A year on and our Carnegie Reading Group is still going strong. We are a group of current and ex-Goldsmiths MA students who meet on a 3-weekly basis to discuss one of the Carnegie Medal Winners. As you may have seen in previous blogposts I kicked off this ‘project’ back in April or May 2020. We were in Lockdown One with all the uncertainties that entailed and a course I had planned to take in the Summer Term was cancelled as Michael Rosen, who ran it, was in hospital with COVID. Casting about for something useful to do while in limbo (other than navigating homeschooling, volunteering to bring out food to the local community and enjoying some fantastic weather, which we could frankly do with now, too!) I decided to read the Carnegie Winners in chronological order from the beginning and blog about the progress.
I also asked my fellow students if they were interested in reading along with me. Thankfully some were keen to do so and our three-weekly chats have been part of my new social network, undisrupted by Covid, partial lockdown, full-lockdown, cancelled Christmas, travel bans stopping me from seeing my family etc.
So, where are we now? First, we read one Carnegie Medal from each decade from the 1930s onwards:
*The family from One End Street by Eve Garnett
The Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge
*The Borrowers by Mary Norton
*Tom’s Midnight Garden by Phillipa Pearce
*The Owl Service by Alan Garner
The Turbulent Term of Tyke Tiler by Gene Kemp
The Change Over by Margaret Mahy
*Skellig by David Almond
*A Gathering Light by Jennifer Donnelly
Bog Child by Siobhan Dowd
The Graveyard Child by Neil Gaiman
Buffalo Soldier by Tanya Landman
Then we went on to read the (remaining) Carnegies of Carnegies, i.e. the ‘top 10 Carnegies. We had already read quite a few of the Carnegie of Carnegies – they are the ones marked with a star above. The remaining ones which we read next were:
Junk by Melvyn Burgess
Storm by Kevin Crossland-Holland
Northern Lights by Philip Pullman
The Machine Gunners by Robert Westall
Then we read Here Lies Artur by Philip Reeve for no other reason that I had read it, loved it and was going to include it in my MA dissertation and was curious to hear what other people thought of it.
After that, we read Lark, the latest winner, followed by, at the next meeting coming up, one of this year’s shortlists: Clap When You Land by Elizabeth Acevedo.
Where to next? Maybe we’ll cycle back through the decades – it is quite ‘useful’ to read some of the earlier ones which are sometimes forgotten and difficult to get hold of. I will keep you updated on progress!
PS. As you all know, thankfully Michael Rosen is back on fine form and teaching the module which was cancelled last year. In fact, this is one of the reasons my blogging is not progressing fast – we are being kept to the grind-stone with uni projects!
2 thoughts on “Updates from our Carnegie Reading Group”
Sometimes when I’m reading your blog, I kind of regret that children’s literature is beyond the scope of the projects I’m working at. And I’m already overtasked as it is, so I just have to be satisfied with the crumbs that you drop while marking your path.
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What I am learning about ‘children’s literature’ is that it is not only for children, but for everybody. There are so many great books out there, the Carnegies, for sure, but lots and lots of other ones that are as enjoyable to read as an adult, possibly more so, than for a child. Thank you for following and commenting, I hope I can inspire you to pick up a children’s book to include in your project sometime in the future!
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