CILIP Carnegie Medal 2018 shortlist available to borrow from Wokingham Borough Libraries
The Carnegie Medal, awarded annually to the writer of an outstanding book for children, was established in 1936 in memory of the Scottish-born philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919). A self-made industrialist who made his fortune in steel in the USA, Carnegie’s experience of using a library as a child led him to resolve that “If ever wealth came to me that it should be used to establish free libraries.” He set up more than 2,800 libraries across the English-speaking world and by the time of his death over half the library authorities in Great Britain had Carnegie libraries.
Winner will be announced on Monday June 18, 2018 at The British Library, London.
CILIP Carnegie Medal 2018 shortlist
Wed Wabbit by Lissa Evans
Clever and slightly cynical Fidge is nearly 11 when she is abruptly thrown into the bizarre world of her little sister Minnie’s favourite story. The Wimbley Woos, colourful creatures who speak only in rhyme, live under the iron paw of evil dictator, Wed Wabbit. With only a band of sentient toys and her awful cousin Graham to help her, Fidge must solve a series of increasingly ludicrous puzzles in order to go home. If she fails they will be stuck in the land of Wimbley Woos forever and, back in the real world, Minnie will die.
Playful use of language and sharp, satirical humour abound in this vibrant novel. The interplay between danger and comedy is skilfully handled, resulting in a vivid focus on play and the inner imaginative world of childhood. The richly drawn cast of characters are depicted perfectly; individual personalities are slowly revealed and, as the story unfolds, experiences allow them to develop satisfyingly. The author demonstrates an innovative use of language through the dialogue of the toys; from banal verse to loud, authoritarian speech, a rhythm is established that makes the unreal world seem very real. Wit, wisdom and lashings of imagination make this a rich reading experience.
After the Fire by Will Hill
Deep in the Texas desert, Moonbeam lives with her Brothers and Sisters. They’re safe, protected by the Fence and Father John. Father John controls everything inside The Fence. And Father John likes rules. Especially about never talking to Outsiders. Because Father John knows the truth. He knows what is right, and what is wrong. But then Nate arrives from Outside, stirring doubt…and suddenly Moonbeam is starting to see the lies behind Father John’s words. She wants him to be found out. What if the only way out of the darkness is to light a fire?
An utterly compelling, dark and morally complex read that actively demands that the reader engages with issues and experiences beyond their knowledge. The plot is gradually revealed through the clever use of flashback and some unreliable narration; building tension and pace. Moonbeam is a completely authentic and believably confused and conflicted character and even the villains’ motivations are complex and understandable within the context of this powerful and thoroughly absorbing story.
Where the World Ends by Geraldine McCaughrean
Every time a lad came fowling on the St Kilda stacs, he went home less of a boy and more of a man. If he went home at all, that is…! In the summer of 1727, a group of men and boys are put ashore on a remote sea stac to harvest birds for food. No one returns to collect them. Why? Surely nothing but the end of the world can explain why they have been abandoned to endure storms, starvation and terror. And how can they survive, housed in stone and imprisoned on every side by the ocean?
Based on a true story, McCaughrean masterfully takes the reader on a dark, atmospheric and incredibly gripping journey. Written in an historically appropriate, straightforward and yet poetic style, the unforgiving landscape and the struggle to survive within it, are evocatively portrayed. The interaction and relationships between the highly memorable individual characters are believable and beautifully written and while they are completely of their time and of their remote community, they resonate with contemporary readers and Quill, the main hero, is particularly appealing. A haunting, immersive and unforgettable reading experience.
Rook by Anthony McGowan
Rook is the third standalone novel featuring brothers Nicky and Kenny, following McGowan’s earlier novels Brock and Pike. When the boys rescue a rook from a sparrow hawk attack, learning-disabled Kenny immediately becomes attached to the injured young bird. Nicky doubts the scruffy bird will make it, but then Nicky has plenty else to worry about – a school bully, his first love, and the fact that everything is about to go very, very wrong.
The power of this short novel lies in Nicky’s authentic voice and the author’s ability to represent the inner life of all his characters. Nicky’s cynicism, his protective love for his brother and his wry sense of humour are expressed with language that is both simple and poetic. Every word used is apposite. The novel deals thoughtfully with themes of bullying, first love, faith and what it means to be part of a family. Both the urban and natural settings are equally vividly portrayed as are the effects of poverty. It is undeniably gritty, unflinching and authentic and yet manages to demonstrate a life-affirming warmth too.
Release by Patrick Ness
On the single Saturday during which the book’s action takes place, Adam Thorn will meet with friends, employers, family and lovers; will experience revelations, attend a farewell party, and reshape his life. Everything in Adam’s life is going to fall apart. But maybe, just maybe, he’ll find freedom from the release. Time is running out though, because way across town, a ghost has risen from the lake…
With a trademark mix of the real and the fantastical effortlessly woven together Ness once again demonstrates his profound understanding of the complexities of being a young adult and what it means to have to live secretly, in fear of disapproval and burdened with shame. Elegant, flawless writing capture the nuanced detail of young love and relationships. While revealing truths can be excruciatingly painful, doing so might also bring refreshing, life-affirming release. Heart-breaking, intense and acutely honest, this novel casts a subtle spell of hope.
Saint Death by Marcus Sedgwick
The inscrutable ways of Saint Death dominate Arturo’s world on the wrong side of the fence. Grinding poverty, corruption and the power of the narco-lords mean freedom is elusive and comes at a cost. Loyalty is equally rare. Life in Anapra, Mexico is almost impossible, but when Arturo is forced to gamble for his friend Faustino’s life and freedom, he risks his own in the process.
From its fairy tale opening paragraph, this powerful and atmospheric novel draws the reader into the desperation of Arturo’s world: the half-made town of Anapra, inhabited by dreamers, dealers, migrants and the faceless missing who have tried, and failed, to cheat Santa Muerte. A gripping, fast-paced narrative is interspersed with passages which offer a perspective on issues like free trade, globalization and climate change, without interrupting its flow. Sedgwick’s beautifully-crafted novel also reflects upon the nature of friendship, faith and those ‘breaches of brotherhood’ which make us flawed and very human.
The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas
Sixteen-year old Starr lives in two worlds: growing up with her family in Garden Heights, the poor neighbourhood where she was born, and going to school in an affluent suburban area. When her close childhood friend, Khalil, is fatally shot by a white police officer after a party Starr is the only witness. What she saw, and whether she speaks out, could affect her entire community and have an impact on her friends and close-knit family.
What animates this powerful debut novel is Starr’s unique narrative voice and how her character develops throughout the course of the novel as she fights for justice. The use of a first person narrative creates an immediacy that ensures the reader inhabits the world of the novel which deals unflinchingly with the fear and anger which arise from prejudice and racism. Musicality and humour underpins Thomas’s skilful writing throughout the novel, and there is genuine warmth and a sense of community to the family relationships she develops, despite moments of conflict and heightened tension. Dialogue and detail are authentic and integrated seamlessly into the plot. The realism and openness of the conclusion encourages discussion and is very effective in showing the on-going battle being faced by minorities.
Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk
Twelve-year-old Crow has lived her entire life on a tiny, isolated piece of the starkly beautiful Elizabeth Islands in Massachusetts. Abandoned and set adrift in a small boat when she was just hours old, Crow’s only companions are Osh, the man who rescued and raised her, and Miss Maggie, their fierce and affectionate neighbour across the sandbar. Crow has always been curious about the world around her, but it isn’t until the night a mysterious fire appears across the water that the unspoken question of her own history forms in her heart. Soon, an unstoppable chain of events is triggered, leading Crow down a path of discovery and danger.
Simple, sparing prose and a vivid sense of time and place combine beautifully in this quiet, enriching novel. The moving story of orphaned Crow’s increasing determination to discover the truth about her parentage provides profound comments on identity and what it means to belong. All three main characters are well-drawn, warm and loving people who intrigue the reader with their personal mysteries and pasts. The plot is skilfully controlled; with an appropriate slowness that reflects life on the island and a credible, satisfying ending. This is a lyrical story with imagery that powerfully evokes the isolation and loneliness of Crow’s simple life.