Living Knowledge blog

25 June 2015

CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals awarded at the Library

William Grill, the illustrator of Shackleton’s Journey was in the British Library when he got a phone call to say that he had won the 2015 CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal. On Monday, he was back at the Library for the Award ceremony in the Conference Centre alongside Tanya Landman who received the 2015 CILIP Carnegie Medal for Buffalo.

The oldest UK prizes for children’s books and the only ones judged by children’s librarians, the list of winners of these Medals conjure up every child’s best memories. From Arthur Ransome who took the first Carnegie Medal for Pigeon Post in 1936 and Edward Ardizzone for Tim All Alone in 1956 (yes, it took 20 years for the work of illustrators to be rewarded alongside authors) they include authors C.S. Lewis, Philippa Pearce, Rosemary Sutcliff and more recently Frank Cottrell Boyce, Mal Peet, Meg Rosoff, Patrick Ness and last year’s winner Kevin Brooks and illustrators Raymond Briggs, Helen Oxenbury, John Burningham, Shirley Hughes, Quentin Blake  and, more recently, Emily Gravett, Mini Grey and  Jon Klassen. 

Fittingly for a CILIP prize, each of the winners received £500 of books to donate to their local library. They also each got a medal to keep. In addition, on account of a bequest, William Grill received the Colin Mears Award of £5,000.

 WillGrillKateGreenawayMedalWinner&TanyaLanmanCarnegieMedalWinner-SMALLWilliam Grill, winner of the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal, and Tanya Landman, winner of the CILIP Carnegie Medal, collecting their awards at a ceremony at the British Library on Monday. Photo: Rolf Marriott Photography.

In her acceptance speech, Tanya Landman called for schools to be given more scope to set aside tests and targets so that they could help children to use their imagination and be encouraged to read for pleasure. “Someone who reads for pleasure is far less likely to be a bully or a bigot. They are far less likely to cause harm to others because they can imagine how it would feel. They are far less likely to collude with any kind of persecution. Instead, they are far more likely to do something about it.”

She also stressed the benefits of public libraries in supporting this. “In a healthy, affluent society access to books should be freely available to everyone.”

Children’s libraries play an active role in getting children reading and in keeping them at it and their success in doing so is reflected in the annual Public Lending Right (PLR) figures. Over half of the top twenty most borrowed authors in 2013-14 write or illustrate for children and children’s books regularly appear in the annual top 10 most borrowed titles lists. Across the country and encouragingly for the future of reading, parents still believe that the library can help their children to do well at school and to thrive emotionally. This is exemplified most powerfully in the  success of The Reading Agency’s Summer Reading Challenge, recently renamed Reading Ahead, which brings thousands of children into libraries every summer.

As the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals show annually, children’s librarians know how to put books and children together. When they do so they make the magic of reading begin. Congratulations to the Medal winners, to all the librarians who voted for them and for the 100,000 children and young adults who signed up to be one of the shadowing judges.

Julia Eccleshare

Head of PLR Policy and Advocacy



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