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Avid Readers Review Carnegie Shortlist

Members of KSA’s reading group, Cliffhangers, have been busy making their way through the books shortlisted for this year’s Carnegie Medal.

The award is voted for by children's librarians and is awarded for most outstanding children's book.

There are eight books on the shortlist and the Cliffhangers group has been busy reading as many as they can before the winner is announced on June 19th. They have been leaving reviews on KSA's official Carnegie shadowing site, which staff and pupils can also contribute to.

The group will join other students from Kettering schools at Bishop Stopford School next month, when they will debate the shortlist and decide which one they think should win the coveted prize.

Jade Tonks, who is a member of Cliffhangers, said: "I'm planning to read all eight books - I'm on my 6th and 7th at the moment. My favourite so far is Code Name Verity because it shows that women had a vital role in the war and that many of them did the same jobs as men.

"I like shadowing the Carnegie because you get to read a range of books you wouldn't normally read."

Older primary pupils in years 5 and 6 have also got involved as most of the shortlisted books are for children aged nine years plus - they also have their own Carnegie page.

A couple of Year 6 pupils have been visiting the library in secondary phase to join the Carnegie shadowing, while younger year groups have been shadowing the Kate Greenaway Medal, with early years classes contributing artwork.

Librarian Heidi Economou said: "The reason we always support the Carnegie Award is because it's named after the philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, who helped to set up free libraries. Kettering Library is one of the original Carnegie libraries.

"Carnegie shadowing encourages students to talk about books and explain what they like or don't like about them. It encourages opinion and debate and students can discuss the books with teachers.

"The books on this year's shortlist are really diverse. I think the favourite so far is Wonder."

The eight books shortlisted for this year's Carnegie award are:

THE WEIGHT OF WATER by Sarah Crossan
Armed with a suitcase and an old laundry bag filled with clothes, Kasienka and her mother head for England. Life is lonely for Kasienka. At home her mother's heart is breaking and, at school friends are scarce. But when someone special swims into her life, Kasienka learns that there might be more than one way for her to stay afloat.

Twelve-year-old Mary O'Hara is the youngest of four generations of strong Irish women. Mary's mother Scarlett is more than a match for her and her grandmother Emer would be, if she weren't dying in hospital. Her great-grandmother Tansey is the feistiest of them all - and she's dead. But then Tansey's ghost arrives on Mary's doorstep with a very special mission, to take a midnight road trip back to the past...

MAGGOT MOON by Sally Gardner
A ruthless regime is determined to beat its enemies in a race to the moon. But when his best friend Hector is suddenly taken away, it is up to unlikely hero Standish, his grandfather, and a small band of rebels, to confront and defeat the ever-present oppressive forces of the Motherland.

IN DARKNESS by Nick Lake
In the aftermath of the Haitian earthquake, Shorty, a teenage boy, is trapped beneath the rubble of a ruined hospital, thirsty, terrified and alone. He has been drawn into the gangster world but he harbours a secret: a flame of revenge and a burning wish to find the twin sister he lost seven years ago. Shorty's fires burn so bright he forges a link with Toussaint l'Ouverture, the Haitian rebel who led the slave revolt two centuries ago. Together they must face their own darkness and find the strength to survive.

WONDER by R. J. Palacio
Born with a terrible facial abnormality, shy, bright ten-year-old Auggie Pullman has had countless operations and has been home-schooled by his parents for his whole life. Now, for the first time, Auggie is being sent to a real school, exposing him to the stares and cruelty of the outside world - and he's dreading it. Through the voices of Auggie, his big sister Via, and his new friends Jack and Summer, Wonder follows Auggie's journey through his first year at Beecher Prep.

MIDWINTERBLOOD by Marcus Sedgwick
A story that spans hundreds of years, Midwinterblood tells the story of Eric and Merle who have loved and lost one another and who have been searching for each other ever since. In the seven different interweaving stories, the two appear as lovers, mother and son, brother and sister, artist and child, as they come close to finding each other before facing the ultimate sacrifice.

A BOY AND A BEAR IN A BOAT by Dave Shelton
A boy and a bear go to sea, equipped only with a suitcase, a comic book and a ukulele. They are only travelling a short distance and it really shouldn't take long. But then their boat encounters 'unforeseeable anomalies'... Faced with turbulent stormy seas, a terrifying sea monster and the rank remains of The Very Last Sandwich, the odds soon become pitted against our unlikely heroes in the story of a truly memorable friendship.

CODE NAME VERITY by Elizabeth Wein
Only in wartime could a stalwart lass from Manchester strike up a friendship with a Scottish aristocrat, one a pilot, the other a special operations executive, both serving during WWII. It's not long before they become devoted to each other. But then a vital mission goes wrong, and one of the friends is captured by the Gestapo. Now a prisoner of war, the story begins in "Verity's" own words, as she writes her account for her captors.