Category Archives: Awards

Erasing Kate Greenaway

Great article about the removal of Kate Greenaway’s name from what is now the Yoto Carnegie Medal for Illustration written by Dr Rose Roberto.

Erasing Kate Greenaway

Kate Greenaway and the Carnegie Medal for Illustration

In February of last year the news broke that Yoto had become the primary sponsor for the Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Medals and they would henceforth be known as the Yoto Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Medals.

In September of the same year there came an announcement that there was a wholesale rebranding, and that the Kate Greenaway Medal had become the Carnegie Medal for Illustration. I was surprised that the reaction to this was pretty muted, but there has been a lot going on and the majority of people outside of the awards circle had other things going on to take their attention.

More people noticed when the medal winners were announced in June. People’s heads popped up online and suddenly more folk were shocked that Kate Greenaway’s name had disappeared from the award was founded using her name. Interest and anger has been building steadily & quietly since then and on Monday a friend messaged me on social media with a link to a petition to return Kate Greenaway’s name to the award that had been set up by Rose Roberto, a Librarian and Historian, and Tamsin Rosewell, an Illustrator and bookseller.

The Kate Greenaway Medal is the oldest British literary award focused on illustration. It remains one of very few that highlights the contribution of illustrators and actively promotes the importance of their work. Kate Greenaway’s own work is a hugely important part of the heritage of the British Book Industry; she remains an influence on illustrators today and should also be recognised as one of Britain’s great female artists. In an age when illustrators’ names are still very often left off promotion and reviews for books, we feel it is vital to retain her name in association with this award...

You can access the petition & join the over 1600 people who have already added their names to it if you have an interest in celebrating illustrated works for children & recognizing one of the greatest British illustrators here:

News and Articles for more information:

New Sponsorship of the Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Medals by Matt Imrie

The Carnegies by Matt Imrie

Bring Back Kate Greenaway by Rose Roberto (archive link here)

CILIP responds to petition to bring back Kate Greenaway Medal (archive link here)

The Yoto Carnegies 2023 Shortlist

The Yoto Carnegies celebrate outstanding achievement in children’s writing and illustration and are unique in being judged by children’s and youth librarians, with the respective Shadowers’ Choice Medals voted for by children and young people.

Matt and I have both been judges for the awards, many moons ago, and it is and extraordinarily rigorous process involving reading and re-reading dozens of books and forming proper arguments as to why things should be shortlisted (or not…in fact sometimes I was very passionate about *not* letting something get further…), judges can’t just say “this is my favourite because it is cute”. So we love seeing the longlist and then shortlist announcement and imagining the conversations that went on for them to be the chosen few! I definitely have favourites in this year’s lists:

The 2023 Yoto Carnegie Medal for Writing longlist is (alphabetical by author surname):

·        The Light in Everything by Katya Balen (Bloomsbury Children’s Books)

·        When Shadows Fall by Sita Brahmachari, illustrated by Natalie Sirett (Little Tiger)

·        Medusa by Jessie Burton, illustrated by Olivia Lomenech Gill (Bloomsbury Children’s Books)

·        The Eternal Return of Clara Hart by Louise Finch (Little Island)

·        Needle by Patrice Lawrence (Barrington Stoke)

·        I Must Betray You by Ruta Sepetys (Hodder Children’s Books)

·        The Blue Book of Nebo by Manon Steffan Ros (Firefly Press) 

The 2023 Yoto Carnegie Medal for Illustration longlist is (alphabetical by illustrator surname):

·        Rescuing Titanic illustrated and written by Flora Delargy (Wide Eyed Editions)

·        Alte Zachen: Old Things illustrated by Benjamin Phillips, written by Ziggy Hanaor (Cirada Books)

·        The Worlds We Leave Behind illustrated by Levi Pinfold, written by A. F. Harrold (Bloomsbury Children’s Books)

·        The Visible Sounds illustrated by Yu Rong, written by Yin Jianling (UCLan Publishing)

·        The Comet illustrated and written by Joe Todd-Stanton (Flying Eye Books)

·        Saving Sorya: Chang and the Sun Bear illustrated by Jeet Zdung, written by Trang Nguyen (Kingfisher)

Click here to read more about the fantastic books that have been chosen.

Yoto Carnegies Longlists Announced

A total of 31 books have been recognised, with 15 books selected for the Yoto Carnegie Medal for Writing longlist, and 18 for the Yoto Carnegie Medal for Illustration – the stories range from intimate examinations of family life to sensitive introductions to societal issues impacting the world today, with many reflecting on past histories or looking to the future of our planet. Click here to read more about the fantastic books that have been chosen.

The lists include:

  • 25 books from 13 different independent publishers, including small presses Lantana, UCLan, Flying Eye Books, Child’s Play, Cicada, Otter-Barry Books, Little Island and Firefly Press.
  • Two books published by Bloomsbury Children’s Books longlisted in both Medal categories – a dazzling feminist retelling of the Greek myth, Medusa by Jessie Burton, illustrated by Olivia Lomenech Gill, andThe Worlds We Leave Behind, written by A. F. Harrold and hauntingly illustrated by Levi Pinfold. Pinfold is a previous winner of the Carnegie Medal for Illustration, formerly known as the Kate Greenaway, for Black Dog in 2013; Lomenech Gill was shortlisted in 2014 for Where My Wellies Take Me.
  • Katya Balen, who was awarded the Carnegie Medal for Writing and Shadowers’ Choice Award last year for October, October– her third novel, The Light in Everything is a moving story of blended families and embracing change.
  • 2017 Carnegie winner Ruta Sepetys for I Must Betray You, a YA thriller closely based on the real events of the Romanian Revolution of 1989.
  • Multi-shortlisted author Marcus Sedgwick, who has been longlisted posthumously forWrath – his first book for small independent publisher Barrington Stoke, who create books for dyslexic and reluctant readers.

Janet Noble, Chair of Judges for The Yoto Carnegies 2023, said:

“It is a great honour to be chairing the judging panel during another outstanding year for children’s publishing. We were taken on amazing reading journeys by haunting prose and powerful poetry and found delight in the evocative worlds of stunning illustration, and were able to explore an incredible variety of themes including belonging, friendship and the climate crisis. I commend all the authors and illustrators on their wonderful work, which will bring young readers so much joy and hope in these challenging times.”

The 2023 Yoto Carnegie Medal for Writing longlist is (alphabetical by author surname):

·         The Light in Everything by Katya Balen (Bloomsbury Children’s Books)

·         When Shadows Fall by Sita Brahmachari, illustrated by Natalie Sirett (Little Tiger)

·         Medusa by Jessie Burton, illustrated by Olivia Lomenech Gill (Bloomsbury Children’s Books)

·         The Blackthorn Branch by Elen Caldecott (Andersen Press)

·         Running with Horses by Jason Cockcroft (Andersen Press)

·         The Eternal Return of Clara Hart by Louise Finch (Little Island)

·         The Worlds We Leave Behind by A.F. Harrold, illustrated by Levi Pinfold (Bloomsbury Children’s Books)

·         Green Rising by Lauren James (Walker Books)

·         When Our Worlds Collided by Danielle Jawando (Simon & Schuster Children’s)

·         Needle by Patrice Lawrence (Barrington Stoke)

·         Julia and the Shark by Kiran Millwood Hargrave, illustrated by Tom de Freston (Orion Children’s Books)

·         Wrath by Marcus Sedgwick (Barrington Stoke)

·         I Must Betray You by Ruta Sepetys (Hodder Children’s Books)

·         The Silver Chain by Jion Sheibani (Hot Key Books)

·         The Blue Book of Nebo by Manon Steffan Ros (Firefly Press) 

The 2023 Yoto Carnegie Medal for Illustration longlist is (alphabetical by illustrator surname):

·         John Agard’s Windrush Child illustrated by Sophie Bass, written by John Agard (Walker Books)

·         Rescuing Titanic illustrated and written by Flora Delargy (Wide Eyed Editions)

·         Flooded illustrated and written by Mariajo Illustrajo (Frances Lincoln)

·         Journey to the Last River illustrated by Teddy Keen, written by The Unknown Adventurer (Frances Lincoln)

·         Medusa illustrated by Olivia Lomenech Gill, written by Jessie Burton (Bloomsbury Children’s Books)

·         The Fog Catcher’s Daughter illustrated by Alan Marks, written by Marianne McShane (Walker Books)

·         Once Upon a Tune illustrated and written by James Mayhew (Otter-Barry Books)

·         Dadaji’s Paintbrush illustrated by Ruchi Mhasane, written by Rashmi Sirdeshpande (Andersen Press)

·         Alte Zachen: Old Things illustrated by Benjamin Phillips, written by Ziggy Hanaor (Circada Books)

·         The Worlds We Leave Behind illustrated by Levi Pinfold, written by A. F. Harrold (Bloomsbury Children’s Books)

·         The Visible Sounds illustrated by Yu Rong, written by Yin Jianling (UCLan Publishing)

·         Choices illustrated and written by Roozeboos (Child’s Play)

·         The Queen in the Cave illustrated and written by Júlia Sardà (Walker Studio)

·         Saving the Butterfly illustrated by Gill Smith, written by Helen Cooper (Walker Books)

·         The Comet illustrated and written by Joe Todd-Stanton (Flying Eye Books)

·         The Queen on our Corner illustrated by Nia Tudor, written by Lucy Christopher (Lantana)

·         The Baker by the Sea illustrated and written by Paula White (Templar Books)

· Saving Sorya: Chang and the Sun Bearillustrated by Jeet Zdung, written by Trang Nguyen (Kingfisher)

The Carnegies

Well the latest news took me by surprise, actually it seems to have taken a lot of people by surprise, it may just be me but the name “The Carnegies” sounds more like a soap opera or sit-com – but wait, I am getting ahead of myself here.

Let’s rewind back to February of this year when the news broke that CILIP & Yoto had entered into a partnership for Yoto to become the headline sponsor of what was then known as the CILIP Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Awards, and that they were being renamed the Yoto Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Medals.

Being an inquisitive sort and having what may kindly be described as a possessive attachment to the awards (an affliction that most ex-judges seem to have) I reached out to the press people with some questions (see below) that I had put together after reading the press release several times.


  • How did the idea of a partnership between CILIP & Yoto with regards to the Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Awards come about?
  • How will this partnership work with books that do not have audio versions? Take for example, the 2020 Carnegie winner Lark by Anthony McGowan which is published by Barrington Stoke who do not currently offer audiobooks.
  • If no official audio versions are available, is there a deal with Calibre Audio or the RNIB Talking Books to offer the audio versions they make available for print disabled readers through Yoto?
  • If the answer to the previous question is yes, how will this affect the rights of copyright holders?
     Will CKG shortlisted titles available on Yoto be sold via the official book suppliers Peters or will they be exclusively available via the Yoto store?
  • Does CILIP endorse Yoto Player as the “official” audiobook device for the Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Awards in any way?
  • With fuel, transport & food costs skyrocketing across the UK is there a concern that the price of the Yoto Players and smartcards may be a barrier to equitable access?
  • How does CILIP envision Yoto being “able to engage and include more young people in reading the best books for pleasure”?
  • How will “audio content for promotion through point of sale for retail, libraries and schools” work? Will there be excerpts of the books available to download, interviews with authors/illustrators etc?
  • What does the Yoto Player offer to CKG Shadowing that audiobooks via digital library services like Overdrive and Playaway or CD audiobooks do not?
  • How will Yoto actually work with promoting the Kate Greenaway Award? It is a Medal for an “outstanding book in terms of illustration for children and young people” being a screen free device, the Yoto Player will not be able to show the best of the works nominated for it?
  • Do audiobooks downloaded onto the Yoto Player stay on the device until they are deleted or do they have to be redownloaded periodically?
  • Will Yoto smartcards be available through Public & School Libraries?
  • If no – why not?
  • If yes will there be a limit on the number of times each item is able to be loaned?

I was put in touch with Jake Hope, the Chair of the CKG Working Party and, after several e-mails back and forth we were able to arrange a date for a skype chat to discuss the sponsorship news.

The long-term battering that Public Libraries in the UK had been experiencing brought up the question of the awards sustainability and that they (CILIP) had been looking for sponsorship for quite some time, and, working with Agile Ideas to find new opportunities of spreading the messaging of the awards and increasing their reach they had been connected with Yoto. Jake stressed during the interview that it was less a partnership and more straightforward sponsorship deal. In Yoto CILIP had found an organization that was as driven by a passion for promoting reading for pleasure that matched the passion held by those that worked in driving the CKG awards forward.

Neither CILIP nor the CKG Working Party would endorse the Yoto Player as an official device, rather they see it as a new element of accessibility, joining the options already offered by their RNIB & Calibre Audio partners.

All in all Jake felt that the positives of the (not) partnership far outweighed any potential negatives and would make the awards sustainable for years to come.

I always enjoy chatting to Jake and for years have found him to be a nigh-inexhaustible well of information and great stories about the medals and librarianship in general. However, he was not able to answer any of the Yoto specific questions I had, the biggest one (in my mind anyway) being: How will Yoto actually work with promoting the Kate Greenaway Award? It is a Medal for an “outstanding book in terms of illustration for children and young people” being a screen free device, the Yoto Player will not be able to show the best of the works nominated for it?

Sadly, when I reached out to the Yoto, their press officer declined to participate in an interview or answer the questions I had via email as (and I am quoting here): Given that we worked closely with Jake on his kind replies to your recent enquiries, we feel we’ve responded to the queries as best we can at this stage.

They did however offer to send me a Yoto Player and some cards. It is a fantastic device and very child friendly – I will be posting a review of it in due course.

Unfortunately the questions I had for Yoto still remain unanswered – except for a clarification coming over the future of the Kate Greenaway Medal tht came out of the news today, and, sad to say, I think my concern was justified.

Now back to the news that broke today of the rebranding of the Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Medals as “The Carnegies” I found the documentation very interesting, but what caught my eye was this sentence in the Q&A document: The three-year sponsorship deal with Yoto Player, was secured on the basis that the brand would be refreshed

Was deemphasizing the Kate Greenaway Medal and making it just one of “The Carnegies” the price that CILIP and the working party had to pay to close the deal with Yoto? Instead of “elevating the illustration medal” as they claim, does this not just make it harder to stand out from the medal for writing? The medal for writing has historically always had a higher profile, but the awards were in no way dependent on each other. This is just my reading of it and I welcome being corrected, but my concern that an audio device sponsoring an illustration medal did not make complete sense seems to be borne out, it is easier to overlook it as the Carnegie Medal for Illustration than it was when it was the separate Kate Greenaway Medal.

The Carnegie Medal and the Kate Greenaway Medal were always two distinct awards and now the line between has been blurred and I feel that with this rebrand something is being lost.

It also looks as if The Carnegies are being positioned to appeal more to children. Historically the awards previously known as the Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Medals were awarded to writers for an outstanding book & artists recognizing distinguished illustration in a book (both for children). In the past judges have seldom voted for the popular choice, and many librarians who ran shadowing schemes complained that the books awarded the medals were often a hard sell to young readers who often selected other titles as shadower’s choices.

My feeling looking to the future is that there will be more changes coming down the pipeline, possibly splitting the Carnegie Medal for Writing into an older & younger award. This has always been rejected by the Working Party and everyone involved with the awards, but with the scale of the current changes, it remains impossible to rule out.

The muted response to this news on social media is also very telling; in the past, updates and changes to the awards have been hotly debated and discussed, but this refresh appears to have been received with little warmth, however, only time will tell as the news trickles down to everyone with an interest in the awards.

Something else I have noticed, the website for the Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Medals as they were ended in a indicating that it was a not-for-profit organization or charity. The address now points to  a new website ending in –  denoting a commercial domain address more commonly used by businesses. The address currently remains unclaimed.

Only time will tell if these changes will lead to a watering down of the awards and if they will move in a populist choice direction, becoming one of many book awards or if they will maintain their position as “the one that all authors and illustrators want to win. Indeed throughout their history the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals have provided a literary standard by which other books are measured…

I may be wrong, it is possible that I have been involved with the awards for so long that I am unable to see the good things that this may bring. Do you disagree with me? Let me know via

Also if any of of past and present awards judges from YLG that participated in the consultation group are interested in chatting to me (in confidence) please drop me an e-mail

Like Dominoes, the Slow Collapse of Children’s Book Awards

Hot on the heels of the surprise news of the Costa Book Awards being scrapped after 50 years, it was announced today, that after 22 years, the Blue Peter Book Awards have been cancelled.

The 21st Century hast not been kind to book awards that recognize children’s literature.

The first to fall was The Nestlé Smarties Book Prize which ran from 1985 to 2007.

The Booktrust Teenage Prize ran from 2003 to 2010

The Roald Dahl Funny Prize ran from 2008 to 2013.

The Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize ran from 1967 to 2016.

I have been interested in the sponsorship deal for the Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Awards with Yoto that was announced in February and have been poking around finding more information since then. The collapse of the Costa and Blue Peter Awards shows how vital financial security for book awards is to futureproof awards against rising costs and other issues that will inevitable come up.

No matter how worthy and popular book awards are, the simple truth is that they are not cheap, and no matter the good intentions or with the best will in the world, if you cannot fund them adequately then they will fall.


The Yoto Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Awards… what?

When I saw the announcement that the CILIP Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Medals had been renamed the Yoto Carnegie Greenaway Awards, my first thought was “What the heck is Yoto?”

So I started poking around.

Yoto is an old idea in 21st century packaging, gone are the books on audiocassette (or even CD or MP3 player) in is a child-friendly smart speaker (set up and monitored by parents via an app) that kids can control using RFID smart cards. The smart cards provide a link to stories on a server run by Yoto, these are downloaded to the player, once this is done parents can disconnect the wifi via the app which can also be used to link “stories, songs and sounds that you record yourself. Or use songs or audiobooks from your own collection – if you have a bunch of MP3s you’d like to make a playlist from. You can also make cards from our curated selection of radio stations and podcasts, so you can play these on your player directly from a card without needing to go via the app.

Yoto also offers a monthly subscription club for £9.99 per month or £99 per year with free shipping 10% discount on all purchases and two cards per month sent to your address. Full details here:

Online response seems to have been overwhelmingly positive:

To quote but a few.

It has been touted that this partnership will reach more people and inspire more children which is of course hard to refute, but only if people can afford to purchase the Yoto Player and all the books to be played on it.

In the UK the basic Yoto Player retails for £79.99 and the portable Yoto Mini goes for £49.99.

Smart card prices start at £1.99 for podcasts, with most books ranging between £4.99 to £11.99 with collections of cards going up to £19.99.

Having been keeping a close eye on news out of the UK and seeing the difficulties many families are having with food costs, travel high energy bills, I fear that these devices and the smart cards may be out of reach for many that may benefit from them.

As Joy has said, this partnership will make the CILIP CKG (actually the Yoto CKG) Awards more financially secure; but in return Yoto gets the implied imprimatur of CILIP and the CKG Awards themselves which have stood for outstanding quality since 1936 (Carnegie) and 1955 (Kate Greenaway).

At this point it is hard to see who would be getting the better end of the deal.

As a former CKG Judge I have strong feelings about the Awards and whenever something crops up concerning them I get concerned. These concerns may be meaningless but I will watch how things develop going forward while hoping for the best.

FInd out more about the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Awards here:

Find out more about Yoto Player here:

CKG21 Shortlists Announced!

The shortlists of the prestigious CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals, the UK’s oldest and best-loved book awards for children and young people, were announced today for 2021.

I’ve still got to read two of the Carnegie shortlist before I think about my personal winner, they’re so varied that I can only imagine the conversations the judges will have trying to pin down a winner, I’ve honestly loved all of those that I’ve read so far.

Again, two books I haven’t seen the inside of on the Greenaway list, but I’ve ordered them to shadow at school, really looking forward to sharing them with students! Fascinating fact on the announcement blog – this is the first shortlist ever that are all author-illustrator creations!

The winners will be announced on Wednesday 16th June, so get reading…

The Diverse Book Awards

This morning the longlists for The Diverse Book Awards were announced, created by The Author School to showcase the talent of marginalised voices, and the books started arriving at my house to read!

I’m really please that two of my fellow judges are actual teenagers, reading the children’s and YA lists, and the awards also teamed up with blogger and photographer Tenelle Ottley-Matthew, to help spread the love, so do keep your eye on her blog, insta and twitter!

The Children’s Longlist:

The YA Longlist:

The Adult Longlist:

To be eligible, the author has to be UK based and the book had to be published in the UK in 2019. I’ve already read all the YA and most of the children’s lists, all brilliant titles that I’m looking forward to rereading with the criteria in mind, to help choose the shortlist and eventual winner! I’ve read one of the grownup books so far…

The Diverse Book Awards calls for entries from UK-based authors & publishers

Authors and publishers are invited to enter a new book prize, open to fiction books that are traditionally published, self-published and everything in between; from January 13th to May 31st 2020.

The Diverse Book Awards is sponsored by Hashtag BLAK (a new imprint of indie publishing house Hashtag Press focused on diversity and inclusion) and Literally PR (award-winning literary PR and marketing agency).

  • The long-list will be announced in June 2020 (books will be called in at this time for judges to review).
  • The short-list will be announced in September 2020.
  • The winner from each category (YA, Adult & Children’s Fiction) will be announced at a Hashtag BLAK party in London in October 2020.

Abiola Bello, co-director of Hashtag Press and Hashtag BLAK, says: So much more can be done to raise levels of diversity and inclusion in publishing, but The Diverse Book Awards seeks to recognise and celebrate the amazing work that was done in 2019 by authors and publishers. In turn, hopefully more diverse and inclusive books will be published in the coming years.

Authors and publishers can submit any children’s, young adult or adult fiction book published in 2019 that features BAME and/or inclusive main characters.

Each of the three category winners will be awarded a trophy, certificate and a PR campaign organised by boutique agency Literally PR.

Hashtag BLAK is currently only for submissions ( / seeking adult and YA fiction from Black British writers. The aim is to publish the first book by the end of 2020, the second in 2021, and then submissions will be open to all under-represented voices. Hashtag BLAK is open to unsolicited / unagented manuscripts.

For complete details on how to enter please visit: