Thursday 16 February 2017

A broad mix marks the Carnegie 2017 Longlist

Whittled down from 114 to 20 (whew!), there's a broad mix of genre and age-appropriate books on this year's 80th anniversary Carnegie 2017 medal longlist. Here they are in author's alphabetical order. My initial thoughts follow.

Aubrey and the Terrible Yoot by Horatio Clare (Firefly Press)
Sputnik’s Guide to Life on Earth by Frank Cottrell Boyce (Pan Macmillan)
Unbecoming by Jenny Downham (David Fickling Books)
The Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon (Orion Children’s Books)
How Not to Disappear by Clare Furniss (Simon & Schuster)
The Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock (Faber & Faber)
Whisper to Me by Nick Lake (Bloomsbury)
Beetle Boy by M.G. Leonard (Chicken House)
The Stars at Oktober Bend by Glenda Millard (Old Barn Books)
Pax by Sara Pennypacker (HarperCollins)
Railhead by Philip Reeve (Oxford University Press)
Beck by Mal Peet with Meg Rosoff (Walker Books)
Orbiting Jupiter by Gary D. Schmidt (Andersen Press)
The Marvels by Brian Selznick (Scholastic)
Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys (Puffin)
Island by Nicky Singer (Caboodle Books)
Dreaming the Bear by Mimi Thebo (Oxford University Press)
Time Travelling with a Hamster by Ross Welford (HarperCollins)
Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk (Corgi)
The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner (Andersen Press)

My thoughts on the 2017 Carnegie medal longlist:

  • There's a wide mix here, so I expect the younger years will be as happy as the older years, and the avid readers as drawn is as reluctant readers (although I think the school's get more engaged at shortlisting stage, but the judges have left themselves ample room for mix there too, if that's how things pan out).
  • From the 20, I've read five and my early thoughts on them: The Bone Sparrow (loved it, expect shortlisting), The Smell of Other People's Houses (loved it hugely, would love it shortlisted), the stars at oktober bend (a brave little gem, would be very happy to see it shortlisted), Dreaming the Bear (interesting and I can see why it's long listed, but overall, it missed the mark for me), The Serpent King (surprisingly adored this, very much expect a shortlisting). Okay, so I'll have to see if any of the ones I haven't read are even better than these!
  • Beck - I started this. Mal Peet and Meg Rosoff: what a combo, and I think it works. The writing is fantastic and I expect the plot line will more than hold up. But I stumbled over what I expect will be a controversial scene and stopped. I promise I tried but it was way too graphic for me. I even read it out loud to the family (just in case this was me being being 'just me'). He wasn't keen, Little M a bit fazed but not as much as me. I doubt the primary schools will be looking at this one. A brave (and probably warranted) choice by the judges.
  • Wolf Hollow -This one popped up time and time again, from all sorts of people saying how exceptional it was. I read a couple of pages in the library and the start is everything I'd expect from a Carnegie book. It's near the top of my reading list. I do not have a review copy so library, here I come.
  • Whisper To Me - This is on my 'Yes' to read shelf. I really enjoy Nick Lake's books, so it's definitely bumped up a spot or two on my reading list.
  • Orbiting Jupiter is on my 'Yes' to read shelf, so a bump there  too.
  • I've read earlier novels by both Ruta Sepetys and Clare Furniss. They were highly readable so their long-lasting has peaked my interest.
  • Alpha and The Wolves of Currumpaw: these were nominated for the Carnegie and I read them and thought they were both superb. They're not on this longlist but they are on the Kate Greenaway longlist (for illustrated works).
  • Paper Butterflies by Lisa Heathfield: this is not on the longlist and it's one that I thought might make its way here. It didn't but it's a great read anyway.

Some silly facts:

  • If the author's surname began with a K, V, Y or Z they was little chance of being longlisted because there was only of each on the nominations list. But Zentner nabbed a long-lasting spot.
  • If the author's surname began with a C or S, they had much higher chance because they were over-represented on the nominations list. Yes, a few of them have bee shortlisted.
  • Wolf or Wolves in the title? Four of them were nominated, Wolf Hollow is longlisted for Carnegie and The Wolves of Currumpaw for Kate Greenaway. 
  • Not so silly, and not 100% factual, but a quick glance suggests a balance of author gender (of further characteristics, I am unaware).

So, just under a month to the shortlist of about 8......

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