The Carnegie Medal and Kate Greenaway Medal Shortlists 2016

The shortlists for this year’s CILIP Carnegie Medal and the Kate Greenaway Medals have been announced.

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.

The Kate Greenaway Medal was established in 1955 for distinguished illustration in a book for children. Named after the popular 19th century artist, known for her beautiful children's illustrations and designs, the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal is awarded annually for an outstanding book in terms of illustration for children and young people.

CILIP Carnegie Medal 2016 shortlist

(Alphabetically by author surname):

  • One by Sarah Crossan (Bloomsbury)
  • The Lie Tree by Frances Hardinge (Macmillan)
  • There Will Be Lies by Nick Lake (Bloomsbury)
  • The Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness (Walker Books)
  • Five Children on the Western Front by Kate Saunders (Faber)
  • The Ghosts of Heaven by Marcus Sedgwick (Indigo)
  • Lies We Tell Ourselves by Robin Talley (MiraInk, HarperCollins)
  • Fire Colour One by Jenny Valentine (HarperCollins)

CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal 2016 shortlist

(Alphabetically by illustrator surname):

  • Willy’s Stories illustrated and written by Anthony Browne (Walker Books)
  • There’s a Bear on My Chair illustrated and written by Ross Collins (Nosy Crow)
  • Once Upon an Alphabet illustrated and written by Oliver Jeffers (HarperCollins)
  • Sam & Dave Dig a Hole illustrated by Jon Klassen, written by Mac Barnett (Walker Books)
  • Something About a Bear illustrated and written by Jackie Morris (Frances Lincoln)
  • Captain Jack and the Pirates illustrated by Helen Oxenbury, written by Peter Bently (Puffin)
  • The Sleeper and the Spindle illustrated by Chris Riddell, written by Neil Gaiman (Bloomsbury)
  • Footpath Flowers illustrated by Sydney Smith, written by JonArno Lawson (Walker Books)

This year, there are an unprecedented four finalists with a chance of taking home a third Medal: author Patrick Ness, and illustrators Anthony Browne, Helen Oxenbury and Chris Riddell.

Patrick Ness’s novel The Rest of Us Just Live Here follows the lives and loves of a group of teenagers and faces tough competition from Frances Hardinge’s Costa Book of the Year winner The Lie Tree, in which a young Victorian girl uses lies to find the truth behind her father’s murder, and Robin Talley’s debut, Lies We Tell Ourselves, which sees two teen girls fall in love across the race divide in 1950s America.

Joining them on the shortlist are Nick Lake’s There Will Be Lies in which a teenage girl is forced to re-evaluate her identity, Jenny Valentine’s Fire Colour One which explores questions of authenticity and honesty, and Kate Saunders’s Five Children on the Western Front which looks at the reality of conflict and the impact of the First World War on a single family. Marcus Sedgwick’s The Ghosts of Heaven, four interlinking stories searching for the true meaning of life, and Sarah Crossan’s One, a tale of conjoined twins which explores notions of individuality, complete the Carnegie shortlist for 2016.

A third Kate Greenaway Medal is a possibility for former Children’s Laureate Anthony Browne, current Children’s Laureate Chris Riddell and Helen Oxenbury. Oxenbury first won in 1969, nearly half a century ago, while Browne first won in 1983. Riddell first won in 2001.

Traditional picture book stories for younger readers make up the majority of this year’s Kate Greenaway shortlist. Browne employs a wide range of colours and styles in Willy’s Stories, to celebrate the worlds within a library, while Oxenbury’s distinctive style in Captain Jack and the Pirates merges soft blacks and whites with muted colours. Riddell uses a limited but highly evocative palette of black, white and gold in The Sleeper and the Spindle.

Also on the shortlist, Sydney Smith’s visual storytelling in Footpath Flowers uses selective colour against stark black and white. Ross Collins’s There’s a Bear on My Chair uses size, scale and words to create humour and contrast while Jackie Morris’s Something About A Bear brings the lives of the world’s bears to life with an almost painterly quality, and in Once Upon an Alphabet, Oliver Jeffers creates a distinctive visual style with bright colours and strong lines bringing each letter’s tale to life. Finally, previous Kate Greenaway Medal winner Jon Klassen uses earthy colours and increasingly dark shades in Sam & Dave Dig a Hole.

The CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals are the oldest children’s book awards in the UK, with the first winners announced in 1936 and 1956 respectively. The titles on the shortlists are contenders for the highest accolades in children’s literature. The awards are unique as they are judged solely by children’s librarians, and are awarded annually by the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP).

The awards will be presented at a ceremony at the British Library on June 20, 2016. The winners will receive £500 of children’s books for their local library and a specially commissioned gold medal. Both winners will receive the £5000 Colin Mears Award.

A title from each shortlist will be chosen at the awards ceremony for the brand new Amnesty CILIP Honour, for a book that most distinctively illuminates, upholds or celebrates freedoms. The two titles receiving the commendation will be able to carry an Amnesty CILIP Honour logo.  

Previous winners of the Carnegie Medal have included Arthur Ransome, C.S. Lewis, Terry Pratchett, Philip Pullman, Noel Streatfeild, Sally Gardner and Penelope Lively.

Previous winners of the Kate Greenaway Medal have included Raymond Briggs, Shirley Hughes, Janet Ahlberg, Lauren Child and former Children's Laureates Quentin Blake and Anthony Browne, as well as current Laureate Chris Riddell.

Which ones do you like best?