Longlists Announced for the Yoto Carnegies 2023

yotocarnegies.co.uk | #YotoCarnegies23 | @CarnegieMedals

Wednesday 15 February 2023: The Yoto Carnegies, the UK’s longest running and best-loved book awards for children and young people, today announced the longlists for 2023. Dominated by independent publishers, the stories range from intimate examinations of family life to sensitive introductions to societal issues impacting the world today, with many reflecting on past histories or looking to the future of our planet.

A total of 31 books have been recognised, with 15 books selected for the Yoto Carnegie Medal for Writing longlist, and 18 for the Yoto Carnegie Medal for Illustration.

The lists include:

The Yoto Carnegies celebrate outstanding achievement in children’s writing and illustration and are unique in being judged by children’s librarians, with the Shadowers’ Choice Medals voted for by children and young people. The awards aim to spark a lifelong passion for reading by connecting more children with books that will change lives. The longlists were chosen from 125 nominations by the judging panel, which includes 12 children’s and youth librarians from CILIP’s Youth Libraries Group.

The 2023 Yoto Carnegie Medal for Writing longlist is (alphabetical by author surname):

The 2023 Yoto Carnegie Medal for Illustration longlist is (alphabetical by illustrator surname):

Janet Noble, Chair of Judges for The Yoto Carnegies 2023, said:

“It is a great honour to be chairing the judging panel during another outstanding year for children’s publishing. We were taken on amazing reading journeys by haunting prose and powerful poetry and found delight in the evocative worlds of stunning illustration, and were able to explore an incredible variety of themes including belonging, friendship and the climate crisis. I commend all the authors and illustrators on their wonderful work, which will bring young readers so much joy and hope in these challenging times.”

In addition to the aforementioned prior winners and shortlistees, this year’s Medal for Writing longlist includes six authors previously longlisted; Jason Cockcroft (2022), Patrice Lawrence (2022), Elen Caldecott (2021), Danielle Jawando (2021), Kiran Millwood Hargrave (2018) and A. F. Harrold (2016).

Many of the stories across both longlists explore changing family dynamics or adjusting to new environments, including the newly blended family in Katya Balen’s The Light in Everything. Julia and her parents move to a remote island in Scotland for the summer in Julia and the Shark, whichoffers a captivating combination of lyrical prose and absorbing imagery in the first collaborative novel from Kiran Millwood Hargrave and Tom de Freston. In Jason Cockcroft’s powerful and sensitive story of the trauma of grief, Running with Horses, protagonist Rabbit and his mum are adjusting to a new place, and a new reality, without his dad.

On the Medal for Illustration longlist, The Comet by Joe Todd-Stanton uses imagination and light to offer hope in the difficulties of moving home and finding a sense of belonging. The relationships between children and grandparents are the focus of Dadaji’s Paintbrush by Rashmi Sirdeshpande, illustrated by Ruchi Mhasane and graphic novel Alte Zachen: Old Things by Ziggy Hanaor, illustrated by Benjamin Phillips.

Climate change and conservation return as an important thread to this year’s Writing longlist, including Green Rising by Lauren James, the founder of the Climate Fiction Writers League, and Manon Steffan Ros, whoexamines a post-apocalyptic future in The Blue Book of Nebo – now translated into English from the multi-award-winning Welsh language original. On the Illustration longlist, Saving Sorya: Chang and the Sun Bear tells the incredible true story of where Trang Nguyen’s love for bears started and how she came to be such a passionate and leading wildlife conservationist in this graphic novel, boldy illustrated by Jeet Zdung.

When Shadows Fall by Sita Brahmachari, illustrated by Natalie Sirett, creatively brings together verse, prose and imagery to share a story of disaffected youth and the vulnerability of teenage years. These topics are also explored in contemporary settings in Danielle Jawando’s powerful coming-of-age story, When Our Worlds Collided, and the deftly-woven Needle by award-winning author Patrice Lawrence, longlisted for the second consecutive year.  

New worlds or alternate realities are explored in The Worlds We Leave Behind, by A. F. Harrold, illustrated by Levi Pinfold, and The Eternal Return of Clara Hart by Louise Finch – an impactful exploration of toxic masculinity and the only debut on this year’s Medal for Writing longlist.

Alongside Pinfold and Lomenech Gill, the Medal for Illustration longlist features two other previously shortlisted artists: Júlia Sardà (2020) for the first book she has written as well as illustrated; and Yu Rong (2022) for her portrayal of hearing loss. Illustrator and author James Mayhew was also longlisted in 2019.

Five debuts feature on the longlist for the Medal for Illustration, with three of those finding success and inspiration in bringing true stories from history to life; Sophie Bass joyously illustrates a child’s journey to England on board Empire Windrush invivid colour in John Agard’s Windrush Child; Flora Delargy provides rich detail to a little ship that changed course to offer help in Rescuing Titanic; The Baker by the Sea atmospherically illustrates the fishing community and history of Lowestoft through pen-and-ink artwork, where author and illustrator Paula White grew up.

Conversely, Spanish illustrator Mariajo Ilustrajo’s longlisted debut picture book Flooded looks to the future, presenting an allegory of climate change and the importance of everyone working together. Roozeboo’s fun, inclusive debut Choices, where a girl people-watches at her local lido, also offers an important lesson for readers, encouraging them to reflect on the decisions they make, whether big or small.

Water is central to many of the longlisted titles and illustrated in a multitude of ways – from Teddy Keen’s journal sketches of the mysteriously erased river in The Unknown Adventurer’s Journey to the Last River, to the eerie watercolours by Alan Marks in Marianne McShane’s The Fog Catcher’s Daughter.

As well as sparking imaginations, picture books can provide a sensitive way to introduce sophisticated topics to children, to invite discussion and conversation. Excellent examples of this include Helen Cooper’s Saving the Butterfly illustrated by Gill Smith, about two refugees settling in a new country and the accompanying feelings of fear and hope, and Lucy Christopher’s The Queen on our Corner, illustrated by Nia Tudor, which introduces homelessness in a gentle but honest way.

The shortlists for the 2023 Yoto Carnegies will be announced on Friday 17 March. The winners’ ceremony will be hosted live and streamed from The Barbican on Wednesday 21 June. The winners will each receive £500 worth of books to donate to their local library, a specially commissioned golden medal and a £5,000 Colin Mears Award cash prize. The winners of the Shadowers’ Choice Medals – voted for and awarded by the children and young people – will also be presented at the ceremony.

Yoto, the innovative, screen-free audio platform for children, is the headline sponsor of the Awards. The Yoto Carnegies are sponsored by ALCS and Scholastic as the official book supplier, with First News as the official media partner for 2023.

– ENDS –

For further information on The Yoto Carnegies 2023 please visit: www.yotocarnegies.co.uk    

#YotoCarnegies23 | @CarnegieMedals

For media and interview requests, please contact:

Annabelle Wright or Sabina Maharjan at ed public relations on
annabelle@edpr.co.uk or sabina@edpr.co.uk or 020 7732 4796.

Author and illustrator biographies and images, book synopses and jackets
are available to download here.



About The Yoto Carnegies

About Yoto

About CILIP, the library and information association

About Scholastic

About the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society

About First News