2000s Medal Winners
Carnegie Medal Winners
2000 Beverley Naidoo: The Other Side of Truth | 2001 Terry Pratchett: The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents | 2002 Sharon Creech: Ruby Holler | 2003 Jennifer Donnelly: A Gathering Light | 2004 Frank Cottrell Boyce: Millions | 2005 Mal Peet: Tamar | 2006 [method of dating award changed] | 2007 Meg Rosoff: Just in Case | 2008 Philip Reeve: Here Lies Arthur | 2009 Siobhan Dowd: Bog Child
Kate Greenaway Medal Winners
2000 Lauren Child: I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato | 2001 Chris Riddell: Pirate Diary: The Journal of Jake Carpenter (Richard Platt) | 2002 Bob Graham: Jethro Byrde, Fairy Child | 2003 Shirley Hughes: Ella's Big Chance | 2004 Chris Riddell: Jonathan Swift's Gulliver (retold by Martin Jenkins) | 2005 Emily Gravett: Wolves | 2006 [method of dating award changed] | 2007 Mini Grey: The Adventures of the Dish and the Spoon | 2008 Emily Gravett: Little Mouse's Big Book of Fears | 2009 Catherine Rayner: Harris Finds his Feet
The new century! Everyone expecting all computers to crash and planes to fall out of the sky. But clearly some people stayed calm enough to carry on writing, because we have ten more Carnegie Medal winners to tell you about, and two marvellous new illustrators to highlight among the decade's prestigious Kate Greenaway winners.
Beverley Naidoo's astonishingly realistic story, The Other Side of Truth, was the first winner. Now, we take almost for granted the shockingly painful stories of immigrants, legal and illegal, to our shores. Naidoo was one of the first to bring these mostly grim and demanding stories home to us. Twelve year old Sade and her young brother Femi arrive from Nigeria after the traumatic destruction of their family, and have to make shift. This gripping and powerful work introduces to the young reader so many of the hard political issues they will see around them, and some will even come across, throughout their lives.
The second winner of the decade couldn't be more different. Terry Pratchett won with The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents. Pratchett's extraordinary sense of fun and invention runs through this parody of the Pied Piper story, the first of the Discworld stories to be aimed at younger readers, and featuring the cunning and manipulative cat Maurice and more rats than you would care to find anywhere near your own house.
Ruby Holler won in 2002. Dallas and Florida's life in a horribly unkind orphanage, and various failed foster homes, has left them termed as 'Trouble Twins'. But then everything in their lives is turned around by a move to two experienced old people who live in Ruby Holler (meaning Hollow, or, as it's more traditionally called in Britain, a dell). Sharon Creech's work has rightly been described as 'heart-warming', and she has a fine eye for emotional nuance. (And don't miss many people's very favourite of her novels, Walk Two Moons.)
A Gathering Light is the decade's next winner, Jennifer Donnelly's terrific mix of murder story, mystery and history, coming of age and romance. It's compelling and vivid, and justifiably seen as one of those books that successfully 'cross-over' to pleasing adults as well as younger readers. Give it a go.
Millions, by Frank Cottrell Boyce, has been a most popular winner. The author wrote up his screenplay of the film as a novel. Two brothers find a fortune in money that has to be spent within seventeen days because at that point the British currency is going to switch to euros. (Well, that's not going to happen now!) Damian believes the money is sent by God and should be used for doing good, but Anthony has very different plans. Meanwhile, the original robbers are in search of their missing loot...
In 2005, the sadly missed Mal Peet won the prize with Tamar, another young adult novel, mostly set in the occupied Netherlands towards the end of the Second World War. The book moves from the present, where fifteen year old Tamar has found her grandmother's old papers. They unfold the story of the original 'Tamar' - code name for a Dutch secret agent working for the Resistance. The novel cleverly moves from past to present and shows the horribly long-lasting effects of war on all of those involved.
We're not missing a book here. It's just that, from now on, the year of winning was dated as the year of presentation rather than the year of publication. So the next winner, in 2007, was Meg Rosoff, with Just in Case. David Case stops his brother from falling out of a window and starts to see danger everywhere. Reckoning that Fate is stalking him, he changes his name to Justin, (Justin Case - geddit?) and alters everything else about his life to try and escape the future he fears. As the Guardian reviewer pointed out, Justin "becomes the embodiment of teenage angst, a lost soul struggling to avoid being sucked into the black hole of his despair, desperate for love and sex, unable to handle either." It's a most curious book, but it will set you thinking, that's for sure.
In 2008 the winner was Philip Reeve with Here Lies Arthur. Can legend end up being far more important than mere facts? Myrddin the bard certainly thinks so, and engages the help of a servant girl to build up the war hero's reputation so he can unite the native British against the Saxons. At his command Gwyna even poses as The Lady of the Lake, to give Arthur the now famous sword, and watches her master steadily build the not-so-perfect Arthur into the man of legend we all know today. (And, while we're talking about Philip Reeve, be sure to give his quartet about moving cities, Mortal Engines, a try as well.)
The last winner of the decade was Siobhan (it's pronounced Sheevawn) Dowd with Bog Child (2009). Digging for peat in an Irish bog, Fergus finds a Celtic bracelet round the arm of a perfectly preserved body with a noose around its neck. He thinks of her as 'Mel'. This 'bog child' speaks to him in dreams, and since this is 1981, the height of 'The Troubles', their stories of hate, injustice and violence seem strangely matching. The book raises so many issues born of politics, war and sacrifice, and was published shortly after Siobhan Dowd's tragically early death.
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And now to the Greenaway winners! The first, in 2000, was our current Children's Laureate, Lauren Child. This is the year that the immensely popular Charlie and Lola series burst upon the world. Lauren brilliantly captures the nuances of childhood imagination, desires and, indeed, language in I Will Never Not Ever Eat a Tomato. Child's mixed media canvas encompasses fabrics, photos, and pen and ink, providing a tempting and detailed world that instantly captures the imagination. Her hand drawn characters show clear emotion as her inventive story captures both the real and imaginative inner world of childhood.
My second Greenaway winner choice from the decade (2005) is Wolves, by Emily Gravett. A rabbit borrows a book about wolves from the library, and becomes so engrossed that she doesn't realise what's behind her. There's a real sense of pantomime dramatics, and a splendid awareness of the use of the format of the book itself to develop the unfolding of the story. Gravett uses pencil illustration, and it proves a highly effective medium to convey movement and drama.
Come back next month so we can bring you bang up to date with these special Carnegie and Greenaway round-ups.