An “extraordinary” long list for the Carnegie medal, the UK’s most prestigious children’s book award, pits three former winners Elizabeth Acevedo, Patrick Ness and Ruta Sepetys.
This year’s long list of 20 books is filled with novels exploring loss, grief and mental health. Tela’s verse novel Clap When You Land is about two girls devastated by the death of their father. Manjeet Mann’s Run, Rebel, another line novel about a girl trying to escape her claustrophobic home life. In Girl with a Tree, by performance poet Joseph Coelho and illustrator Kate Milner, a girl tries to understand her father’s loss. In Jenny Downham’s Fury Thing, a 15-year-old girl deals with emotional abuse from her mother’s fiancee. And in Danielle Jawando’s movie And The Stars Were Burning Brightly, a young boy’s world is torn apart when his brother commits suicide.
“This year there were many books pointing to loss, grief, or well-being in general. “The chairman of the judges, Ellen Krajewski, made a huge impact on the pandemic.” “This year has been a particularly powerful show… it’s an extraordinary long list.”
Founded in 1936, the Carnegie medal is the oldest book award in the UK and has been won in the past by Arthur Ransome, CS Lewis, Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett, Philip Pullman and Sally Gardner. Judged by children’s librarians, he commends “outstanding achievement in children’s writing” with the Kate Greenaway medal, whose long list was announced on Thursday, while going to the best illustrated children’s book of the year.
Legends and legends abound in the competing novels for this year’s Carnegie, too. Kiran Millwood Hargrave’s Immortal Girls tells the story of Dracula’s brides; Sophie Anderson’s Bear Talking Girl is inspired by Russian folk tales; Deeplight, by Costa-winning author Frances Hardinge, sees the corpses of dead gods looted by daring scavengers; and Burn, by two-time Carnegie award winner Ness, takes place in a version of 1950s America where dragons existed.
Jason Reynolds, America’s national ambassador for youth literature, was nominated for Look Both Ways, which followed several kids walking home from school. Famous writer Akwaeke Emezi also has young adult debuts about a trans girl who befriends a monster for Pet.
Krajewski said the variety of storytelling on the long list is “a pleasure to see for all judges”.
“The mission of the awards is to empower the next generation to shape a better world through books and reading, which undoubtedly helps to reach this long list, inviting children who stay indoors during lockdown to open up and move into countless fun and exciting places.” Said.
Short lists for both medals will be announced on 18 March. Winners on June 16.
2021 Carnegie long list
Elizabeth Acevedo (Hot Key Books)
Bear Talking Girl, Sophie Anderson, illustrated by Kathrin Honesta (Usborne)
Katya Balen, Laura Carlin (Bloomsbury)
Short Knife, Elen Caldecott (Andersen Press)
Joseph Coelho’s Girl with a Tree, pictures by Kate Milner (Otter-Barry Books)
Beverly, Right Here, Kate DiCamillo (Walker Books)
Furious Thing, Jenny Downham (David Fickling Books)
Pet by Akwaeke Emezi (Faber)
Midnight Beach, Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick (Faber)
Deep Light, Frances Hardinge (Macmillan Children’s Books)
And The Stars Burned Brightly, Danielle Jawando (Simon & Schuster)
In Key of the Code by Aimee Lucido (Walker Books)
Run, Rebel – Manjeet Mann (Penguin Random House Children’s)
Immortal Girls by Kiran Millwood Hargrave (Orion)
By Patrick Ness (Walker Books)
After the War, Tom Palmer (Barrington Stoke)
Two Way Look, Jason Reynolds (Knights Of)
Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys (Penguin Random House Children’s)
One Give a Pen to This Heart by Sophia Thakur (Walker Books)
Mount Echo, Lauren Wolk (Penguin Random House Children’s)
2021 Kate Greenaway long list
Just Because by Mac Barnett (Walker Books), by Isabelle Arsenault
Wind on the Wall, illustrated by Rovena Cai, by Sally Gardner (Hot Key Books)
Frederick’s Misfortunes illustrated by Emma Chichester Clark by Ben Manley (Two Hoots)
My Nana’s Garden was written by Jessica Courtney-Tickle, by Dawn Casey (Templar).
The Tibble And Grandpa, drawn by Daniel Egneus, was written by Wendy Meddour (Oxford University Press).
Happiness Begins as illustrated and written by Eva Eland (Andersen Press)
The Fate of Fausto illustrated and written by Oliver Jeffers (HarperCollins Children’s Books)
The Child of Dreams (Walker Books) by Richard Jones and by Irena Brignull
Star Bird drawn and written by Sharon King-Chai (Two Hoots)
Lights in Cotton Rock, illustrated and written by David Litchfield (Frances Lincoln).
The Bird Inside Me was illustrated by Sara Lundberg and translated by BJ Epstein (Book Island).
A Day Without a Money illustrated and written by Kate Milner (Barrington Stoke)
Girl with a Tree by Kate Milner by Joseph Coelho (Otter-Barry Books)
How did the Stars Become? By Poonam Mistry (Tate Publishing).
Walking drawn and written by Pete Oswald (Walker Books)
I Go Quiet drawn and written by David Ouimet (Canongate)
Asleep Aslan Arlo Aslan drawn and written by Catherine Rayner (Macmillan Children’s Books)
Hidden Planet drawn and written by Ben Rothery (Ladybug)
Little City drawn and written by Sydney Smith (Walker Books)
Dandelion’s Dream drawn and written by Yoko Tanaka (Walker Books)