1960s Medal Winners
Carnegie Medal Winners
1960 Ian Wolfram Cornwall: The Making of Man | 1961 Lucy M Boston: A Stranger at Green Knowe | 1962 Pauline Clarke: The Twelve and the Genii | 1963 Hester Burton: Time of Trial | 1964 Sheena Porter: Nordy Bank | 1965 Philip Turner: The Grange at High Force | 1966 No Prize awarded | 1967 Alan Garner: The Owl Service | 1968 Rosemary Harris: The Moon in the Cloud | 1969 K M Peyton: The Edge of the Cloud
Kate Greenaway Medal Winners
1960 Gerald Rose: Old Winkle and the Seagulls (Elizabeth Rose) | 1961 Antony Maitland: Mrs Cockle's Cat (Philippa Pearce) | 1962 Brian Wildsmith: Brian Wildsmith's ABC | 1963 John Burningham: Borka | 1964 C Walter Hodges: Shakespeare's Theatre | 1965 Victor Ambrus: The Three Poor Tailors | 1966 Raymond Briggs: Mother Goose Treasury | 1967 Charles Keeping: Charley, Charlotte and the Golden Canary | 1968 Pauline Baynes: A Dictionary of Chivalry (Grant Uden) | 1969 Helen Oxenbury: The Quangle Wangle's Hat (Edward Lear) and The dragon of an ordinary family (Margaret Mahy)
The sixties! My salad days! (You can google that.)
I clearly remember rushing to the kitchen in 1963 to tell my mother that President Kennedy had been assassinated. I took my last school exams in the summer of 1965 (and have not picked up a tennis racquet or played a team sport since). I happened, purely by chance, to be taken to the famous World Cup Final in Wembley in 1966, and sulked through the whole match, bored stiff. (When he found out where I'd been, my father was enraged at the shocking waste of a ticket.) My university course finished in 1968 and I married two months later, still only twenty. (Don't even THINK of it. We were both far too young.)
So what was happening in that decade in the Library Association prizes?
We'll take the Carnegie Medal first.
The first winner was Ian Wolfram Cornwall, an environmental archaeologist, and expert in bones. He was an academic, but came from an arts background, which might explain why The Making of Man was deemed readable enough to win the prize.
Lucy M Boston won in 1961 with the third in her strange but much loved Green Knowe series, based on the 12th century house in Huntingdon in which she lived. A Stranger at Green Knowe tells the story of a Chinese boy Ping, and his closeness to the gorilla Hanno who, after a cruel capture and imprisonment in London Zoo, escapes to reach Green Knowe.
The 1962 winner, The Twelve and the Genii, starts with the brilliant idea that the wooden toy soldiers with whom the Bronte children played are found in the attic by young Max and come to life. At risk of being taken to America, they set off on a journey across the moors to their original home in Haworth to save themselves, and with the help of their guiding spirits (the genii), the story ends well.
Hester Burton's Time of Trial has been criticised as "old-fashioned in pace, construction and mood", but the reader will definitely learn a good deal about the issues of social reform and freedom of speech in early 19th Century England.
In 1964, Sheena Porter won the prize with a supernatural adventure novel called Nordy Bank. Some children camp by chance on the site of an Iron Age fort and find their lives - and in the case of one of them, her very personality - getting entangled with the past.
The next winner was Philip Turner with The Grange at High Force. Michael Crouch once described this book as "about bikes and boats, gunpowder, Norman architecture, 18th century social history, birds, ballistics. It is an unpromising hotchpotch, but it works." I can't better that, except to say that it's funny, and the characters are mostly realistic. Give it a go if you can find it.
In 1967, Alan Garner won with The Owl Service. ('Service' here meaning a set of matching plates, so the title refers to their decoration.) It's the sort of fantasy that sends me straight to sleep (Sorry! Sorry!) but I know that many readers revere the book, and it it is one of the Carnegie favourites. So don't let me put you off.
Another year, another fantasy. Rosemary Harris took the prize with The Moon in the Cloud, set in the time of Noah, his Ark and the Flood. It's steeped in Egyptology, and admired for the light humour that pervades this story of ancient characters and talking beasts.
The last book of the decade was K M Peyton's The Edge of the Cloud. Set in England before the First World War, this is the second book in her famous Flambards trilogy, and the title refers to Will's involvement in a flying school after he and Christina have eloped to London. (Your grandparents might well remember the telly adaption of the series into thirteen episodes in the 1970s.)
Now on to the Kate Greenaway Awards.
Once again, I'm not even going to try to tackle every winner in this decade. I'm going to continue to take advice from those who bring far more knowledge and experience to the field of illustration than I ever could. And they've chosen two particular books to highlight.
The first is the 1962 winner, which was Brian Wildsmith's ABC. Alphabet books were naturally one of the earliest types of book created for children, and Wildsmith here offers us an imaginative and highly expressive version of the form. The book's a mad medley of colour with an unlimited, flourishing approach that gives (true to his name) a wild sense of freedom alongside a spirited luminosity. I think what most people love about the book is that it somehow manages to capture the sheer wonder of early experience, and our first encounters with the world around us.
And the other book we've chosen to mention is, of course, Raymond Briggs' 1966 winner, his Mother Goose Treasury. This is a colossal work, with nearly 900 illustrations, so it offers as much of a visual as a verbal experience. (I wonder if such a generous project would be so easy to publish today.) Some illustrations are in colour, others are black and white line drawings.
What's so wonderful about it (and don't forget a parent has to sing a lot of these rhymes eight million times over!) is that Briggs has brought his usual sardonic humour to the nursery rhymes and their characters. His distinctive take invites fresh interpretations of many of these oh-so-traditional (and peculiar) early texts. He uses a range of different artistic techniques and media and it all adds up to a rich visual experience as all-embracing and encompassing as a giant hug.
Search out a copy and a small child now!
And while you're at it, look for those stacked shoes your gran loved so much that she kept them at the back of the cupboard. Because next month we're into the seventies.