The winners of the 2014 CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals were announced on June 23 in London. The CILIP Carnegie Medal was awarded to Kevin Brooks for The Bunker Diary (Puffin) while Jon Klassen took the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal for This Is Not My Hat (Walker Books). It was a first win of these prestigious medals for both Brooks and Klassen. Each succeeded against an impressive shortlist, which included previous winners Anne Fine for the Carnegie and Oliver Jeffers for the Greenaway.
Brooks waited 10 years to get The Bunker Diary published despite having found fame quickly with his first title, Martyn Pig, which won the Branford Boase Award, and subsequent titles including Candy and Kissing the Rain. The story of a boy who is kidnapped and then held hostage in a bunker, it was originally rejected for its lack of a hopeful ending. “The history of The Bunker Diary makes this win particularly special,” Brooks told the audience at the Unicorn Theatre in his acceptance speech. “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.”
Brooks is delighted that standing by his principles has paid off. “The CILIP Carnegie Medal is the most prestigious award for children’s literature in the U.K., so I feel incredibly honored and thrilled that this year the judging panel has chosen The Bunker Diary as the recipient,” he told PW. “It’s especially satisfying to me as this is my fourth nomination, and I’ve always hoped and dreamed that one day I’d finally go on to actually win the award – and now my dream has come true!”
Klassen, who also faced criticism for the dark conclusion to his earlier picture book I Want My Hat Back, agreed with Brooks on the importance of the right ending for a story. “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,” he said in his acceptance speech. “This doesn't mean everything in the story turns out all right for everybody, but you, as a storyteller, try and make sure it ends the way the story should end. Any audience, children included, takes 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.”
Klassen, who adds this Kate Greenaway Medal to his Caldecott Medal success, is the first winner from Canada. “It's such an honor to have won this award,” he told PW. “The U.K. has such an amazing history and tradition of children's books – this list has people like Quentin Blake and Brian Wildsmith! It's amazing to be considered a part of that. Long live the Queen!”
Walker Books made publishing history at the 2014 Awards by scooping its 10th Kate Greenaway Medal, the highest number for any single publisher.