CILIP Awards  Shortlists Announced  

This year’s CILIP Awards are in full swing, with opportunities for your students to influence the outcome. Susan Elkin sets the scene

Have you read One by Sarah Crossan? It’s a first person narrative by a teenage conjoined twin facing separation from her other half. It’s written in blank verse and I’m pretty sure you will never have read anything else remotely like it – one of the most original books in decades.

One was awarded the 2016 Carnegie medal thereby joining a long tradition of celebrating very special books for children and young adults stretching back to 1936 when the inaugural award went to Arthur Ransome for Pigeon Post. Since then in the Carnegie’s eight decade history it has gone to books such as Watership Down by Richard Adams (1972), Northern Lights by Philip Pullman (1995) and David Almond for Skellig in 1998. Sally Gardner won with Maggot Moon in 2013 and Tanya Landman with Buffalo Girl in 2015.

Sometimes the winner has been a controversial book such as Junk by Melvyn Burgess (1996) which features heroin addiction or Postcards to Noman’s Land by Aidan Chambers (1999) which describes sex fairly graphically. Some winners have gone on to establish themselves as timeless classics: Tom’s Midnight Garden by Phlippa Pearce (1958) and The Machine Gunners by Robert Westall (1975) for example. Then there are the Carnegie winners which, without wishing to be unkind, seem to have disappeared into oblivion. It is probably a while since anyone read Mollie Hunter’s The Stronghold (1974) or Philip Turner’s The Grange at High Force (1965) for example.

Now known as CILIP Carnegie Medal because it is administered by Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals, the award is concerned mostly with honour and recognition although the winner gets £500 worth of books do donate to a local school. Today the Carnegie Medal is closely linked with the Kate Greenaway Award, a prize for an illustrated book set up in 1955, which now runs in parallel with the Carnegie. And today there is a cash award for each outright winner of £5,000 from the Colin Mears Award.

Shortlists were announced last month and it is possible that we might see Children’s Laureate, Chris Riddell win the Kate Greenaway for the fourth time – with A Great Big Cuddle (words by Michael Rosen) It would be interesting too if Mal Peet won the Carnegie Medal with Beck, completed by Meg Rosoff following Peet’s untimely death. Should this novel win it would be the second posthumous Carnegie award following Siobhan Dowd’s Bog Child in 2009. Mal Peet won the Carnegie medal with Tamar in 2005.

It is publishers who propose the titles and the judges – librarians from all over the country, chaired this year by Tricia Adams – usually have over a hundred titles to read and consider very carefully. These are whittled down at a final meeting to two short lists one for each medal with a maximum of eight on each list. Then the panel reconvenes a couple of months later to agonise over the two overall winners. The result will be announced on Monday 19 June, including the special Amnesty CILIP Honour which goes to a book on the short list that “distinctively illuminates, communicates, and celebrates our personal rights and freedoms.”

“Both of these shortlists celebrate the wonderful talent on offer”

“Both of these shortlists celebrate the wonderful talent on offer from established names to debut authors and illustrators making a real impact with their first books” says Tricia Adams. “Questions of identity, friendship and responsibility. both to others and to the natural world” are key themes this year.

Schools can get their students actively involved in the process towards the announcement on 19 June via the Carnegie Shadowing Scheme which runs from March to June. It encourages children and teenagers to read, review and discuss all the books shortlisted by the official panel There’s plenty of online support for this and there are thousands of registered reading groups taking part all over the country. Details are at

The 2017 shortlists are:

  1. The CILIP Carnegie Medal 2017 shortlist (alphabetically by author surname):
  2. Sputnik’s Guide to Life on Earth by Frank Cottrell Boyce (Pan Macmillan)
  3. The Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon (Orion Children’s Books)
  4. The Smell of Other People’s Houses by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock (Faber & Faber)
  5. The Stars at Oktober Bend by Glenda Millard (Old Barn Books)
  6. Railhead by Philip Reeve (Oxford University Press)
  7. Beck by Mal Peet with Meg Rosoff (Walker Books)
  8. Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys (Puffin)
  9. Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk (Corgi)

The CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2017 shortlist (alphabetically by illustrator surname):

  1. Wild Animals of the North illustrated and written by Dieter Braun (Flying Eye Books)
  2. TIDY illustrated and written by Emily Gravett (Two Hoots)
  3. The Wolves of Currumpaw illustrated and written by William Grill (Flying Eye Books)
  4. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone illustrated by Jim Kay, written by J.K. Rowling (Bloomsbury)
  5. A Great Big Cuddle illustrated by Chris Riddell and written by Michael Rosen (Walker Books)
  6. The Journey illustrated and written by Francesca Sanna (Flying Eye Books)
  7. The Marvels illustrated and written by Brian Selznick (Scholastic)
  8. There is a Tribe of Kids illustrated and written by Lane Smith (Two Hoots)