HomeParents, carers and children → Choose from 20 brilliant books for children and young adults on the prestigious 2017 CILIP Carnegie Medal longlist

Choose from 20 brilliant books for children and young adults on the prestigious 2017 CILIP Carnegie Medal longlist

Written by · Published Feb 16, 2017

Time Travelling with a Hamster, Pax, Dreaming the Bear, Beck, The Marvels, Whisper To Me

The 2017 CILIP Carnegie Medal longlist has been announced. This prestigious book prize recognises the best children’s and Young Adult titles published each year.

The prize was established in 1936 in memory of the Scottish-born industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919). Carnegie used his wealth to set up ore than 2,800 libraries, claiming that his use of a library as a child contributed to his successful career. The Medal is awarded by CILIP - the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals.

The shortlist will be announced on Thursday 16 March, and the winner will be presented with their award on Monday 19 June. As well as a gold medal and £5,000, they will receive £500 worth of books to donate to their local library.

Aubrey and the Terrible Yoot, by Horatio Clare

“Aubrey is a rambunctious boy who tries to run before he can walk and has crashed two cars before he’s old enough to drive one. But when his father, Jim, falls under an horrendous spell Aubrey is determined to break it. Everyone says his task is impossible, but with the help of the animals of Rushing Wood, Aubrey will never give up and never surrender - even if he must fight the unkillable Spirit of Despair itself: the TERRIBLE YOOT!”

Sputnik’s Guide to Life on Earth, by Frank Cottrell Boyce

“The Blythes are a big, warm, rambunctious family who live on a small farm and sometimes foster children. Now Prez has come to live with them. But, though he seems cheerful and helpful, he never says a word.

“Then one day Prez answers the door to someone claiming to be his relative. This small, loud stranger carries a backpack, walks with a swagger and goes by the name of Sputnik. As Prez dithers on the doorstep, Sputnik strolls right past him and introduces himself to everyone in the household. Prez is amazed at the response. The family pat Sputnik on the head, call him a good boy and drop food into his mouth. It seems they all think Sputnik is a dog. It’s only Prez who thinks otherwise. But Prez soon finds himself having to defend the family from the chaos and danger unleashed by Sputnik, as household items come to life.”

Unbecoming, by Jenny Downham

“Katie’s life is falling apart: her mum’s controlling, her dad’s run off, she’s in love with someone whose identity she can’t reveal and now her estranged grandmother’s turned up on the doorstep and Katie’s expected to take care of her. Soon Katie discovers she’s not the only one in her family hiding the truth. If she’s going to get her life back together, she’s going to have to expose everyone’s deepest secrets - including her own.

“Spanning three generations of women in one family, Jenny sensitively addresses dementia, single motherhood, and teenage angst.”

The Bone Sparrow, by Zara Fraillon

“Subhi is a refugee. Born in a detention centre, all he knows of the world is that he’s at least 19 fence diamonds high, that the nice jackets never stay long, and at night the sea finds its way to his tent, bringing with it unusual treasures. Bringing him Jimmie.

“Jimmie lives on the Outside. Carrying a notebook that she’s unable to read and wearing a sparrow made out of bone around her neck - both talismans of her family’s past and the mother she’s lost - she strikes up an unlikely friendship with Subhi across the fence. As he reads aloud the tale of how Jimmie’s family came to be, both children discover the importance of their own stories in writing their futures.”

How Not To Disappear, by Clare Furniss

“Hattie’s summer isn’t going as planned. Her two best friends have abandoned her: Reuben has run off to Europe to ‘find himself’ and Kat is in Edinburgh with her new girlfriend. Meanwhile Hattie is stuck babysitting her twin siblings and dealing with endless drama around her mum’s wedding. Oh, and she’s also just discovered that she’s pregnant with Reuben’s baby.

“Then Gloria, Hattie’s great-aunt who no one even knew existed, comes crashing into her life. Gloria’s fiercely independent, rather too fond of a gin sling and is in the early stages of dementia. Together the two of them set out on a road trip of self-discovery - Gloria to finally confront the secrets of her past before they are erased from her memory forever and Hattie to face the hard choices that will determine her future.”

The Smell of Other People’s Houses, by Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock

“Alaska, 1970: growing up here is like nowhere else. Ruth wants to be remembered by her grieving mother. Dora wishes she was invisible to her abusive father. Alyce is staying at home to please her parents. Hank is running away for the sake of his brothers. Four very different lives are about to become entangled. Because if we don’t save each other, how can we begin to save ourselves?”

Whisper To Me, by Nick Lake

“Cassie’s heart was broken when she was younger, by a tragedy she can barely talk about. She lives near the beach, with her angry father and his collection of reptiles, and a voice that whispers strange, dark thoughts into her mind. Cassie is 17 and she is unravelling.

“Even when she first meets him, the boy, the one, she can’t begin to imagine that anything could happen between them. That he might be someone amazing. That in the course of one summer, she will go to the darkest places and back again, with him by her side. That she might have to hurt him to save herself. Told in flashbacks, as a letter from heartbreaker to heartbroken, this powerful, unforgettable novel is intense, explosive and utterly gripping.”

Beetle Boy, by M. G. Leonard

“Darkus is miserable. His dad has disappeared, and now he is living next door to the most disgusting neighbours ever. A giant beetle called Baxter comes to his rescue.

“But can the two solve the mystery of his dad’s disappearance, especially when links emerge to cruel Lucretia Cutter and her penchant for beetle jewellery? A coffee-mug mountain, home to a million insects, could provide the answer - if Darkus and Baxter are brave enough to find it.”

The Stars at Oktober Bend, by Glenda Millard

“Alice is 15, with hair as red as fire and skin as pale as bone, but something inside her is broken. She has a brain injury, the result of an assault.

“Manny was once a child soldier. He is 16 and has lost all his family. When Manny first sees Alice, she is sitting on the rusty roof of her river house, looking like a carving on an old-fashioned ship, sailing through the stars. He has a poem in his pocket and he knows the words by heart. And he is sure that girl has written them. When Manny and Alice meet they find the beginnings of love and healing.”

Pax, by Sara Pennypacker

“Pax was only a kit when his family was killed and he was rescued by ‘his boy’, Peter. Now the country is at war and when his father enlists, Peter has no choice but to move in with his grandfather. Far worse than leaving home is the fact that he has to leave Pax behind.

“But before Peter spends even one night under his grandfather’s roof he sneaks out into the night, determined to find his beloved friend. This is the story of Peter, Pax, and their journeys back to each other as war rampages throughout the country.”

Railhead, by Philip Reeve

“The Great Network is a place of drones and androids, Hive Monks and Station Angels. The place of the thousand gates, where sentient trains criss-cross the galaxy in a heartbeat. It is also a place of great dangers - especially for someone who rides the rails and rides his luck the way Zen Starling does.

“Once Zen was just a petty thief, stealing to support his family and living by his wits. Now everything has changed. Zen is still a thief - but it could be that the key to the whole universe rests on finding out what else he is…”

Beck, by Mal Peet with Meg Rosoff

“Born from a street liason between a poor young woman and an African soldier in the 1900s, Beck is soon orphaned and sent to the Catholic Brothers in Canada. Shipped to work on a farm, his escape takes him across the continent in search for belonging. Enduring abuse and many hardships, Beck has times of comfort and encouragement, eventually finding Grace, the woman with whom he can finally forge his life and shape his destiny as a young man.”

Started by Mal Peet and finished by Meg Rosoff following Peet’s death.

Orbiting Jupiter, by Gary D. Schmidt

“A heartbreaking story, narrated by 12-year-old Jack, whose family is caring for 14-year-old Joseph. Joseph is misunderstood. He was incarcerated for trying to kill a teacher. Or so the rumours say. But Jack and his family see something others in town don’t want to.

“What’s more, Joseph has a daughter he’s never seen. The two boys go on a journey through the bitter Maine winter to help Joseph find his baby - no matter the cost.”

The Marvels, by Brian Selznick

“In The Marvels, Selznick crafts another remarkable artistic and bookmaking achievement that weaves together two seemingly unrelated stories - one in words, the other in pictures - with spellbinding synergy.

“The illustrated story begins in 1766 with Billy Marvel, the lone survivor of a shipwreck, and charts the adventures of his family of actors over five generations. The prose story opens in 1990 and follows Joseph, who has run away from school to an estranged uncle’s puzzling house in London, where he, along with the reader, must piece together many mysteries.”

Salt to the Sea, by Ruta Sepetys

“It’s early 1945 and a group of people trek across Germany, bound together by their desperation to reach the ship that can take them away from the war-ravaged land. Four young people, each haunted by their own dark secret, narrate their unforgettable stories.

“This novel is based on a true story from the Second World War. When German ship the Wilhelm Gustloff was sunk in port in early 1945 it had over 9000 civilian refugees, including children, on board. Nearly all were drowned.”

Island, by Nicky Singer

“Urban teenager Cameron arrives in an uninhabited Arctic island. He’s prepared for ice and storms and, stripped of his smart technology, possibly boredom. But he’s not prepared for 24-hour daylight and erupting graves!

“At first Cameron believes the explanations of his scientist mother. But, as the island reveals itself to him, he begins to see, and hear, things that push him right to the edge of the possible. One of them is an Inuit girl. The other is a large white bear.”

Dreaming the Bear, by Mimi Thebo

“Dad made me come to this snowy wilderness. My natural habitat is the shopping mall and the multi-screen cinema. I miss my friends and I’m not good at skiing or chopping wood or living without wi-fi.

“Mum, Dad and Jem are all thriving here but I’m getting weaker and sicker with each day that passes. Then I find the bear. She’s huge and scary, but she makes me feel alive and connected to this amazing place. The thing is, she needs me just as much as I need her. And I don’t know if I’m strong enough.”

Time Travelling with a Hamster, by Ross Welford

"”My dad died twice. Once when he was thirty nine and again four years later when he was 12.”

“On Al Chaudhury’s 12th birthday his beloved Grandpa Byron gives him a letter from Al’s late father. In it Al receives a mission: travel back to 1984 in a secret time machine and save his father’s life.

“Al soon discovers that time travel requires daring and imagination. It also requires lies, theft, setting his school on fire and ignoring philosophical advice from Grandpa Byron. All without losing his pet hamster, Alan Shearer…”

Wolf Hollow, by Lauren Wolk

“Annabelle has lived in Wolf Hollow all her life: a quiet place, still scarred by two world wars. But when cruel, manipulative Betty arrives in town, Annabelle’s calm world is shattered, along with everything she’s ever known about right and wrong.

“When Betty accuses gentle loner Toby - a traumatised ex-soldier - of a terrible act, Annabelle knows he’s innocent. Then Betty disappears. Now Annabelle must protect Toby from the spiralling accusations and hysteria, until she can prove to Wolf Hollow what really happened to Betty.”

The Serpent King, by Jeff Zentner

“Dill’s father is in jail for an unspeakable crime. Shunned by the neighbours in their small religious Tennessee town, Dill and his mother try to make ends meet.

“Dill’s only respite from poverty and prejudice are his two friends: Lydia and Travis. Travis is an oddball, finding sanctuary from his violent father in his obsession with an epic fantasy saga. Lydia is fast-talking and fiercely creative, pinning her hopes on her achingly cool fashion blog. Dill fears his heart will break when she escapes to a better life in New York.

“Dill wants to get through his final year of high school in one piece. But there’s a dark secret at the heart of his family, a serpent poisoning his blood, filling him with despair. Dill must confront this legacy of madness and desperation before it tears him apart.”

Alice Violett

Alice Violett

I write and edit content for the Suffolk Libraries website. Visit my website.