Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Children's Book Awards

It's UK Book Awards chat time of year again. Over the last few weeks, The Man Booker announced a controversial change, Booktrust announced the launch of a new Best Book Awards for children 0-14, and the CILIP Carnegie and Greenaway medal nominations are underway. Amidst this, of course, there's been many hurrahs and excitement but also corners of bah-humbugs criticising the awards for a variety of reasons. It's also Children's Book Week, so, in case you haven't noticed,

We Sat Down LOVES children's book awards.* + **

For years, book award lists (not just the winners) have informed our reading - and especially our book purchases. The lists just make browsing easier. They are often a starting block for our browsing, and there're generally a whole bunch of books on there that we like (as well as a whole bunch of books we don't). We keep an eye on all sorts of awards (you can see the links on our right hand sidebar). Other than award lists, trusted word of mouth is what tends to guide us.

Different awards aim to achieve different things. And so of course, we love some awards more than others and that's how it is. Humans are generally all relatively critical: we make preferences to filter things and choose. Whatever floats your boat.......

For us, at the moment, the big one is the Carnegie, for obvious and multiple reasons: it has a well-developed Shadowing scheme, its juding criteria is published and the award is for literature written for children. In addition to a 'list', all of these factors mean that both of us can actively follow the award process  - and enjoy it. Other awards, like the Red House Children's Book Award, let readers nominate and vote - and this is a whole different ball game (which we take part in too, when we're eligible).

There is a lot of mumbling and grumbling about the fact that it is adults who both choose and judge the Carnegie & Greenaway medals. It's run by CILIP, the UK's librarian association, and is nominated and judged by CILIP members (who are adult librarians). For me, more than anything, what distinguishes the type of books shortlisted for the Carnegie is that adults and children can often both relate to them (this flavour is probably precisely because adults - who were once children - have selected them). They're mostly an intergenerational read and I love this. There are plenty of books that Little M reads, which I don't and vice versa. Currently, the Carnegie medal is an exciting meeting place for us both.

Now, I'm also keen to see how the new Booktrust Best Book Awards works. It's arguably going head-to-head with the Carnegie in the world of UK children's book awards. The timings of the award process looks similar and it's planning some sort of 'following' scheme. But, it's involving children directly in the process and it has many award categories divided by age and genre/type. I have lots of respect for Booktrust, so this award's on our radar (though whether it'll match my intergenerational preference, I'll have to wait and see).

*PS. Actually, we just love AWARDS!!!
**PPS. There are plenty of yummy books that don't make award lists. We've read (and bought) more than a fair few of those too.


  1. I love award, too. And always follow the UK awards closely. I have been looking at the Booktrust to see how that works. I like that kids can be involved because sometimes adults read a kidlit book and think it is wonderful, only to later learn it went over like a lead balloon with its intended readers. You are lucky you still have a young reader at home to sort of get an idea about something. My Kiddo thinks she is all grown up and only wants to read adult books now. *Sigh* Oh for the days of deep discussions about Voldemort.

    1. Speaking of award love, did I see that you were judging middle grade for the Cybils? :)

  2. What do you think of the Red House shortlist? The 5th Wave is a great book, as is Killing Rachel. My class seem to think that the Atticus Claw books are always a throughly enjoyable read. The Claude books are a lot of fun and Superworm is my (daughter's) favourite Julia Donaldson in the past couple of years. A really strong bunch!

    1. Little M was delighted with last year's winner, Sophie Mackenzie's Medusa Project Hit Squad. Neither of us have read any on this year's shortlist yet so it's great to hear that it's been well received by you and yours. And of course, we're part of the blog tour for the shortlist this year so it'll be great to see what each of the authors have to say!


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