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>> Carnegie Greenaway Shadowers' Choice announced

Carnegie Greenaway Shadowers' Choice announced

Carnegie Greenaway Shadowers' Choice announced

The winners of the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Shadowers' Choice Award have been announced as Dean Atta's The Black Flamingo from the Carnegie shortlist, and Kadir Nelson's illustrations for The Undefeated by Kwame Alexander from the Kate Greenaway shortlist.

The Shadowers' Choice Award is voted for by children and young people who shadow the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medal awards' shortlists.

The winning books were voted for by over 1000 shadowing groups taking part in the Awards reading scheme across the UK and internationally. From the shortlist announcement in March, children and young people have been reading, reviewing and discussing the shortlisted books and sharing their views of the Awards website.

The Black Flamingo, published by Hodder Children's Books, is a debut verse novel written by Dean Atta and illustrated by Anshika Khullar. A powerful and poignant coming of age novel that charts the life of Michael, who is mixed-race and gay, as he comes to terms with who he is and how others perceive him.

The Undefeated, published by Andersen Press, is a moving depiction of Black History that provides both spoken and unspoken insights. The book is illustrated by Kadir Nelson and written by Kwame Alexander.

The books' selection by the shadowing groups reflects a desire for stories of diversity and inclusion among a broad readership, giving a boost to the drive for inclusion within publishing.

The 2020 Chair of CKG Judges, Julia Hale, said, "The Shadowers' Choice Awards gives young readers their say on the shortlisted titles. In winning this unique award, The Black Flamingo and The Undefeated exemplify the power of representation in words and pictures for children to see and find themselves and understand each other better.

"Both books offer differing perspectives on Black experiences in their own voices. Dean Atta's intimate, dazzling jewel of a verse novel is a uniquely British exploration of coming of age in London with Greek Cypriot and Jamaican heritage, whilst Kadir Nelson's stunning portraits of African American icons are simultaneously haunting and inspirational. Both books are celebrations of pride, beauty and the search and fight for freedom on both an individual and wider level."

The Shadowers' Choice Award winners were revealed during National Libraries Week in a special broadcast on CILIP's #NationalShelfService. The Shadowers' Choice Winners were each presented with a certificate designed by participants of the Shadowing Scheme.

The 2020 Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medal winners were announced on 17 June 2020. The judges awarded the Carnegie Medal to Lark by Anthony McGowan (Barrington Stoke) and Tales from the Inner City by Shaun Tan (Walker Books) was awarded the Kate Greenaway Medal.

Here are ReadingZone's reviews of The Black Flamingo and The Undefeated:


This powerful novel left me uplifted, reeling and at some points saddened so I had to ensure my review did this amazing work justice. I cannot express how important this story is on so many levels.

Michael has known from a young age that he is different in a whole variety of ways; we start with his sixth birthday where he receives a Ninja Mutant Turtle in place of the Barbie he has coveted for months. Dean Atta's writing encapsulates both the disappointment and the outrage of a six-year-old when confronted with such a disaster and this craftsmanship flows throughout this wonderful verse novel.

A true coming of age tale, we follow Michael through his school career, where again he never truly feels comfortable, as a mixed-race gay teen, onto his start at university in vibrant Brighton. At school, he is lucky to have his best friend Daisy but upon starting at university new friendships have to be forged and his own sexuality explored further. All of this is portrayed without holding back but at the same time with empathy and it developed a heightened sense of investment from the reader. When I finished the book, it was with an overwhelming feeling of upbeat optimism for Michael and his future life feeling much more secure in being himself.

Friendships play a large part; Michael has to question whether some friends are actually there for him when he needs them. His Drag Queen group quickly become invaluable allies and a big support group at the time he is finding his way. I loved that Atta included a slight twist when Michael confronted Jack, a recent partner, with two versions of their conversation.

A friendship with fellow undergraduate Lennie, another black student, is strong and realistic. Their friendship grows with a background of natural student activities and conversations. Added dimensions include that Lennie is straight and attracted to another of their group, Sienna. The masterstroke is when, during one of their discussions, Lennie calls out both Michael and Sienna on their individual racism. This is the most powerful passage in the entire book and one which would be perfect as a starting point for any discussion with a young adult audience.

This is a fantastic read for young adults and one I have already recommended many times at school. I know it will rarely be in the school library.

360 pages/ Ages 14+ / Reviewed by Sharon Bolton, school librarian


This beautiful picture book is an emotional tribute to the history and experiences of African Americans, both past and present. Kwame Alexander's poetry takes the reader on a journey through the little known - the left-out history of those who are unforgettable, unflappable, undeniable and unafraid.

Unspeakable events are also recorded in these pages. The images convey the horror whilst the words state that simple fact. The Undefeated doesn't just acknowledge familiar names - Martin Luther King, Muhammad Ali, Ella Fitzgerald - it also commemorates the unnamed victims of the slave trade, the black soldiers who fought during the civil war, those held in slavery. The book ends on a positive note - it is for the undefeated, those whose futures are yet to come.

Kadir Nelson's powerful, evocative images adorn each page, each a work of art. At the end of the book, there are biographies of those included in the book, making the perfect starting point for further research.

This is an amazing book - a must for every library and classroom. Its message is powerful and essential: black lives matter.

40 pages / Any age / Reviewed by Sue Wilsher, teacher



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