All posts filed under: Carnegie Medal Winners

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The Bunker Diary by Kevin Brooks (The Book that Changed Children’s Literature for Me, Forever)

Kevin Brooks is an English author of predominately young-adult novels, many of which deal with themes rarely covered in other literature aimed towards this demographic. The Bunker Diary, published in 2013, is one of these progressive novels, it is also one of the most harrowing books I have ever read. I cannot put enough emphasis on how chilling and disturbing I found this novel. There seems to be some unwritten rule that there must be some sort of equilibrium when it comes to books for younger readers. The Bunker Diary defies this rule with one of the most terrifying endings to a story I have ever had to endure. The book was the controversial winner of 2014 Carnegie Medal. The Telegraph went on to ask “Why wish this book on a child?” and labelled the novel “a vile and dangerous story”.  I have to agree that this is a dangerous and vile story, but it is also brave and radical, and I happen to wish more older children would pick this book up! I can’t believe I fell for it. It …

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The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

Neil Gaiman is a prolific author who has produced work across a variety of different platforms from short stories, novels, graphic books and even writing for theatre, television and film. He is also one of my favourite authors. Gaiman has won many prestigious awards over the course of his career including the  Hugo, Nebula, and Bram Stoker awards. Gaiman was the first author to win both the Newbery and Carnegie medals for The Graveyard Book and also bagged the Hugo and Locus Award, for a book which is considered by many his finest work written for young readers. “You’re always you, and that don’t change, and you’re always changing, and there’s nothing you can do about it.” Gaiman’s initial idea for The Graveyard Book began in 1985 where he pondered around the concept of writing something similar to The Jungle Book, but set in a graveyard. The idea was put on hold by Gaiman as he believed he was “not yet a good enough writer”, every few years he would revisit the story and come to the same conclusion. Eventually Gaiman decided …

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Skellig by David Almond

David Almond is one of the most respected authors for children and young adults in the world. He was awarded the International Hans Christian Andersen Award in 2010 for his contribution to children’s literature, this contribution starting with his much loved and debut novel, Skellig (1998). Published in the UK by Hodder, the novel went on to win the Whitbread Children’s Book of the Year and the Carnegie Medal. In 2007, for the 70th anniversary of the British Carnegie Medal, Skellig was named in the top ten medal-winning works and certified itself as one of the greatest ever books for young readers. “What are you?” I whispered. He shrugged again. “Something,” he said. “Something like you, something like a beast, something like a bird, something like an angel.” He laughed. “Something like that.” Beautiful, raw and inspiring. Skellig is a masterpiece, personally it opened up a whole new world of children’s literature I had never stepped in to before. The novel follows a young boy called Michael who has just moved into a new house with his mother, father and newborn baby …

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A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness – From an original idea by Siobhan Dowd

In my opinion this is one of the greatest books written predominantly for young readers in the last decade. Pure and  intense emotion pours from each and every page.  The initial idea for A Monster Calls belongs to Siobhan Dowd, who sadly passed in 2007 due to terminal breast cancer. In 2009 Dowd posthumously won the Carnegie Medal for her novel Bog Child (2008) and though she sadly passed before being able to create the monster she dreamed of, the exceptional Patrick Ness was “handed a baton,” by Walker Books and brought Dowd’s idea to life. Ness is an acclaimed novelist for young readers, winning the Carnegie in 2011 for  Monsters of Men (2010) and then again in 2012, consecutively, for A Monster Calls (2011). Ness has said since the publication of the book that when Walker Books asked him to take Dowd’s idea and write a novel he knew he would never be able to imitate Dowd. Instead Ness approached the story in an attempt to write a book Dowd would love. I believe he has succeeded. “Stories are important, the monster said. They can be more important …

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The Owl Service by Alan Garner

The Owl Service is a certified children’s classic! First published in 1967, Alan Garner went on to win the Carnegie Medal and the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize with his unsettling tale of a family holiday in a Welsh valley. “SHE IS HERE, THE LADY. SHE WANTS TO BE FLOWERS, BUT YOU MAKE HER OWLS. ALWAYS IT IS OWLS, ALWAYS WE ARE DESTROYED.” From the very beginning this story gave me the creeps. I think the thought of hearing something moving around in your attic is a rather universal fear. What Alison, Roger and Gwyn find in the attic is actually fairly bizarre, a dinner service, the plates decorated with floral owls. The discovery of these plates sparks a series of odd events, strange behaviour and an unwavering sinister undertone throughout. The tension which Garner builds constantly finally comes to a head in what I found a rather abrupt, dare I say, unsatisfying ending. This and at times what I found clunky dialogue are my only real criticisms of the book. The story itself is a modern retelling, or as Garner …