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Award Winning Books for Children

Childrens Books Ireland Winner 2014

Author and illustrator Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick has won the 24th CBI Book of the Year Award as well as the Honour Award for Fiction for her novel Hagwitch. Moving between 16th-century and modern-day London, Hagwitch draws on ancient folk superstitions and the magic of the stage tradition to craft a haunting tale. The judges said, ‘Fitzpatrick brings the reader on a journey down a canal, through a world of theatre and puppetry, and into a realm of magic and mystery. This expertly-crafted novel, with its meticulous attention to detail, seamlessly interweaves the two narratives of present-day Lally and sixteenth-century Flea.’ Marie-Louise’s previous novel Dark Warning, won the CBI Honour Award for Fiction in 2013.

During the ceremony, students from Loreto Beaufort, Rathfarnham and Scoil San Carlo in Leixlip presented the Children’s Choice Award to Oliver Jeffers for his illustrations in The Day the Crayons Quit (written by Drew Daywalt). Voted for by young readers from across the country, the Children’s Choice Award is chosen by Junior Juries across the country, who read and judge the eight shortlisted titles and vote for their favourite.

The CBI Book of the Year Awards judging panel also made awards to the following:

  • Special Judges’ Award: Paula Leyden for The Sleeping Baobab Tree. The judges said, ‘Combining robust character development with vivid descriptions of the Zambian landscape, Leyden skilfully creates an evocative and atmospheric narrative that explores themes of friendship, family and human rights.’
  • Honour Award for Illustration: P.J. Lynch for Mysterious Traveller. The judges said, ‘With an emphasis on browns, tans and blues, Lynch’s superb and stunning textured paintings transport readers/viewers into the desert landscape of the tale and guide us through the emotional journey of Issa and Mariama.’

The CBI Book of the Year Awards are the leading children’s book awards in Ireland. The Awards are a celebration of excellence in children’s literature and illustration and are open to books written in English or Irish by authors and illustrators born or resident in Ireland and published between 1st January and 31st December each year. Previous winners include John Boyne for his book The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas; Chris Haughton for A Bit Lost, Sheena Wilkinson for Grounded and Kate Thompson for her books The New Policeman, Annan Water and The Alchemist’s Apprentice.

Pádraic Whyte, chair of the judging panel, said, ‘The titles being celebrated today are nothing short of world class and reveal the exceptional skills and talents of Irish authors and illustrators writing for children. It is an honour to head up such a dedicated judging panel that delved into 80 or so award entries, and highlighted excellent books that young readers around the country – and around the world – are sure to love.’

Elaina Ryan, Director of CBI, said ‘The CBI Awards are a unique opportunity not only to honour the very best in Irish writing and illustration, but to give young people a voice through the Children’s Choice Award. It is a real delight to see even more young readers than last year taking part in our shadowing scheme and enjoying the excellent and diverse books on this year’s shortlist.’

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CILIP Carnegie and Greenway Winners 2014

Kevin Brooks' The Bunker Diary scoops the CILIP Carnegie Medal after 10 year struggle to get published. 

Canadian illustrator Jon Klassen wins the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal with This Is Not My Hat.

Kevin Brooks and Jon Klassen were announced as the winners of the 2014 CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals, the awards that authors and illustrators say that they 'most want to win'. Speaking at the ceremony - live-streamed for the first time - at the Unicorn Theatre in London, both winners independently argued that children benefit from stories without happy endings.

Brooks was awarded the CILIP Carnegie Medal for The Bunker Diary (Puffin), a fictional diary of a kidnapped boy held hostage in a bunker. After being rejected for its lack of hope, Brooks struggled for a decade to see his winning teen novel in print. Klassen - the first Canadian to be awarded the prestigious illustration prize - won the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal for This is Not My Hat (Walker Books), which sees a thieving fish get his comeuppance. Both books have unusually dark finales.

The Bunker Diary book cover

CILIP Carnegie winner Kevin Brooks, speaking at the ceremony, said:

"There is a school of thought that no matter how dark or difficult a novel is, it should contain at least an element of hope. As readers, children - and teens in particular - don't need to be cosseted with artificial hope that there will always be a happy ending. They want to be immersed in all aspects of life, not just the easy stuff. They're not babies; they don't need to be told not to worry, that everything will be all right in the end, because they're perfectly aware that in real life things aren't always all right in the end. To be patronizing, condescending towards the reader is, to me, the worst thing a Young Adult fiction author can do... The history of The Bunker Diary makes this win particularly special. I knew I could have got the book published years ago if I'd rewritten it - toned it down, changed the ending, explained a lot of unexplained things - but to me that would have meant writing a different book, a book that I didn't want to write."

Th is Not My Hat book cover

Winner of the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal, writer and illustrator Jon Klassen, added:

"Winning this award is hugely encouraging. Making a book, you're kind of going out on a limb in the belief that what you think of as a satisfying story is the same as what other people think of as a satisfying story. This doesn't mean everything in the story turns out alright for everybody, but you, as a storyteller, try and make sure it ends the way the story should end. Any audience, children included, take reassurance from that. Storytelling is an act of community, of looking at one another afterward and agreeing that we enjoyed it or not. Whether the story itself portrays happiness or doom, the hope is found when we agree we liked it, and I'm so glad you liked this one."




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