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    Shadowing the Carnegie Medal

    The CSG shadowing group consisted of keen readers from Year 7. Well done!



    The Carnegie Medal is the longest and most prestigious literary award for a book published for young people in the UK during the previous year. The award is judged by adults. Running in parallel is the Carnegie Shadowing Scheme whereby groups of young people in schools across the country read and discuss the shortlisted titles and vote for their own winner. 

    As in previous years, The CSG shadowing group consisted of keen readers from Year 7. Being part of the group requires considerable commitment. The students had to read 7 books, one per week, and discuss them at our weekly meetings. Having chosen their winner, the group then devised and performed a 5 minutes presentation about this book at a Shadowing Event organised by Camden Libraries for all the secondary schools in Camden. 

    Well done:

    Biba, Eliza, Liza, Rose (7c)

    Anna, Lydia, Martha, Maya (7m)

    Caitlin, Clara, Ella, Lola (7r)

    Freyja, Jasmine, Louisa, Mercy (7t)

    This year’s selection of books was particularly challenging. Indeed, one title, though well written and thought provoking, was unsuitable for under 16s and had found its way onto the shortlist via a loophole in the judging criteria. The CSG group did not read this book. 


    Our favourite books were as follows:

    - Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk will remind older readers of Harper Lee’s classic To Kill a Mockingbird.  Set in rural Pennsylvania during World War Two, the scapegoat here is Toby, a loner who has been traumatized by his experiences on the World War One battlefields. The main character Annabelle, is a 12 year old girl whose hitherto unremarkable life is made unbearable by teenager Betty, who has recently come to live in the community. This book is best suited to readers in Years 7 and 8.


    - The Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon is a novel with an important message. It is about the plight of refugees whose lives are literally on hold.  Subhi’s family are Rohingya Muslims. They escaped persecution in Myanmar only to be incarcerated in a detention camp in Australia. Subhi was born in the camp. It is the only place he knows. It seems he may die there too. This book is also best suited to readers in Years 7 and 8.


    - Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys. This historical novel was the winner of the Carnegie Medal 2017. It was also the overall favourite of Carnegie shadowers in the borough of Camden. It is based on a real disaster that happened at the end of World War Two that is also barely mentioned in history books. The MV Wilhelm Gustloff, a ship overloaded with Eastern European refugees escaping the Soviet advance was torpedoed and sank with the consequent loss of over 9000 lives. Gripping and heart-rending.  Observant readers will note the parallels with the current refugee crisis in Europe. This book is best suited to readers in years 9 and 10, especially those studying GCSE history.


    We have several copies of each of these books available for loan in the school library.


    Susan Green