By Dennis Abrams
Roddy Doyle, who won the 1993 Man Booker Prize for Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha, is on the shortlist for the UK’s most prestigious children’s book award, the Carnegie medal for his story of four generations of women (and a ghost) from one Irish family, Greyhound of a Girl. Should he win, he will be one of only two authors who have received both awards – the other is Penelope Lively, who won the Booker Prize in 1987 for Moon Tiger, and the Carnegie Medal 1973 for The Ghost of Thomas Kempe
Doyle faces stiff competition, including Sally Gardner, this year’s Costa children’s book award-winner for Maggot Moon, her story of a 15 year old dyslexic boy living in a dystopian England in the 1950s.
Also on the eight member list are three debut novelists – RJ Palacio, Sarah Crossan and Dave Shelton. None of the eight have ever received the Carnegie.
Karen Robinson, chair of the judging panel, said of this year’s short list, “Masterful storytelling is in evidence in the Carnegie list, with powerful narratives leaping out and pulling the reader in. Big themes such as family death, disfigurement, genocide and the devastating aftermath of the Haiti earthquake are handled with honesty, style and beauty.”
Given along with the Carnegie is the Kate Greenaway medal for “outstanding illustration in a children’s book.” This year’s shortlist contains two previous winners – Helen Oxenbury (who won her first Greenaway medal 44 years ago for The Quangle Wangle’s Hat (and) The Dragon of an Ordinary Family), with King Jack and the Dragon and Emily Gravett (who first one in 2005 for Wolves) with Again!. If either of them wins, it would the first time anyone has ever received a third medal, but they are up against strong competitors: Rebecca Cobb, Chris Haughton, Jon Klassen, Chris Mould, Levi Pinfold, and Salvatore Rubbino.
The winners of the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway medals will be announced on Wednesday, June 19th, at a ceremony at the Natural History Museum in London. Winners will receive £500 worth of books to donate to their local library, along with gold medals. The Kate Greenaway medal winner will also be awarded the £5,000 Colin Mears Award cash prize.
The Complete Carnegie Medal Shortlist
- The Weight of Water, Sarah Crossan, Bloomsbury
- A Greyhound of a Girl, Roddy Doyle, Marion Lloyd Books
- Maggot Moon, Sally Gardner, Hot Key Books
- In Darkness, Nick Lake, Bloomsbury
- Wonder, RJ Palacio, Bodley Head
- Midwinterblood, Marcus Sedgwick, Indigo
- A Boy and a Bear in a Boat, Dave Shelton, David Fickling Books
- Code Name Verity, Elizabeth Wein, Electric Monkey
The Complete Kate Greenaway Medal Shortlist
- Lunchtime, Rebecca Cobb, Macmillan Children’s Books
- Again!, Emily Gravett, Macmillan Children’s Books
- Oh No, George!, Chris Haughton, Walker Books
- I Want My Hat Back, Jon Klassen, Walker Books
- Pirates ‘n’ Pistols, Chris Mould, Hodder Children’s Books
- King Jack and the Dragon, Helen Oxenbury (illustrator) and Peter Bently (author), Puffin Books
- Black Dog, Levi Pinfold, Templar Publishing
- Just Ducks!, Salvatore Rubbino (illustrator) and Nicola Davies (author), Walker Books