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:
25 books from 13 different independent publishers, including small presses Lantana, UCLan, Flying Eye Books, Child’s Play, Cicada, Otter-Barry Books, Little Island and Firefly Press.
Two books published by Bloomsbury Children’s Books longlisted in both Medal categories – a dazzling feminist retelling of the Greek myth, Medusa by Jessie Burton, illustrated by Olivia Lomenech Gill, and The Worlds We Leave Behind, written by A. F. Harrold and hauntingly illustrated by Levi Pinfold. Pinfold is a previous winner of the Carnegie Medal for Illustration, formerly known as the Kate Greenaway, for Black Dog in 2013; Lomenech Gill was shortlisted in 2014 for Where My Wellies Take Me.
Katya Balen, who was awarded the Carnegie Medal for Writing and Shadowers’ Choice Award last year for October, October – her third novel, The Light in Everything is a moving story of blended families and embracing change.
2017 Carnegie winner Ruta Sepetys for I Must Betray You, a YA thriller closely based on the real events of the Romanian Revolution of 1989.
Multi-shortlisted author Marcus Sedgwick, who has been longlisted posthumouslyfor Wrath – his first book for small independent publisher Barrington Stoke, who create books for dyslexic and reluctant readers.
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 Light in Everything by Katya Balen (Bloomsbury Children’s Books)
When Shadows Fall by Sita Brahmachari, illustrated by Natalie Sirett (Little Tiger)
Medusa by Jessie Burton, illustrated by Olivia Lomenech Gill (Bloomsbury Children’s Books)
The Blackthorn Branch by Elen Caldecott (Andersen Press)
Running with Horses by Jason Cockcroft (Andersen Press)
The Eternal Return of Clara Hart by Louise Finch (Little Island)
The Worlds We Leave Behind by A.F. Harrold, illustrated by Levi Pinfold (Bloomsbury Children’s Books)
Green Rising by Lauren James (Walker Books)
When Our Worlds Collided by Danielle Jawando (Simon & Schuster Children’s)
Needle by Patrice Lawrence (Barrington Stoke)
Julia and the Shark by Kiran Millwood Hargrave, illustrated by Tom de Freston (Orion Children’s Books)
Wrath by Marcus Sedgwick (Barrington Stoke)
I Must Betray You by Ruta Sepetys (Hodder Children’s Books)
The Silver Chain by Jion Sheibani (Hot Key Books)
The Blue Book of Nebo by Manon Steffan Ros (Firefly Press)
The 2023 Yoto Carnegie Medal for Illustration longlist is (alphabetical by illustrator surname):
John Agard’s Windrush Child illustrated by Sophie Bass, written by John Agard (Walker Books)
Rescuing Titanic illustrated and written by Flora Delargy (Wide Eyed Editions)
Flooded illustrated and written by Mariajo Illustrajo (Frances Lincoln)
Journey to the Last River illustrated by Teddy Keen, written by The Unknown Adventurer (Frances Lincoln)
Medusa illustrated by Olivia Lomenech Gill, written by Jessie Burton (Bloomsbury Children’s Books)
The Fog Catcher’s Daughter illustrated by Alan Marks, written by Marianne McShane (Walker Books)
Once Upon a Tune illustrated and written by James Mayhew (Otter-Barry Books)
Dadaji’s Paintbrush illustrated by Ruchi Mhasane, written by Rashmi Sirdeshpande (Andersen Press)
Alte Zachen: Old Things illustrated by Benjamin Phillips, written by Ziggy Hanaor (Circada Books)
The Worlds We Leave Behind illustrated by Levi Pinfold, written by A. F. Harrold (Bloomsbury Children’s Books)
The Visible Sounds illustrated by Yu Rong, written by Yin Jianling (UCLan Publishing)
Choices illustrated and written by Roozeboos (Child’s Play)
The Queen in the Cave illustrated and written by Júlia Sardà (Walker Studio)
Saving the Butterfly illustrated by Gill Smith, written by Helen Cooper (Walker Books)
The Comet illustrated and written by Joe Todd-Stanton (Flying Eye Books)
The Queen on our Corner illustrated by Nia Tudor, written by Lucy Christopher (Lantana)
The Baker by the Sea illustrated and written by Paula White (Templar Books)
Saving Sorya: Chang and the Sun Bear illustrated by Jeet Zdung, written by Trang Nguyen (Kingfisher)
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.
Author and illustrator biographies and images, book synopses and jackets are available to download here.
NOTES TO EDITORS:
Friday 17 March 2023: Shortlist announced, and Shadowing begins
Wednesday 21 June 2023: Winners announced at a live-streamed ceremony at The Barbican
About The Yoto Carnegies
The Yoto Carnegies celebrate outstanding achievement in children’s writing and illustration respectively and are unique in being judged by librarians.
The Yoto Carnegie Medal for Writing is awarded annually to a children’s book author whose writing creates an outstanding reading experience. It was established in 1936 in memory of the Scottish-born philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919).
The Yoto Carnegie Medal for Illustration, established in 1955, is awarded annually to a children’s book illustrator whose artwork creates an outstanding reading experience.
Each year thousands of reading groups in schools and libraries in the UK and overseas get involved in the Awards, with children and young people ‘shadowing’ the judging process. They read, discuss and review the books on the shortlists, get involved in reading related activity in groups, and vote for their favourite books to win to win The Yoto Carnegie Shadowers’ Choice Medals for Writing and Illustration.
In 2022, Katya Balen won both the Yoto Carnegie Medal and the Carnegie Shadowers’ Choice for October, October. The Yoto Kate Greenaway Medal – now named the Yoto Carnegie Medal for Illustration – was won by Danica Novgorodoff for Long Way Down and Mariachiara Di Giorgio was awarded the Greenaway Shadowers’ Choice for The Midnight Fair.
Yoto is the audio platform that kids control. Our audio players let kids safely explore their favourite stories, music and more without a screen.
Inspired by Montessori principals, Ben Drury and Filip Denker founded Yoto in 2017. The very first Yoto Player launched on Kickstarter, then sold out in 2019. The second generation Yoto Player was designed with renowned design agency, Pentagram, and launched in early 2020.
Yoto Player has won awards and accolades from critics and toddlers alike. TIME Magazine even named it one of the Best Inventions of 2020.
Yoto Mini – our portable audio player – launched in late 2021 and was awarded a D&AD Pencil in 2022.
Yoto’s platform features original content alongside audio licensed and co-created with partners. These include PRH, Macmillan, Sony, Disney, LEGO, Roald Dahl Story Company, HarperCollins, Hachette, Bonnier and Scholastic.
About CILIP, the library and information association
The Yoto Carnegies are managed by CILIP, the library and information association. The Medals are awarded annually by CILIP and the Youth Libraries Group with longlists announced in February, shortlists in March and the winners announced at a ceremony in June.
CILIP is the leading voice for the information, knowledge management and library profession. Our goal is to put information and library skills and professional values at the heart of a democratic, equal and prosperous society.
CILIP is a registered charity, no. 313014. The Youth Libraries Group (YLG) is a special interest group of CILIP who work to preserve and influence the provision of quality literature and library services for children and young people, both in public libraries and school library services.
YLG has 12 regional committees covering all of the UK, and each committee advertises and democratically recruits a judge to represent them on the panel of judges. Each judge serves a two-year term and each year the panel is a unique mix of new and experienced judges led by the Chair of Judges. Following the independent diversity review of the Awards, CILIP introduced a co-opting procedure so that if this recruitment process does not result in a sufficiently diverse and representative judging panel, up to two judges will be co-opted to join the panel.
In 2023, the judging panel includes 12 volunteer judges from CILIP’s Youth Libraries Group. Find out more about this year’s judges here.
For 100 years, Scholastic Corporation (NASDAQ: SCHL) has been encouraging the personal and intellectual growth of all children, beginning with literacy. Having earned a reputation as a trusted partner to educators and families, Scholastic is the world’s largest publisher and distributor of children’s books, a leading provider of literacy curriculum, professional services, and classroom magazines, and a producer of educational and entertaining children’s media. The Company creates and distributes bestselling books and e-books, print and technology-based learning programs for pre-K to grade 12, and other products and services that support children’s learning and literacy, both in school and at home. With 15 international operations and exports to 165 countries, Scholastic makes quality, affordable books available to all children around the world through school-based book clubs and book fairs, classroom libraries, school and public libraries, retail, and online
About the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society
The Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS) is a not-for-profit organisation started by writers for the benefit of all types of writers.
Owned by its members, ALCS collects money due for secondary uses of writers’ work. It is designed to support authors and their creativity; ensure they receive fair payment and see their rights are respected. It promotes and teaches the principles of copyright and campaigns for a fair deal.
It represents over 118,000 members, and since 1977 has paid over £600 million to writers. There is no other organisation quite like ALCS. Visit www.acls.co.uk
About First News
First News is the official media partner for The Yoto Carnegies 2023.
First News is the UK’s number one children’s newspaper, with a readership of over 2.6 million, including 7,500 subscribing schools.
It is a multi-award-winning publication, trusted by parents, endorsed by teachers, and loved by children.
Expertly written by award-winning journalists, First News takes the fear out of sensationalised stories providing a balanced and truthful view of the world, carefully and sensitively explaining context and background.
With daily online content and weekly delivery to your doorstep, First News provides factual, impartial news, sports, science, and entertainment from the UK and around the world.
Improving news literacy is at the heart of First News, whether through our acclaimed news service or our award-winning news-based learning tools and resources for schools and educators.