The winners of the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Shadowers’ Choice Awards, voted for by children and young people, have been announced.
The Shadowing Groups chose The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta, illustrated by Anshika Khullar, (Hodder Children’s Books) as their favourite book from the Carnegie shortlist and The Undefeated illustrated by Kadir Nelson and written by Kwame Alexander (Andersen Press) was voted the Shadowers’ Choice for the Kate Greenaway shortlist.
Over 1000 shadowing groups took part in the Awards reading scheme across the UK and internationally, reading, reviewing and discussing the shortlisted books and sharing their views.
The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta is powerful and poignant coming of age novel that charts the life of Michael, who is mixed-race and gay, as he comes to terms with who he is and how others perceive him. Shadowers were inspired both by the energetic and engaging story told in verse and the impactful illustrations. Many Shadowers shared their flamingo-inspired artwork on the Shadowing website, including some fantastic interpretations of the striking book cover. In insightful reviews, Shadowers shared their reactions to the book: ‘This story shows that you can stand strong and be whoever you like’, ‘You will understand so much more about yourself and the other people around you by reading this book.’
Dean Atta said, ‘I’m so delighted the Shadowers have chosen The Black Flamingo for this award! I was really thrilled with the reviews and responses I saw from Shadowers on the awards website. I greatly appreciate the level of engagement the Shadowers have had with this book. A massive THANK YOU to all the schools and libraries who took part and selected The Black Flamingo. It’s such an honour!’
The Undefeated is a moving depiction of Black History. Shadowers were moved by Kadir’s ‘powerful and beautiful’ pictures and inspired to research some of the black heroes depicted in the book and share their findings and illustrations on the Shadowing website. Shadowers shared passionate responses to the book: ‘Wow. Just wow. I’m blown away by how inspirational this book is and how the amazing illustrations leave you speechless.’
On receiving the news of winning the Kate Greenaway Shadowers’ Choice Award, Kadir said, ‘It’s such an honour to be selected for the Kate Greenaway Medal Shadowers’ Choice Award by school children overseas! I’m totally honoured and humbled by the news.’
The 2020 Chair of CKG Judges, Julia Hale said ‘The Shadowers’ Choice Awards gives young readers, the most important people in the CKG awards process, their say on the shortlisted titles. In winning this unique award, The Black Flamingo and The Undefeated exemplify the power of representation in words and pictures for children to see and find themselves and understand each other better. Both books offer differing perspectives on Black experiences in their own voices. Dean Atta’s intimate, dazzling jewel of a verse novel is a uniquely British exploration of coming of age in London with Greek Cypriot and Jamaican heritage, whilst Kadir Nelson’s stunning portraits of African American icons are simultaneously haunting and inspirational. Both books are celebrations of pride, beauty and the search and fight for freedom on both an individual and wider level.
I am so delighted for Dean and Kadir and wish them many congratulations on their achievement as well as a huge thank you to all the shortlisted authors and illustrators and the shadowing groups for engaging so brilliantly with the awards this year.’
The Shadowers’ Choice Award winners were revealed during National Libraries Week in a special broadcast on CILIP’s #NationalShelfService. The Shadowers’ Choice winners were each presented with a certificate designed by participants of the Shadowing Scheme.