Diversity requirements added to the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Book Awards criteria

logo for Carnegie Kate Greenaway award. A blue box with a white cirle inside. the circle has the title of the award (The CILIP Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Children's Book Awards), and there are also two further circles, a blue one with a statue in front of a bridge, and a grreen one with a standing child holding a book CILIP has announced revised judging criteria for the 2020 CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals. In order to encourage more inclusive, child-focused awards, the association will invite judges and shadow judges “to reflect on the experiences and representation within each nominated book, the author’s treatment of the characters and plot, and the book’s relatability to and potential resonance with its readership”.

Concerns about the 2017 Carnegie and Greenaway shortlists meant that last year, CILIP carried out a review on equality, diversity and inclusion. This resulted in an advisory panel working alongside the 2019 judges “to help ensure diversity and inclusion are embedded throughout the awards process”, and there were Shadowers’ Choice awards judged by UK schoolchildren.

Jake Hope, the recently appointed chair of the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Awards working party, said: “I am pleased to share that CILIP and Youth Libraries’ Group (YLG) are re-positioning the awards’ criteria in order that they connect with the broadest range of readers possible. This is an ongoing process towards greater inclusivity across both medals, as we continue to celebrate the brilliant writing and illustration published in the UK and the outstanding reading experiences they offer.

“We hope our new criteria will facilitate open consideration and discussion both by judges and shadowing groups as they read the books in contention for the medals, and lead to lists of titles that reflect the broad range of perspectives, experiences and voices encompassed by our readers. We are grateful to all those who have collaborated with us on the review process for the Carnegie Medal, with special thanks to the team at the University of Central Lancashire who carried out extensive research to help us shape the new criteria.”

logo of Inclusive Minds - a white box with a stylised book open, and a child popping out of it. The words around the book are We're IN-clusively-Minded. Everybody in BooksCILIP has also announced a partnership with Inclusive Minds which is a collective focussing on inclusion, diversity, equality and accessibility in children’s books. The collective will provide guidance on titles in contention for the medals and contribute to the shadowing scheme resources. An inclusion ambassador shadowing group will read the shortlisted titles and provide feedback.

Alexandra Strick and Beth Cox, co-founders of Inclusive Minds, said: “The best children’s books are outstanding stories that are naturally inclusive, representing diverse perspectives and experiences. These awards represent such an important way of highlighting and celebrating the very best such books… It is vital that young people with lived experience of different facets of diversity have a real voice in the world of children’s books.”

Nick Poole, chief executive of CILIP, said: “In 2019, we were fortunate to work with an expert equality, diversity and inclusion panel who observed the awards’ processes and shared their insights and experience, and we look forward to building on this work through this new partnership. By working with Inclusive Minds and their ambassadors alongside our network of volunteer librarians, we can ensure a diversity of perspectives feed into the awards processes. I can’t wait to see the wonderful books in contention for the 2020 medals, and am grateful to Inclusive Minds for helping CILIP to ensure the awards continue to evolve and thrive.”

Nominations for the 2020 awards will open on Friday 13 September 2019. They will be announced in November. The longlists will be announced on 20 February 2020; the shortlists will be announced on 19 March; and the winners will be announced on 17 June. Julia Hale, school libraries advisor and South West representative for the Youth Libraries Group, will chair the judges.