Monday, 24 October 2016

CKG17 Judge chat

We Sat Down for a Chat....with a CKG17 judge

Where do we begin with our chats for the 2017 Carnegie awards? 
Hmmm, why not where it all begins and start with a CILIP librarian and judge?

Caroline Fielding is the London Judge for the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway 2017 medals. I’ve known Caroline on Twitter as CazApril1 probably since We Sat Down began. She always delighted me with her tweet length reviews: straight-talkingly succinct. I’m going to miss reading those for the next few years. As well as having to read and judge all the Carnegie and Greenaway lists, Caroline is also working and, importantly, newish mum to Bea as well. She describes herself as a bea-keeper!

Bea, Caroline and Michael Rosen
M: Caroline, thanks for agreeing to do this. I know you must be really under the pump right now, what with juggling judge and bea-keeper at the same time. Which do you think will prove trickier?

CF: Hah, that's a tough one - pre-Bea I think judging wouldn't have been nearly as daunting because I'd read on the bus, during lunch breaks, when hubby was working late...nowadays it can only be while Bea's asleep and my one-day-a-week commute so hubby's going to be lonely of an evening!

M: Do you like bees? Or honey?

CF: A big fan of bees, we want to have a hive in our garden one day.  There were three reasons for the name Beatrice.
1) nice & traditional but not too common.
2) Dennis the Menace's little sister is called Bea Menace & I love Dennis.
3) hubby really liked the idea of dressing her like a bee!

M: I see that Bea's met many authors? Who was her favourite and do you agree with her choice?

CF: Before she arrived I hadn't planned to drag her around events, but when she was 4months old I decided I needed some bookish company and took her to the launch of Mango and Bambang, and unexpectedly met the national treasure that is Shirley Hughes there. 

Bea and Shirley Hughes
Bea was so content and everyone was so happy to see her that I decided that while she was portable we would make the most of it and so I took her with me to a dozen more events to meet, amongst others, 5 children's laureates!  She was particularly unhappy on the evening she met Michael Rosen and Chris Riddell, they were very nice about it but we left pretty early! 

She was probably happiest at last year's Hachette picturebook preview, mainly because she enjoyed playing with everyone's name badges...she had a good chat with Pat Hutchins that evening and didn't seem to mind being passed around a dozen illustrators for photos! 

I couldn't pick a favourite, they were all so lovely to Bea that they automatically all became our favourites.  I'm sad that she's too grownup and grumpy to come to evening events now, but hopefully she'll choose to come to events with me in 10 years or so when she can be excited about occasionally missing bedtime.

M: Wow, isn’t Bea lucky?!
Caroline, as a geologist, what prompted you to librarianship?

CF: I'm afraid I didn't enjoy English at school, I just wanted to 'read for pleasure', science and geography were always my favourite subjects so those were the A-Levels I picked and that led to a degree in geology! 

I had no plan of what to do afterwards but, after considering being a geography teacher, I remembered I'd always wanted to be a librarian.  My intention was to go into a scientific library, ideally the Natural History Museum Earth Science library. But, after volunteering in a public library during the summer to get some experience, I realised that I did want to work with children after all and that as a librarian I could encourage them to love books like I did without having to set them homework. I did my MA while working in public libraries and then decided to go into school librarianship for the captive teen audience.

M: What's the craziest thing you've done in a library?

CF: What happens in the library, stays in the library...

M: Ha! You got me!

So, you're a CKG judge, which takes a lot of commitment, so you obviously love the awards and/or think they're important. What do they mean to you?

CF: For as long as I have known about the awards I have wanted to be a judge and I still can't quite believe that I've managed to wangle myself into the position of the London Judge.  As the official blurb goes, authors and illustrators describe it as "the one they want to win" and I love that, with shadowing, it is becoming more and more influential on the reading habits of generations of children.

M: I think I remember you being a fan of lego (or was that superheroes)? Am I right?

CF: When the lego librarian came out I managed to convince my kids at school that it was modelled on me because it does look ridiculously like me! I do also love superheroes but don't think I know enough about any to call myself a massive fan.

Bea among the books
M: What are your other hobbies/personal interests?

CF: Reading really is my main hobby. I was a Beaver leader (tiny Scouts) before Bea arrived but won't be able to go back to that until she's much older because of timings.  A small obsession with Dennis the Menace started when I had really short hair at uni and my Mum compared me to him, so I have a lot of Beano or black and red striped things. I also love owls and bees...and have 13 piercings (ears and tongue) and 15 pairs of Converse All Stars :-)

M: A bit of bling and shoe girl then!

Dinner party: who's invited and what's on the menu?

CF: I am rubbish at social situations because I am a massive introvert: if there are more than maybe 5 people in the room I stop talking, even if I know and love everyone there.  So I respect many people from afar but honestly would choose to have dinner with hubby and a couple of old friends.  Menu is easy though: roast beef with all the trimmings followed by rhubarb crumble and custard!  If pressed, I would loved to have had dinner at the same table as Terry Pratchett and just listen to him...

M: Do you like dogs? This is important. 

CF: I feel like I have to answer 'yes' now!  I don't dislike dogs, some of my best friends are dog owners <ahem> but I'm a cat person I'm afraid.

M: *silently rages* What do you think, people, is she in or out on this one?!

Thank you so much for chatting with me, Caroline. I wish you all the best with your judging (and bea-keeping) and look forward to seeing what you and the other judges come up with on 19 June 2017!


You can read more about Caroline’s judge role on the awards website.

And now I’m wondering if my old school librarians were harbouring any lego figurines!

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