or, there are lots of good hiding places in the city, like under a mulberry bush or up a walnut tree.
And, if the city is too loud and scary, a small one can always just go back home, where it’s safe and quiet.
In his first author-illustrated picture book, Sydney Smith tells a contemplative, quiet story from the perspective of a child.

At some point I’m going to have to stop these types of posts because it costs me a fortune in new books!

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Happy Reading!

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