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70 Years Celebration


CILIP Carnegie Medal
Judges' comments on the shortlist

Orion (Age range: 10+)
ISBN: 9781842552735

In the year 1203, nine companions set out from Wales on a great pilgrimage across Europe to Jerusalem. Not all of them will come home. At the heart of the drama is Gatty, a field-girl. Eager, bold and resolute, and wide open to new experience, she has an extraordinary journey of her own to make.

This enjoyable and beautifully written book, offers us strong, believable characters, with different perspectives and cultures. The rollercoaster plot gives the reader a tremendous picture of medieval life. This is a moving and hopeful story that plays with language and offers a wonderful, satisfying ending.

Penguin (Age range: 12+)
ISBN: 9780141382807

In Ruby Winter's world, colour opens some doors and slams others shut. Her opulent Johannesburg neighbourhood is a far cry from the streets of Soweto, where anger and hatred simmer beneath the surface. Everyone around her is conscious of race, colour and creed; but not Ruby.

A multi-faceted and poignant novel that examines the way events profoundly affect some, whilst disengaging others. Glass builds up considerable tension through her use of language; a thought-provoking read about the extent to which one young person is able to make sense of the seismic events taking place around her.

(Age range: 10+)
ISBN: 9780330443111

Adam is a Christian who hears that dust from Jerusalem could save his mother's soul, and eagerly accepts a Knight's invitation to be a servant on a Crusade, however it's not long before he finds himself in the front line. Meanwhile, Salim has a peaceful upbringing as a Moslem in the port of Acre. With invasion imminent, his father apprentices him to a Jewish doctor. He's just settling to his new life when the mighty Sultan sends for the doctor. Salim finds himself confronting the enemy and coming face to face with a fellow teenager - the young Adam.

This is a beautifully realised story which unfolds with immaculate pace and plotting. The passage of time is convincingly depicted, and the novel gives us well-handled insights into the various characters, their creeds and their concerns.

Walker (Age range: 12+)
ISBN: 9781406303315

Siki is a 14 year-old Apache Indian girl living on the Mexican border. She is orphaned along with her 4 year-old brother Tazhi. When the Mexicans ride against the Apache, Siki witnesses Tazhi's brutal murder. In seeking revenge for her brother she has no choice but to become a warrior, overcoming all prejudice to fight as a woman alongside the men folk of her tribe.

This well researched novel contains accomplished descriptions of both landscape and character, and perfectly captures the unremitting sadness and tension of the Apache girl's world. Her grief and sorrow are beautifully handled. A book with lasting emotional impact which gives the reader a rich experience of an unfamiliar culture.

Scholastic (Age range: 12+)
ISBN: 9780439955331

"There's nothing a man can do that can't be turned into a tale...". Britain. AD 500. Gwyna's new master Myrddin says he's not an enchanter, yet he works his own kind of magic. He turns Gwyna from a slave-girl into a goddess, a boy, and a spy - and Arthur into a legend. But is Arthur really everything he is cracked up to be?

A page-turner of a novel, with a well-constructed plot and believable characters that engage the reader from the off. The landscape and setting of the time are skilfully drawn. Reeve cleverly makes the story relevant to today by examining the versions of history that are handed down to us, and the ways in which myths are created. An enjoyable and thought-provoking book.

Penguin (Age range: 12+)
ISBN: 9780141383439

A remote boys public school complete with nineteenth century architecture and values to match is the setting for a novel set nearly fifty years ago. It's 1962 and the understandably reluctant hero, who has already been expelled from two schools, arrives at St Oswald's to start again. With its code of conduct, and the importance attached to rank, loyalty and cross country runs it provides an unlikely setting for a story of first love; a story that challenges many contemporary perceptions even half a century later.

A beautiful coming-of-age novel with an outstanding sense of time and place, which vividly captures the individual voice of its central character. Full of gorgeous, striking imagery, it is a bold and brave examination of gender and otherness.

HarperCollins (Age range: 12+)
ISBN: 9780007214457

A teenage boy spots Violet Park, or rather her ashes, in an urn sitting on a shelf in a cab company's office at 5 o'clock in the morning. This sets him thinking about his Mum, his absent father and what's right for people when they die. With the help of his Gran he gets hold of the urn and sets about rescuing Violet Park: who is she and where does she really belong? Finding Violet Park turns about to be an extraordinarily revealing coincidence, not just for her.

A comic and enjoyable novel, cleverly plotted and full of dark humour. The first-person style is very appealing, and gives us a lively and believable hero who finds himself in surreal situations. Valentine takes a serious subject and handles it in a realistic way but with a nice light touch. The ending is bittersweet but satisfying.


18 April 2008