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The Carnegie/Greenaway Children’s Book Awards come to Upton Park

The school that I am currently working in has been chosen to take part in the Carnegie/Greenaway Shadowing Scheme. For those of you who may not know what it is (I didn’t until a month or so ago), it’s essentially a book club for selected children, who are given the opportunity to read some beautifully written, hand-picked books. These books have been nominated for the said Carnegie/Greenaway Children’s Book Award and our children will be given a voice to decide upon the winners of this prestigious award.

The children involved will meet once a week with me, to read and discuss a given novel. These sessions will be video recorded, to provide evidence of how the scheme is working and to help plan future activities. In addition, the group will have a webpage on a hosted site, where they will be asked to blog about the activities of the reading group. This is such an amazing opportunity! I work in the heart of East London, so for many of these children, far reaching opportunities are not always easy to come by.

Just before the Easter break we met up so that the children could select their first book of choice. Over the coming weeks, they will all have the chance to read any title from the books provided. And let me tell you, the list is exceptional, including Patrick Ness’ ‘A Monster Calls’, David Almond’s ‘My Name is Mina’ and Sonia Hartnett’s ‘The Midnight Zoo’.

Today was the first time we met to discuss the books. I’ll be honest, I didn’t really know what to expect in terms of the children’s response. I don’t want this to be adult led; it’s driven by the children, so it’s a gamble. What if they just say nothing? What if they forget to read their book? Within ten seconds (I’m not exaggerating here), all of my concerns melted away. The group spoke with passion and clarity about their reading. They got to grips with the characters, they had thought about who would enjoy reading the book next. It was one of the most exciting and rewarding experiences that I have had as a teacher in the past sixteen years.

We plan to share the titles for younger readers with our Reception and Year 1 pupils, with the reading group taking on the adult role as reader, gauging responses to text and illustration. As with the list of titles for our older readers, the quality for younger children is just as high, including Emily Gravett’s ‘Wolf Won’t Bite!’ and Petr Horáček’s ‘Puffin Peter’ amongst the delicious collection.

If you would like to find out more about the shortlists or maybe even get involved, there is a website with all of the info you will need:

http://www.carnegiegreenaway.org.uk/shadowingsite/

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The independent children's bookshop, tuition centre and cafe corner in the heart of Brentwood, Essex. Owned and run by Mr Frog & Mrs Chicken (happily married book-nerds), with the sole aim of bringing high quality books and tuition to our community.