by Tanya Landman
published by Walker Books
illustrated by William Grill
published by Flying Eye
The winners of the most prestigious children’s book awards, the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals, were announced today at a ceremony at the British Library. The Carnegie Medal is awarded by children’s librarians for an outstanding book for children and young people, whilst the Kate Greenaway Medal is awarded for an outstanding book in terms of illustration. Last year’s winners were The Bunker Diary by Kevin Brooks and This Is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen.
The 2015 winners are:
Carnegie Medal – Buffalo Soldier by Tanya Landman (Walker Books)
Kate Greenaway Medal – Shackleton’s Journey by William Grill (Flying Eye Books)
Buffalo Soldier (ages 14+) is set during the American Civil War and follows Charley, a young African-American slave who is freed at the end of the war. Alone, and in fear for her safety in the Deep South, Charley disguises herself as a man and joins the army where she joins a new war against the ‘savage’ American Indians. The books has themes of prejudice, inequality, and what it really means to be free. The judges said of Buffalo Soldier:
This brutal and heart breaking story is engrossing from the very beginning. The strong narrative voice engages the reader in the world described; perfectly conveying raw emotions without the overuse of sentimentality. The book skilfully deals with difficult issues of race, gender and the essence of freedom, against the backdrop of a beautiful landscape and the horrors that humans inflict upon each other. The subtle changes in language expertly mirror Charley’s personal growth. This is a beautiful, powerful piece of writing that will remain with readers long after the last page.
Shackleton’s Journey (ages 10+) is a non-fiction book in a lavishly illustrated picture book format. The book describes the historic British expedition led by Ernest Shackleton, which set out to cross the Antarctic in 1914. The ship, The Endurance, became trapped in the ice and the stranded crew were forced to make their own way to safety in freezing conditions. The book is a visual feast and includes maps and illustrated lists of the crew, dogs and equipment. The illustrations are mainly shades of blue on stark white paper which really evoke the barren and icy setting. The judges said of Shackleton’s Journey:
This beautiful non-fiction book seems to effortlessly bring a modern and fresh feel to the story of Ernest Shackleton, whilst remaining traditional and classic. The use of stark white space expertly conveys a sense of isolation. The detailed small illustrations wonderfully bring to life the intricacies of life during the journey, whilst the breath-taking larger illustrations provide a strong sense of scale and highlight the enormity of the natural world. This is an exciting, quality book which provides a true experience and reminds us that it is the people, not the journey, that truly matter.