Entertainment & Arts

Children's authors vie for Carnegie Medal

Anne Fine and her book Blood Family Image copyright Handout
Image caption Anne Fine has won the Carnegie Medal twice before, for Flour Babies in 1992 and Goggle-eyes in 1989

Former children's laureate Anne Fine, who has won the CILIP Carnegie Medal twice before, is going for a hat-trick with her latest tale Blood Family.

The acclaimed book sees police rescue a boy from his mother's abusive partner.

This year's other contenders include The Times arts critic Rachel Campbell-Johnston for The Child's Elephant and Katherine Rundell's Rooftoppers.

The winners will be announced on 23 June, along with the Kate Greenaway Medal for illustrated children's books.

Both prestigious prizes are voted for by UK librarians, with previous Carnegie winners including CS Lewis and Arthur Ransome, and celebrated illustrators Quentin Blake and Shirley Hughes both winners of the Greenaway.

This year's Carnegie shortlist features several stories about captivity, including Julie Berry's All the Truth That's in Me about a missing girl returning home, Kevin Brooks' The Bunker Diary, about a boy kept hostage underground and children snatched and forced to become soldiers in The Child's Elephant.

Ghost Hawk by Susan Cooper and Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead and The Wall by William Sutcliffe are also in the running.

"We know that children's authors and illustrators say that these are the awards that they 'most want to win'," said Helen Thompson, the Chair of the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway judging panels, calling the shortlists "superbly strong".

Image copyright Handouts
Image caption Both new and experienced writers and illustrators have made the shortlist for the Carnegie Medal (top row) and Kate Greenaway Medal (bottom row)

The shortlist for the Kate Greenaway Medal includes two nominations for US illustrator Jon Klassen, for his book This Is Not My Hat and his collaboration with Lemony Snicket, The Dark.

Icelandic newcomer Birgitta Sif is nominated for her first children's book, Oliver, and Olivia Gill has brought the story of husband and wife team Michael and Clare Morpurgo's poetry anthology to life in Where My Wellies Take Me. The Paper Dolls is also nominated for Rebecca Cobb's illustrations, working with another former children's laureate Julia Donaldson.

The shortlist is completed by Oliver Jeffers for The Day the Crayons Quit, written by Drew Daywalt, and Dave McKean's Mouse, Bird, Snake, Wolf - his third collaboration with former Carnegie winner David Almond.

"Exciting debuts jostle with the established, using richly varied and hugely accomplished illustration styles and design techniques," said judge Thompson.

"Books that will appeal to both the young and older alike, with wry humour, gorgeous colour palates, and flights of the imagination."

However, she added that there was no sign of the recent debate over gender bias in children's books, "with all of the books holding great appeal for both boys and girls - placing fantastic storytelling at their heart."

Image copyright Handout
Image caption US illustrator Jon Klassen is nominated for his collaboration with Lemony Snicket and his own book This Is Not My Hat

She continued: "Books that tackle dark themes, such as kidnap, war and orphaned children, but which do so with humanity, sensitivity and, in places, lyricism. The result is some fantastically gripping and moving stories, of outstanding quality."

Winners each receive their medals and £500 worth of books to donate to their local library, while the winner of the Kate Greenaway Medal has also been awarded the £5,000 Colin Mears Award cash prize since 2000.

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