The CILIP Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Medals are the UK’s oldest and best-loved children’s book awards. They recognise outstanding reading experiences created through the writing and illustration of books for children and young people.
‘Lark’, by Anthony McGowan, scooped the 2020 Carnegie Medal for writing, with his use of captivating words and imagery to explore humankind’s relationship with nature, alongside themes of survival.
The OHS Book Club has been following the Carnegie Awards and although ‘Lark’ was not their favourite entry, Bryony (Year 9) has very kindly made an atmospheric recording of her reading the story.
The Book Club’s favourite entry was ‘Nowhere On Earth’ by Nick Lake. It’s a thrilling story of survival, hope, and a love beyond all understanding,
Four of the books from the shortlist are available on the OHS e-book platform (library list – Carnegie) Click on Office 365 and allow yourself to be redirected
We welcome you to take a moment to read the reviews from the OHS Book Club.
This is a heartwarming book about brotherhood and adventure. Nicky and Kenny are brothers and they decide to go down to the moors to look for Larks with their dog Tina. But they have to set off while it is still dark to be back in time for bed! Oh – ‘what happens next?’ I hear you ask. Well, you will have to read the book to find out. Anthony McGowan is a brilliant author who definitely knows how to tell a story. I would recommend this book for readers over twelve who love to read about adventures that they might have themselves. It is a lovely book and very hard to put down. The one bit of advice you should learn from this book is: ‘Always stick to the path!’
The Black Flamingo
This book was a heart-warming novel about a gay boy’s experience from his earliest years to his adulthood. It is about how he learns to embrace his identity, race and sexuality through the support and actions of the people around him. I loved the poem format and the poems that Michael writes, particularly one called ‘The Hall of Mirrors’. The way that some of the story was conveyed through poems, texts and letters was really interesting to read. I read this book in one sitting: it was engaging as well as fairly easy to read. This is a great YA book and I would recommend it to anyone above the age of 12. It ends on a really positive note and the whole book is very uplifting.
Nowhere on Earth
Nowhere on Earth was a touching, wonderful story. It follows a teenage girl and her ‘brother’ on the run from some mysterious men after their plane crashes. The way that the characters were described made them relatable and it felt like I really got to know them. It was written in closed third person in a way that sort of represented Emily’s thoughts. I liked the Alaskan wilderness setting because it is a very unique place to set a book. I also really liked the bond between Emily and Aiden: it was heart-warming. The story was well-structured, exciting and even funny at some points. It had a bittersweet ending: sad but with a hopeful message too.
Lampie is an absolutely incredible book full of magic and mystery. I was completely captivated by the story: it’s funny, sad, sweet and tragic all at the same time. I loved the beginning of the book, when Lampie is introduced. It set the theme of the book perfectly, and left me wanting to read on. All the characters were very real, and I could identify with all of them. The ending of the book was perfect: it tied together all of the pieces, and yet it was totally unpredictable. The illustrations in Lampie were also amazing, and added depth to the story. Overall, I loved this book and I’m definitely going to be reading it again!
Lampie is a girl who works at the lighthouse. Its her job to light the lamp every night, but one night there’s a mistake and the lamp isn’t lit. A ship crashes as a result of it. Lampie is taken away from the lighthouse and her father. She is sent to work at the black house where a monster lurks in the tower. It is there that her adventure begins. Lampie is a thrilling mix of adventure and friendship, fairy tale and pirates. Lampie fights to figure out her own past and that of her friends. Lampie is a brilliant book that everyone should read. It is a beautiful twist of danger and wonder. I loved it and everyone who reads it will love it too.
Girl. Boy. Sea.
Girl. Boy. Sea follows the journey of Bill after his yacht sinks and he is separated from his crew. It describes in the first person about how he finds another shipwrecked girl and comes to know her better as they survive together in the ocean. I like how the stories that Aya tells relate to their situation. I love how Chris Vick describes the power of the sun and sea as demons, sometimes passive, sometimes malevolent. The story is well thought-out, thought-provoking and interesting. The ending is especially well written as it is mysterious yet satisfactory.
Girl. Boy. Sea.
Girl. Boy. Sea follows Bill, a 15 year old boy washed off a yacht by a storm and Aya, a mysterious survivor from another wreck. The sea throws them together and they have to find a way to survive and to not give up hope. Bill is forced to attempt things he’s never done before and all the while Aya is telling stories. Story upon story to help them keep going and to help understand. Girl. Boy. Sea is a thrilling tale filled with desperate acts and determination. Everyone should read it because it makes you wonder what you would do in their situation, and whether you would have survived.
Nowhere on Earth
Nowhere on Earth is a gripping book set in Alaska. To really get stuck into this book I would recommend you read this in a cold place (this is what happened to me) as it helps you empathise with the characters who are always really cold. This story revolves around two ‘children’, Emily and her brother Aidan. Throughout the book they are continuously running away from and to something (or someone). In their attempt to do this they stow away on a plane which crashes and they meet Bob the pilot. Bob is a great character (my favourite) and they quickly and unwittingly become friends. Their main goal in the entire book is to survive and that may be harder for some of them than others *cough* Bob, the 30 year old *cough*. The characters develop nicely and they are relatable and interesting. The bond between the three protagonists is sweet and wholesome. The plot is well thought-out and interesting throughout. I couldn’t put it down. There is always something you want to know to keep you hooked and the answers definitely don’t fall short of expectations. I would definitely recommend.
Girl. Boy. Sea.
When Bill is separated from his crew on a sailing trip and cast adrift in a lifeboat, he all but loses hope of survival. When he finds Aya, a survivor of another sinking, he suddenly has something to live for again. Though they are distrustful of each other at first, they gradually come to rely on each other in many ways. Throughout their ordeal, Aya helps both of them to keep going by telling her own versions of stories from the Arabian nights. I originally picked up this book because of the interesting cover, and I initially didn’t enjoy the story that much as it described how Bill was separated from his crew and isolated on the lifeboat. However, when Aya entered the story it got much more engaging. The accounts of the hunger, desperation and boredom that castaways experience reminded me a lot of the book ‘Life of Pi’. This book was hard-hitting and gripping, and I really liked the ending because it was sort of unexpected and left you with questions.
On The Come Up
Bri Jackson is a rapper and she is on the come up. Bri’s dream is to become a famous rapper but it starts to feel unacheivable as she struggles with poverty and abuse because of where she lives and what colour her skin is. As Bri fights to make her voice heard, people are changing her words and making her into somthing she doesnt want to be, but can she find her own way to help herself, her family and others like her who dont have a voice? On the Come Up is an insprational book which really highlights the hardships in some people’s lives. It really makes you appreciate how lucky we are to live where there isn’t that sort of discrimination. I would recommend this book ages 11+, it is so good and everyone should read it and might learn somthing from it to.
The Black Flamingo
The Black Flamingo follows Michael as he struggles to figure out who he is and who he wants to be in a world where people look down on him becuase of his race and gender. His friends and family support him but they cannot tell him who he should be. Michael has to learn to stand up for himself and to not be ashamed of who he is. The Black Flamingo is a brilliant book, it shows you that not everything is fair in the world and that you have to fight for what you believe. I would recommend this book to ages 11+. Everyone should give it a go.
Nowhere on Earth
Nowhere on earth is a heart-wrenching tale of love. Sixteen year old Emily braves the turbulence of a cargo plane, the wilderness of Alaska, and the wrath of her parents to keep her little brother Aidan safe. Bob, the pilot of the plane the siblings had stowed away in, helps them escape the grips of the men following them. Meanwhile Emily still hasn’t given up her dream of dancing, which she couldn’t continue after the family moved to Alaska. In the moonlit snow filled with silence and fear, she begins the most beautiful solo the world has ever seen.
The Black Flamingo
The Black Flamingo is a book about discovering yourself and not hiding from who you are. This is the story about a boy named Michael and his path to freedom. I like the fact that the book is written in verse and the writing is relatable, even though not everybody feels that a gay drag queen is relatable, the style of writing certainly is. I love the fact that this could easily be a real story, and you sympathise with the characters all the way.
Patron Saints of Nothing
When Jay, whose dad is Filipino and whose mum is American, finds out that his Filipino cousin Jun had been killed, it affects him more strongly than it should. He hasn’t seen Jun in person in nearly a decade and he lives on the other side of the world in the USA. Why should Jay care? But when he discovers that Jun was killed unnecessarily and perhaps unjustly as part of the Filipino Government’s drug war, he is appalled. Jay travels to the Philippines to try to find out the truth about what happened to his cousin and many others like him in the Filipino Government’s brutal crackdown on people suspected of drug use. As he searches, he finds out things he never knew about his cousin, his family and the country he was born in. This book is gripping, hard-hitting and very relevant to the world today. I thought that it captured very well the experience of returning to a country where you feel guilty for not knowing the language and customs, having lived elsewhere for most of your life.