Category Archives: News

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)

Libraries & Lemonade

This summer, For The People invites you to join us in defending public libraries by talking with your neighbors. Hand out free lemonade to your community, and spread the word about what makes public libraries so great.

Participating in LIBRARIES & LEMONADE is easy: pick a day, time, and location for a lemonade stand, download and print out copies of the toolkit, and have conversations with your neighbors about public libraries over a cool refreshing cup of lemonade.

Find out more here:

Inkyard Press Closing

Publisher HarperCollins today announced that they were shuttering their imprint Inkyard Press and transitioning their titles to Harper Collins Children’s Books.

Inkyard was a well-known publisher of books for middle grade and teen readers. Their catalogue boasted a large number of titles written by a diverse group authors from minority communities.

As the tagline on their website states:

Inkyard Press publishes smart, engaging Middle Grade and YA fiction across a variety of genres, from realistic contemporary to epic fantasy. We are passionate about publishing diverse voices and giving our readers a chance to see themselves and each other in our books, with grateful acknowledgment to the work of Dr. Rudine Sims Bishop on the importance of “windows” and “mirrors” in literature.

Book-banners in Mississippi have removed kids access to ebooks

Mississippi Statute 39-3-25 has made it impossible for young readers under the age of 18 to have access to Libby, an eBook platform offered by Overdrive or Hoopla another popular streaming service offered by libraries without permission from parents or guardians.

BookRiot has a comprehensive article about this ban available here.

The Censorship of Maggie Tokuda-Hall’s Love in the Library

On Wednesday April 12, author Maggie Tokuda-Hall shared her experience of Scholastic wanting to feature her book Love in the Library in their Rising Voices Library

I reached out to the Scholastic communications team with some questions. You can read the text of the email I sent below.

Good afternoon, my name is Matt Imrie, I am the editor of the TeenLibrarian blog and newsletter, I hope that you are the correct person to contact about the questions I have about the recent post ( by author Maggie Tokuda-Hall that Scholastic recently made an offer to license her book Love in the Library contingent on removing the paragraph from the author’s note on racism. I have been writing a series of articles on challenges to books in school & public libraries and I am reaching out to Scholastic for comment on Maggie’s claims.

This is concerning, especially in the light of the current bans and challenges to books for young readers in school and public libraries that are occurring on a daily basis across the US.

Has Scholastic been engaged in censoring books to preclude the chance of challenges to works they publish? If so has this disproportionately affected authors & illustrators form minority communities or has this been happening cross the board?

They responded pretty promptly yesterday afternoon, attaching a message from Schoalstic President & CEO Peter Warwick:

No matter what Scholastic say or do now I fear the damage wrought by this harmful action may take a long time to heal, if it ever does.

The ripples are still being felt and will be for quite some time. Trust, once broken takes a long time to be rebuilt.

One of the original Scholastic Mentors, Joanna Ho posted a statement on her Instagram feed:

Dr Sayantani DasGupta a mentor for the Scholastic Rising Voices AANHPI Narratives collection resigned her mentorship:

Publishers Weekly has also covered the story here.

In this instance it appears that enough people stood up in solidarity to shake the walls of Scholastic enough to make them walk back their attempts at censorship. Once again it is a person from a minority group in the US that has been the focus of this attempt.

This is wrong and should not be happening, and it will not stop until enough of us stand together with the BIPOC people that bear the brunt of these attacks and demand genuine change and accountability so this does not keep happening.

Open Letter to Scholastic’s Education Solutions Division re: Censoring Authors:

Former mentor Dr DasGupta has also revealed that the exclusion of queer voices in previous Rising Voices collections was systemic:

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.

Newsletter: January 2023

THe January issue of the TeenLibrarian Newsletter is now available


After a fairly fallow year in 2022, the TeenLibrarian Newsletter returns and will hopefully be more regular this year!

This newsletter contains a link to the amazing Dark is Rising podcast – a must listen for any fans of Susan Cooper’s phenomenal series and a perfect introduction for anyone who has not yet discovered this amazing work of literature for young readers.

For anyone working in a primary setting there is a link to study looking to explore elementary/primary teachers’ awareness of children’s authors, so if you are one or know of any please pass this on to them as there is also a chance to win a set of books by the award-winning Mini Grey.

America comics fans will be excited to discover that the absolutely amazing weekly comic The Phoenix is now available in the US, speaking personally as a long-time fan (all the way back to The DFC) I am thrilled as I will get to introduce the comics to my daughter who is at just the right age, seriously this comic is as near to perfect for all ages as anything I have yet read!

I have brought back my joke in a mug passive program that went on hiatus for obvious reasons for a few years and am sharing the resources I put together to offer this in my library. Also available is a link to my downloadable calendar of events throughout the year, covering most days with at least one special day that can be used to set up book lists or library displays.

A link to the UK Holocaust Memorial Day Trust for people looking for resources about or around the Holocaust is also included as is a link to my Crafty Scotsman Craft Activity for anyone wanting a light activity for Burns Night.

Lastly there are links for those wishing to put together activities and displays for the UK LGBTQ History Month or the US Black History Month.

For those of you new to this newsletter please do go and check out its parent site for 16 years worth of news, reviews and library-related resources.

On December 19 2022 the BBC World Service released the first episode of a podcast adaptation of Susan Cooper’s classic novel The Dark is Rising. between December 21st & 31st 11 more episodes covering the entirety of the story were released.

The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper was adapted by Simon McBurney and Robert Macfarlane for the BBC World Service and can be accessed from wherever you get your podcasts or directly from the BBC here:

Broadening the Bookshelf
If you teach primary school students aged 4-11 or work with teachers that do, Teacher-Librarian Chris Baker is looking for people to participate in a study exploring elementary/primary teachers’ awareness of children’s authors.

To find out more information and participate in the survey you can follow this link:
Barrington Stoke Catalogue 2023 
Barrington Stoke is one of my favourite UK publishers and is probably the one I miss the most living and working in the US as I do now.

If you work in the UK or somewhere you can easily order their books then this 2023 catalogue will definitely be of interest:

I am pretty sure that most (if not all) of my UK subscribers are aware of the The Phoenix comic but those of you who are based in the US may be interested in finding out more seeing as the Phoenix is now available to subscribers over here!

The Phoenix is a weekly magazine for 7–14 year olds that’s packed with incredible comics, drawing guides, and plenty more that inspires kids to get reading, writing, and drawing!  You can sign up for a six issues for $1 subscription to find out if you or the small people in your life and work would like to sign up for a longer stretch (and trust me you will).

Many of their most popular strips have been collected as graphic novels and are available in US libraries. These include Corpse Talk (also available as an animated web series), Bunny vs MonkeyMega Robo Bros and more!

To find out more you can follow this link:
Programming Idea: Jokes in a Mug
A passive programme that I have found to be very successful is setting out a mug containing jokes on the service desk.

It has been attracting library patrons of all ages and has a dedicated band of followers who now come in on a regular basis just to pick up a joke.

If you are interested in testing it out, all you need is a mug/cup and a discrete sign advertising hat is on offer. You can collect a range of jokes and reuse them as statistically people would grab a different joke each time.For those of you who may not have the time to hunt down jokes suitable for all ages I have a selection available to download below.
Space and science fiction jokes
One Liners
Display Calendar
If anyone is searching for a simple annual calendar of special days and observances I have compiled one that can be downloaded here:
Holocaust Memorial Day 
The UK-based Holocaust Memorial Day Trust has made resources available that can be used to educate library users in schools as well as public libraries about the Holocaust and other genocides that have occurred across the world.
These resources can be accessed here:
Burns Night
For those of us who are Scottish (or have Scottish ancestry) Burns night is a celebration of all things Scottish around the life and works of the national poet of Scotland Rabbie Burns.

I put together a Crafty Scotsman Craft Activity for Burns Night or just any time you would like to colour in and dress up a burly Scotsman in a range of exciting outfts:

February Resources
In the UK February is recognized as LGBTQ+ History Month, one of the resources I have available for download on my site is a collection of posters celebrating LGBTQ+ authors. These can be downloaded here:

In the US Black History Month is celebrated, some of the resources I have put together include:
I hope that 2023 will be kind to us all and remember that even though the world can sometimes feel cold and unfeeling, the work we do is an antidote that for all the people we serve and we can be the same for each other.

You are always welcome to reach out to say hi and/or share whatever you have been working on!

Thank you for reading and I hope you stick around!


If you would like to subscribe to the newsletter and/or read back issues you can do so here:

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:

Empathy Day 2022


EmpathyLab launches its 2022 Read for Empathy book collection at a time when empathy has never been needed more. An expert judging panel has selected 60 books for 4-16 year-olds, each chosen to empower an empathy-educated generation.

The primary collection features 35 books for 4-11 year olds; the secondary collection has 25 books for 12-16 year olds. 43% of the collection are by authors of colours, and there are seven illustrators of colour. Many of the books help readers understand the lives of those experiencing tough situations, from becoming homeless, or a refugee. Others help children build their understanding of emotions or inspire positive action towards the climate or animals or people in their community.

Primary list
Secondary list

Free guides for parents & educators here: