Hot Key Carnegie Reading Challenge

A big day for many authors and illustrators today – the shortlists for the Carnegie Medal and Kate Greenaway Award were announced. Cue lots of congratulations all round and happy authors and publishers. There are some absolutely fantastic books on the shortlists this year.

At Hot Key obviously we don’t have any books out yet to qualify (fingers crossed for next year…) but it prompted a series of conversations around the Carnegie Shortlist that all went ‘ooh I love that book‘, ‘ah that one definitely deserves to win‘ and ‘aw, I really must read that!’ (N.B. we’re not snubbing the picture books – we love picture books, we just don’t publish picture books…so, we thought we’d focus on the fiction) Anyway, each year there is an official shadowing scheme which runs alongside the awards involving children from many schools around the country reading and discussing the books from longlist, shortlist and through to the winning announcement. And so we thought, well, why don’t we do the same?

Each week (if we can keep up!) we’ll be discussing a different book on the Carnegie shortlist and we’d love you to join in. Here are the books we have to read:

So far I’ve only read the already multi-award-winning A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (amazing book which as discussed on Twitter today, made me feel VERY SAD at the end) and my one that got away Annabel Pitcher’s My  Sister Lives on the Mantlepiece – which you all know my feelings about (and if you don’t then basically, LOVED IT). But that’s only 2 out of 8, so the challenge is on.

But what to start with? Suggestions and reviews please?


18 responses to “Hot Key Carnegie Reading Challenge

  1. I know I’m cross-posting what I already said on Twitter, but I’ve read SMALL CHANGE FOR STUART and MY NAME IS MINA. I’ve got MY SISTER LIVES ON THE MANTLEPIECE on my to read shelf (picked up when Orion gave a free copy to everyone who worked at Hachette, thank Orion!) and know I need to read A MONSTER CALLS. Can’t wait to get going!

  2. Shadowing the Carnegie Medal is lots of fun and not just for children. A group of us at Seven Stories do it every year. As David Almond is a regular face at 7S and a local lad how about starting with “My Name is Mina”.

    • I’m pleased it’s not just us! My Name is Mina is probably my front-runner. I’ve had it on my pile for a while now, though I’m so ashamed to say I ahem, shh, haven’t read Skellig (shout at me, I know!), so I wondered if I should read that first…?

      • Ok, I’ll ‘fess up too. Skellig and Mina are the only David Almond books I haven’t read. It’ll have to be my pre- Carnegie reading.

      • saraathotkey

        Gasp! Sarah!! SKELLIG is one of my favourites. I have a completely embarassing literary crush on David Almond, and the first time I met him I had to hurry away (and hold back tears) because I was so star struck! MY NAME IS MINA is a wonderful book, and I’m going to have to work hard to put aside my bias to be able to read the competition fairly. Can’t wait to get started!

  3. Shout, shout! Though I’m not sure if it matters that much which order you read SKELLIG and MY NAME IS MINA. (My favourite too, and most affirming for children who love books but hate ‘Literacy’.) My only request is to leave EVERYBODY JAM, THE MIDNIGHT ZOO and SMALL CHANGE FOR STUART till last, as those are the three I’ve got to catch up with (and the last comes out in paperback next month I see – I did give it to my godson and my nephew last year). Have to confess that after reading A MONSTER CALLS (and weeping over it and loving it) I couldn’t then bear to press it on any of my children, even the eldest, who adores Siobhan Dowd. And I didn’t get very far with TRASH, but maybe I should persevere.

  4. I’ve had a tough time when asked for fave between Monster, My Sister..and Shades all year! Knew they would be on the list. What I love about the list, is finding out about The Midnight Zoo and Everybody Jam which both sound like just my sort of books but I hadn’t heard of them until now. Ordering right away

  5. I’m the same as you, Sarah – just half way through My Sister at the moment. I can’t imagine anything beating A Monster Calls – hefty power weilded so lightly – but looking forward to finding out.

  6. So far I’ve only read Trash and My Name is Mina from this list, I enjoyed Trash at the time but it didn’t stick in my mind. My Name is Mina on the other hand is wonderful – a beautiful song of a book. Look forward to seeing if anything else can match up.

  7. This is a wonderful idea – we love lists as guides! Mina may become one of the most enduring child characters in our household, so that’s near the top of our list so far. But Little M loved Between Shades of Gray (M’s in in the middle of it), and My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece is wobbling about on the bookshelf and, without having read it yet, everything about it gives M a very strong hunch.

  8. Thanks for all your comments! We look forward to an active discussion – we decided to read A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness first…so get those thoughts ready for next week!

  9. I’m about to start A Monster Calls! Skellig is the most amazing book!

  10. Loved Skellig but I’m a bit resistant to Mina for some reason. A Monster Calls is a beautiful book just to have, even if you didn’t read it. It’s heavy and feels substantial. It’s a moving story and really well-handled. But I LOVED Small Change for Stuart!!! Such a quirky tale with well-developed characters. All very well realised. It felt like a ‘proper’ children’s book. It had a certain ‘Britishness’ to it as well. I could imagine Aardman adapting it – fantastic book. It made me want to go away and write something like that. I hope Stuart wins!

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