Meet The Judges

The CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Judges 2017

Tricia Adams

Chair of CKG Judges 2017

As a professional librarian with more years’ experience than I care to mention – I have worked in several sectors including government libraries and as a self-employed information specialist but have come back to my favourite – of working with children, in various guises, for the last 20+ years. This has included a spell as a primary school librarian, before moving back to public libraries in my home county of Northamptonshire, where I have been Head of Children’s and Young People’s Public Library Services and the manager of the Schools’ Library Service – Learning Resources for Education.

I have been Director of the School Library Association since 2008. I had the honour to be Chair of the judging panel and YLG during 2008 and am highly privileged to be looking forward to fulfilling those roles again in 2017.

A lifelong love of reading and collecting children’s books, amongst other genres, has created a collection so large that the house has to be extended every few years!

Ruth Parsons

Eastern CKG 2017 Judge

I can’t remember life before books. Thank you, parents. One of my earliest memories is Peter Puffer’s Fun Book. In it were a friendly steam engine, a map in the front, and the thrilling rescue of some ducklings from Mr Fox. I still love books with travel, adventure and characters I want to meet. My father took me on library visits. Luton library had a fountain at the entrance, which I adored. At five I was happily reading alone, as well as writing my own reading scheme – Ruth’s Book of ABC – for my friends. At school, my teacher told me to put down Anne of Green Gables so I could show that I could read Puffing Billy. I wanted more from books than this dull steam engine, and said so.

My school library was always a second home. I even worked there in my year off after A-Levels. I studied English, and became a secondary school teacher. Then, two years ago, I went back to my first love, becoming a library assistant in our large and thriving local high school.

I love helping readers find the perfect book for them. Whatever you enjoy, there's an author who shares your passion. Ready for something new? There are books that will stretch your imagination. Our Year 7 groups love discussing the books on the Carnegie shortlists and choosing their favourites.

Thank you, YLG Eastern Region, for choosing me to represent you on this great reading adventure.

Tracey Frohawk

East Midlands CKG 2017 Judge

2001 was the start of an amazing adventure for me; I became a school librarian and the joys it has brought me are second to none. The highlight of my career was winning the Best School Library in Northamptonshire 2010/2011 as my hard work and dedication had been recognised and appreciated by our local School Library Service – Learning Resources for Education; who ran the initiative.

I like to think of myself as quirky and passionate always encouraging and inspiring students to read, I have been fortunate enough to invite Stormtroopers to an event in my school Library and have also been lucky enough to run a ‘TopGear’ event for World Book Day; spending the day with ‘The Stig’ who was an ideal Library user – he was VERY quiet! Okay, so don’t get too excited, the students had to race a toy car around the school Library and collect ‘Stigs’ from the books……I have a feeling I may have been duped because I’m sure I didn’t get to meet the real Stig!

Starting my second year as a judge coincides with my second year at Weston Favell Academy; both roles complement each other as I am using the knowledge and experience I have gained as a judge and sharing it with my students; inspiring and engaging them with my passion about reading and also my tales of meeting so many astonishing authors, illustrators and wonderful bookish people. I truly feel honoured to be a part of the oldest children’s book awards in the country and making history with my fellow judges!

Caroline Fielding

London CKG 2017 Judge

I started my library career as a volunteer during the summer of 2004 and have been working with children and young people ever since (so 12 years). I got a library assistant job in the same library at the end of that summer and enjoyed being in public libraries for the next few years, achieving my MA in Librarianship at UCL in 2007 while working, until I decided to make the move to a school library in 2009. I had my daughter in 2015 and currently, after a year’s maternity leave, am working part time as Librarian in a Special School. I’ve been on the CILIP YLG London committee for 6 years. I find it funny that I spent my teenage years reading grown up books but, having been working in children’s libraries most of my adult life, I basically only read from children’s lists!

Jennie Hillyard

North East CKG 2017 Judge

Despite working outside of public libraries in my career as the Librarian at the North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers, my interest in Children’s Literature has continued throughout my life. I was lucky enough to study it as part of my English degree at Newcastle University and found it fascinating to look at picture books from a critical perspective for the first time. My dissertation for my MA also reflected my position: “Adults Reading Children’s Fiction in Public Libraries” after discovering the embarrassment a number of my friends felt at continuing to borrow children’s fiction as adults.

I continue to benefit from Newcastle University’s public lecture programme thanks to the Children’s Literature Unit and Seven Stories.

I enjoy working with children and young people when they visit the Mining Institute and our special collections and seeing their reaction to the history within the building. I have been able to stay connected to the world of Children’s Fiction thanks to YLG North East and their events and I am also currently chair of CILIP North East Regional Members Network.

I was overjoyed to be asked to be part of the judging panel for the Carnegie and Greenaway awards; it has been a dream since I discovered that ordinary librarians judge this prestigious award. I am looking forward to having a valid excuse for spending large portions of my time reading for the next two years!

Karen Poolton

North West CKG 2017 Judge

I feel very old when I realise that I now have over 30 years’ experience of working with children and young people in school and public libraries.

After graduating, I worked for a year as a Reference Librarian in the West Midlands before moving to the North West, where I took up a post as a school librarian in a secondary school. This gave me my first experience of working with young people and I loved it, staying there for a long time, including two maternity leave periods.

In 2000 I took up a post with Warrington Libraries managing a dual-use library. My role changed to managing staff in a group of community libraries but I always kept the dual-use library and continued to be their school librarian. This period widened my experience considerably beyond working with teenagers in school, but encouraging young people to read has always been my passion and, six years ago, when I was going to lose any direct work with children I decided to move back into a school environment. I'm now thoroughly enjoying my role as a Librarian at St Bede’s College in Manchester.

I have been involved with the North West YLG committee for over 10 years and feel really privileged (as well as excited and nervous) to be able to represent them as their Carnegie Greenaway judge.

Tanja Jennings

Northern Ireland CKG 2017 Judge

I have always had a passion for stories. One of my favourite books is my great-grandmother’s copy of The Arabian Nights because it smells of history and is full of strange and fantastical happenings. Childhood reads that captured me the most include the imaginative ‘The Wind in the Willows’, ‘The Water Babies’, ‘The Dr Dolittle’ stories and the ‘Nancy Drew’ mysteries. ‘The Tiger Skin Rug’, ‘The Haunted House’, ‘Owl Babies’ and ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ are among my top rated picture books.

My love of literature led to me working in libraries and completing an MA in English, an MSC in Econ and Library Information Studies and a PG Dip in Children’s Literature. Since 2004 I have been delighted to be the school librarian at Wellington College Belfast sharing my love of books, organising reading promotion events and author talks, assisting students as a Reading Partnership tutor, publicising the library on social media and contributing book reviews to The School Librarian, Which Book and The Book Bag.

As the Northern Ireland Co-ordinator for the Kids’ Lit Quiz I have had the pleasure of organising the NI heat and coaching enthusiastic teams since 2006 with a global win in 2007 in Oxford and a World Final placing in 2010.

Last year I was honoured and thrilled to be invited to be involved with such a prestigious award as CKG. I am excited to embark on a new year meeting first time judges and feel stimulated by the wonderful range of teen fiction and sumptuous picture books being published today.

Jennifer Horan

Scotland CKG 2017 Judge

I love books and I love libraries, and truly believe I have the best job in the world fusing the two.

I qualified as a librarian in 2011, after spending six years working as a library assistant in public libraries. My first professional post was as a school librarian, working in the sector for 2 ½ years before starting my current post as a Network Librarian. Although based in a secondary school, I enjoy much variety in my job – my typical day ranges from teaching students information skills and organising school reading groups to running a reminiscence session in the local care home and leading a Bookbug session in the local library.

Before studying librarianship, I trained as a primary school teacher and spent an incredibly humbling seven years volunteering in a children’s hospice. I joined YLG in 2014.

When not hanging about libraries or reading copious books, I enjoy baking, singing and walking in the countryside.

I’m really excited about my second year as a Carnegie judge.

Jenny Hawke

South East CKG 2017 Judge

I started working in libraries when I left school in the 1980s with Southwark Libraries and helped run under-fives sessions and storytelling events, which I loved. After qualifying I spent a number of years as a trade union librarian but, whilst chartering I decided I wanted to go back into public libraries. During chartership I joined the YLG and went to a number of events and training activities and also set up a school library from scratch, which was exhausting but incredibly rewarding. I have now worked for Bromley Libraries for seven years and have set up and run a number of children’s reading groups within my own branch which have catered for all ages from young children up to teens. With all these groups we have shadowed the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway medals.

I have always been passionate about children’s literature and children’s library services and promoting books to children and parents. I’m particularly interested in YA reading and helped to set up, and now regularly provide content for, the teen web page of the Bromley Libraries web site. Meeting authors, illustrators, publishers and other librarians has enthused and inspired me. Hosting author events for children who come to my children/teen groups have been very successful and enjoyable.

I am committed to developing the reading skills and habits of children and young people and believe playing an active role within the judging process will strengthen and boost this commitment. I’m very much looking forward to meeting the other judges and discussing the nominated books with them. I feel this position is an honour and a privilege and I’m very keen to get started.

Hilary Gow

South West CKG 2017 Judge

Reading is one of my favourite things. I have always been entranced by the magic world that a good book allows you to enter, but I never imagined I would work in a library or that I would one day be a Carnegie Greenaway judge. However, after having a family and doing many odd jobs (including renovating pianos) I had the fantastic opportunity of working as a library assistant at Bournemouth University in 1990. They sponsored me to do a part-time PG Diploma in Information Management. In 1998 I got a job in Bournemouth public libraries as a Community Librarian and spent my first week persuading the Fire Service to send an engine and some firemen along to a children’s event where we were going to make a fire engine out of cardboard boxes. In September 2001 I was seconded to Bournemouth’s first Surestart Children’s Centre where I spent a happy 5 years reading stories to families before returning to Bournemouth Libraries as their Bookstart and Early Years Librarian. Over the past 11 years I have worked with all ages of children and young people aiming to encourage and perpetuate their love of reading. I do feel a bit apprehensive about the number of books I will be reading over the next few months but I am also very excited about it. I wonder what the other judges will be like and which winners we will choose.

Martha Lee

Wales CKG 2017 Judge

I’ve loved reading, books and libraries since I was a child. My mother, who is also a librarian (I guess it must run in the family!), inspired me to read widely and was influential in turning me into a devoted reader. Some of my best memories are of tagging along to author events in the library with my sisters and seeing some of my favourite authors talk at the Hay Festival and on some occasions actually meeting them – star struck!

I’ve worked in libraries for over 10 years, starting when I was 16 years old as a supply assistant during the school holidays. I went onto University where I studied History of Art, which was incredibly interesting but not an area I wanted to pursue as a career. I came back to libraries after I graduated in 2010 and realised this was where I belonged. I began an MSc in Library and Information Studies via distance learning at Aberystwyth University which I’ve recently completed, luckily just in time to start reading for the awards! I’ve been working as a Community Librarian for the past two years and am just about to begin a new post as an Academic Librarian in a University Art Library.

I joined YLG after chatting to one of my colleagues who is on the committee, she made it sound so interesting; the perfect way to develop professionally and also build on my interest in children’s and young adult literature.

I can’t describe just how excited and privileged I feel to be a member of the CILIP Carnegie/Greenaway panel of judges this year and I can’t wait to get started on my final year.

Amy Powell

West Midlands CKG 2017 Judge

I have always loved reading, and books and libraries played a huge part in my childhood. I’ll never forget the smell of my local library as a child and the feeling of excited anticipation I felt when walking in there, ready to choose my books for the next fortnight! Enid Blyton and Roald Dahl were my two favourite authors and I can remember getting my Nan to read stories from ‘The Magic Faraway Tree Collection’ over and over again. I remember taking out a copy of Esio Trot when I was 6 years old, it had just come out and I was the first person to borrow it from Shrewsbury Library, I was adamant that I would read it on my own, although the ‘tortoise language’ probably made this slightly more confusing!

During school and college my love of the classics grew and while studying for my English degree I fell in love with dystopian fiction, reading any example I could lay my hands on!

I became a qualified Librarian in 2008 and have worked as Librarian for Children and Young People for Telford and Wrekin Libraries since then. I love my job and the diversity it has, being able to promote my passion of reading and libraries to others has to be the best job in the world. I have worked closely with many local schools over the years and engaged with them in a variety of projects including ‘Telford Book Awards’, ‘Summer reading Challenge’ and ‘Carnegie Greenaway Shadowing Groups’. I have been a part of West Midlands YLG for 6 years and have been the West Midlands rep on the National YLG committee for the last 3 years. All of which have given me great pleasure. I have read all of the nominated titles for Carnegie and Greenaway for the last two years and am thrilled and honoured to be on the panel for real this year!

Alison Cassels

Yorkshire & Humber CKG 2017 Judge

I was a passionate reader from my early years but realised I could work with books as a career on a work experience placement at a primary school. To keep me busy, they asked me to sort out the library and I thought ‘I could do this all the time!’ I’ve now worked in libraries for over 35 years in Cambridgeshire, Hampshire and currently in Wakefield. I’ve done a wide variety of jobs but I’ve always loved working with children ever since the day I first read ‘Harry the Dirty Dog’ to a Storytime group. I don’t know if they were hooked on storytelling by this experience, but I was.

My job title of Library Officer for Reading involves everything covered by the SC Universal offer for Reading including stock selection, promotion and reader development for both adults and children. I particularly love anything that involves talking about books, from author visits to Readers groups for all ages, so I’m very excited to have this opportunity to take part in a national book award.

Being a Carnegie and Greenaway judge in their 80th and 60th anniversary years will be an enormous privilege and pleasure.