The 2016 CILIP Carnegie & Kate Greenaway children’s book awards judges blog tour: Q & A with the panel of judges

Today I’m thrilled to be part of a blog tour that’s just a little different to the one I normally partake in: The CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway judges book tour.

For those who may not be aware, the CKG book awards is one of the biggest book awards in the UK, and in the run up to announcing the winner, and as part of the tour, a few of us have been given the opportunity to grill some of the judges about the awards, the books that have been nominated and how the awards have influenced their reading choices over the years.

Special thanks to Matt for allowing me to be part of the tour!

The winner will be announced on Monday, 20th June, so keep your eyes and ears peeled to newsfeeds everywhere.

Thanks to all the judges who took time out of their busy schedules to answer these questions!

The CILIP Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Awards is one of the UK’s most prestigious awards given to authors and illustrators.

What do you think it is about these awards that sets it apart from others?

The awards are chosen by professionals within the field of Librarianship, unlike many other awards every book is read and reread by judges and the judges undergo rigorous training before they take up the position. Matt Imrie, CKG Judge for YLG London.

There is a wonderful list of books that have been shortlisted for the award this year.

What do you think it is about these specific books that stand out more than others?

The standard of publications generally this year has been high. Choosing the shortlist was not easy and I can honestly say that the list is the strongest ever, in my experience.

Each and every title on both lists are all unique style wise. I have to be honest here, usually for me there are one or two titles that stand out ahead of the pack, but this year each and every one could be the winner. Sioned Jacques, CKG Chair of Judges.

Which book do you hope will win and why?

I always hope the right book wins – this book will be chosen by judges under rigorous conditions of judging.

To choose a lesser book would weaken the awards and bring them in to disrepute, this has never happened and I trust in the judges to always make the right decision! Matt Imrie, CKG Judge for YLG London.
I’m afraid I have signed the Official Secrets’ Act on that one! Each book is a strong contender because of the outstanding quality of the writing.

They all have memorable characterisation, intricate plotting and thought provoking themes. Tanja Jennings CKG Judge for YLG Northern Ireland.

Are there any specific books that that aren’t on this list that you wish were nominated for the award?

And why do you feel that book deserves the recognition?

As a Librarian who is a member of CILIP I have a personal nomination so I can put forward my particular favourites at that stage. So there are no books I wish had been included on the list that weren’t there.  Tracey Acum, CKG Judge for YLG Yorkshire & Humberside.

Let’s talk about diversity in books.

With the growing demand for minority and marginalised groups to be more prominently featured in books, how do you think the shortlisted books fair in terms of meeting that criterion?

Diversity is not on the list of criteria for either of the awards and I think that authors and illustrators may find it insulting if their gender, ethnicity or background was picked up as a reason for the selection of their work rather than their artistic or authorial excellence. Matt Imrie, CKG Judge for YLG London.

The Awards can obviously only reflect what is published and at present the criteria do not take into consideration diversity. However I believe the Awards often reflect diversity and life and this year is no exception.

The Carnegie features a book whose main character is deaf, two books with a homosexual relationships and a book with conjoined twins. I think there’s still some work to be done on reflecting diversity in picture books, and I guess the shortlist reflects this. Sioned Jacques, CKG Chair of Judges.

Finally, has the CKG awards influenced your reading choices over the years? And if so, in what way?

Before becoming a judge, I used to always make sure I read the winning Carnegie book, as well as the shortlists. 

Working in a school library I felt it was important to know what was out there for young adults, and the Carnegie lists certainly provided a wide range of quality, contemporary fiction. Jennifer Horan, CKG Judge for YLG Scotland


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