Meet The Judges

The CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Judges 2018


Jake Hope

Chair of CKG 2018 Judges

Jake Hope is a reading development and children's book consultant. He was named one of only ten top librarians of the future and has worked as the reading development manager for one of the largest library authorities in the United Kingdom. Jake is a regular reviewer and commentator on all aspects of children's literature and has chaired numerous discussions and selection meetings. He has an active interest in diversity in children's books, has lectured on topics from psychoanalytic approaches to children's literature to approaches and roles for visual literacy. Jake has judged most major children's book awards in the UK, is a passionate advocate for reading and is delighted to be, and cannot quite believe he is Chair of the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway judging panels.


Ruth Parsons

Eastern CKG 2018 Judge

I can’t remember life before books and libraries. Thank you, parents.  My first favourite was Peter Puffer’s Fun Book, a thrilling blend of friendly steam engine, a frontispiece map, and the rescue of ducklings from Mr Fox, told in verse. I still love stylish books that transport me to another place, adventurously.

The school library was my second home. I even worked there after A-levels.  My voracious reading habit had prepared me for reading English at St Hilda’s College, Oxford. Later, I trained as a secondary school English teacher.  I loved promoting reading, especially persuading reluctant readers to open a book.  Helping run Carnegie Shadowing Groups was a summer highlight.  I studied Art History, as art galleries are my second favourite public spaces.

Three years ago, as a mother-of-three and a busy vicar’s wife, I wanted a career that would give me back my evenings.  No more marking!  I went back to my first love, libraries, becoming an assistant school librarian in our huge, thriving local high school, and started working towards CILIP Chartership.  As part of this journey, I joined the local YLG committee, and am enjoying my second year as the judge for the Eastern Region.  Ironically, I lost my evenings in the process last year, but have gained so much through the honour of reading so many nominated books. I look forward again to sharing them at school – our book group relishes discussing the CKG lists and choosing favourites. 


Chris Bertenshaw

East Midlands CKG 2018 Judge

I have been working for Derbyshire Libraries since 2010, first as a Library Assistant at Bolsover Library, then Assistant in Charge at Bakewell Library, and have always loved encouraging children to read. I am currently on secondment working to deliver work & money help to people in libraries throughout Derbyshire under the banner of Digital Inclusion. I joined the YLG East Midlands committee in 2015, and am always looking to volunteer for any other opportunities that might further my knowledge of the library world. During 2017 my family are trying to read 1000 picture books to raise awareness of reading and money for charity, which is fantastic fun. In my spare time I love spending time with my family, aspire to be an author of picture books through to adult novels, make amateur films with friends, compose and records music, love acting on stage, blog, play computer games, and never sleeps so I can accomplish all of this.


Caroline Fielding

London CKG 2018 Judge

I started my library career as a volunteer during the summer of 2004 and have been working with children and young people ever since (so 13 years). I got a library assistant job in the same library at the end of that summer and enjoyed being in public libraries for the next few years, achieving my MA in Librarianship at UCL in 2007 while working, until I decided to make the move to a school library in 2009.  I had my daughter in 2015 and currently, after a year’s maternity leave, am working part time as Librarian in a Special School.  I’ve been on the CILIP YLG London committee for 6 years.  I find it funny that I spent my teenage years reading grown up books but, having been working in children’s libraries most of my adult life, I basically only read from children’s lists!


Jennie Hillyard

North East CKG 2018 Judge

Despite working outside of public libraries in my career as the Librarian at the North of England Institute of Mining and Mechanical Engineers, my interest in Children’s Literature has continued throughout my life. I was lucky enough to study it as part of my English degree at Newcastle University and found it fascinating to look at picture books from a critical perspective for the first time. My dissertation for my MA also reflected my position: “Adults Reading Children’s Fiction in Public Libraries” after discovering the embarrassment a number of my friends felt at continuing to borrow children’s fiction as adults.

I continue to benefit from Newcastle University’s public lecture programme thanks to the Children’s Literature Unit and Seven Stories.

I enjoy working with children and young people when they visit the Mining Institute and our special collections, and seeing their reaction to the history within the building. I have been able to stay connected to the world of Children’s Fiction thanks to YLG North East and their events and I am also currently vice-chair of CILIP North East Regional Members Network.

I was overjoyed to be asked to be part of the judging panel for the Carnegie and Greenaway awards; it has been a dream since I discovered that ordinary librarians judge this prestigious award. Year one was a fantastic experience and I am looking forward to enjoying year two with yet more new children’s books.


Karen Poolton

North West CKG 2018 Judge

I feel very old when I realise that I now have over 30 years’ experience of working with children and young people in school and public libraries.

After graduating, I worked for a year as a Reference Librarian in the West Midlands before moving to the North West, where I took up a post as a school librarian in a secondary school. This gave me my first experience of working with young people and I loved it, staying there for a long time, including two maternity leave periods.

In 2000 I took up a post with Warrington Libraries managing a dual-use library. My role changed to managing staff in a group of community libraries but I always kept the dual-use library and continued to be their school librarian. This period widened my experience considerably beyond working with teenagers in school, but encouraging young people to read has always been my passion and, six years ago, when I was going to lose any direct work with children I decided to move back into a school environment. I'm now thoroughly enjoying my role as a Librarian at St Bede’s College in Manchester.

I have been involved with the North West YLG committee for over 11 years and feel really privileged (as well as excited and nervous) to be able to represent them as their Carnegie Greenaway judge.


Maura Farrelly

Northern Ireland CKG 2018 Judge

I grew up in the worlds created by Enid Blyton, Arthur Ransome, and E Nesbitt. Summer holidays were spent in libraries, or playing out the adventures of the Famous Five and the Walker children with my brothers.

Joining the library profession meant not having to leave those worlds completely behind. I have been a librarian now for almost 30 years and I love it! I have worked mainly in education: in several schools, for the Schools Library Service, and in Academic libraries and have always loved meeting readers of all ages.

After 13 years in Queen’s University, where I worked for Special Collections and the Arts & Humanities team, I was delighted to be appointed as College Librarian for Victoria College, Belfast in January this year. I am responsible for libraries on the Junior and Senior sites, and am also in the enviable position of having a Prep department to look after. With a nursery school also on site, I work with children from the age of 3 right up to 18. This gives me plenty of opportunity to indulge in my love of picture books as well as children’s and teen fiction.

Having avidly followed the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway awards each year, I feel so lucky to be a part of the process this year and look forward to reading many great books!


Lisa Penman

Scotland CKG 2018 Judge

I started working as a library assistant 10 years ago, when I got my first job in this profession based at Duloch Library in Dunfermline.  In this role I was able to gain lots of experience working with children and young people.  I ran Bookbug sessions, started up junior and teen reading groups, worked with visiting school and conducted story times and craft sessions within the library.  I love this job so much that I am still in this post on a part time basis! 

The other part of the week I work in the Service Development Team for Young People.  My substantive post is a Supervisor within this team where I cover 17 schools and 5 libraries within my area.  In this role I visit all of my schools on a regular basis.  Conducting class visits to the local library and get to work on many exciting projects with the schools to promote reading, such as our Big Book Brains Quiz, our Primary 7 Book Awards, and tablet taster sessions.  I am also a Bookbug trainer.  At the moment I am acting as Service Development Officer for Young People and have been very busy organising our Summer Reading Challenge.  I don’t think there could be a better job for me really.

I am also a mum of twin boys who are aged 7, I love to go swimming and absolutely adore cats (and reading).


Jenny Hawke

South East CKG 2018 Judge

From an early age I’ve always enjoyed reading and have fond memories of regular trips with my parents and sisters to the local library. Childhood favourites were Watership Down, The Borrowers, Tom’s Midnight Garden and poetry by A.A.Milne. I have always been passionate about children’s literature and children’s library services and promoting books to children and parents.

I started working in libraries when I left school in the 1980s with Southwark Libraries and helped run under-fives sessions and storytelling events, which I loved. After qualifying I spent a number of years as a trade union librarian but, whilst chartering I decided I wanted to go back into public libraries. During chartership I joined the YLG and went to a number of events and training activities and also set up a school library. I have now worked for Bromley Libraries for over eight years and have set up and run a number of children’s reading groups within my own branch which have catered for all ages from young children up to teens. With all these groups we have shadowed the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway medals.

Meeting authors, illustrators, publishers and other librarians has enthused and inspired me. I am committed to developing the reading skills and habits of children and young people and have thoroughly enjoyed my first year as a judge and am looking forward to the second year in this position, which I see as an honour and a privilege.


Hilary Gow

South West CKG 2018 Judge

Reading is one of my favourite things. I have always been entranced by the magic world that a good book allows you to enter, but I never imagined I would work in a library or that I would one day be a Carnegie Greenaway judge.  However, after having a family and doing many odd jobs (including renovating pianos) I had the fantastic opportunity of working as a library assistant at Bournemouth University in 1990.  They sponsored me to do a part-time PG Diploma in Information Management. In 1998 I got a job in Bournemouth public libraries as a Community Librarian and spent my first week persuading the Fire Service to send an engine and some firemen along to a children’s event where we were going to make a fire engine out of cardboard boxes.  In September 2001 I was seconded to Bournemouth’s first Surestart Children’s Centre where I spent a happy 5 years reading stories to families before returning to Bournemouth Libraries as their Bookstart and Early Years Librarian.  Over the past 11 years I have worked with all ages of children and young people aiming to encourage and perpetuate their love of reading.  I do feel a bit apprehensive about the number of books I will be reading over the next few months, but I am also very excited about it. 


Anne Thomas

Wales CKG 2018 Judge

I have worked in public libraries for over 20 years, involved with children generally but for the last few years my job has involved supporting the Senior Manager for Literacy and Learning in Conwy, based in Colwyn Bay and Llandudno libraries. This has included all aspects of library work with children, including Book Start, Summer Reading Challenge, story times and author visits. I also help with stock selection and ordering for ages 0-18 and adult learning materials for the Conwy libraries.

After a refurbishment in 2008 I did some reading and reviewing for Which Book and had a short involvement as part of the team planning and reading titles for the North East Wales Book Quiz, which was great fun.

I have been the librarian at Llandudno Library since 2012, managing staff, building and customers.

Children's books have always been important to me - the Carnegie 80th Anniversary Celebrations have thrown up some old favourites which has been a lot of fun. The need for good quality children's fiction is as important as ever and so I am delighted to be taking part in the judging panel representing Wales and am very much looking forward to the experience.


Amy Powell

West Midlands CKG 2018 Judge

I have always loved reading, and books and libraries played a huge part in my childhood. I’ll never forget the smell of my local library as a child and the feeling of excited anticipation I felt when walking in there, ready to choose my books for the next fortnight! Enid Blyton and Roald Dahl were my two favourite authors and I can remember getting my Nan to read stories from ‘The Magic Faraway Tree Collection’ over and over again. I remember taking out a copy of Esio Trot when I was 6 years old, it had just come out and I was the first person to borrow it from Shrewsbury Library, I was adamant that I would read it on my own, although the ‘tortoise language’ probably made this slightly more confusing!

During school and college my love of the classics grew and while studying for my English degree I fell in love with dystopian fiction, reading any example I could lay my hands on!

I became a qualified Librarian in 2008 and have worked as Librarian for Children and Young People for Telford and Wrekin Libraries since then. I love my job and the diversity it has, being able to promote my passion of reading and libraries to others has to be the best job in the world. I have worked closely with many local schools over the years and engaged with them in a variety of projects including ‘Telford Book Awards’, ‘Summer reading Challenge’ and ‘Carnegie Greenaway Shadowing Groups’. I have been a part of West Midlands YLG for 7 years and have been the West Midlands rep on the National YLG committee for the last 4 years.  All of which have given me great pleasure. I have read all of the nominated titles for Carnegie and Greenaway for the last three years and am thrilled and honoured to be returning to the judging panel this year!


Alison Cassels

Yorkshire & Humber CKG 2018 Judge

I was a passionate reader from my early years but realised I could work with books as a career on a work experience placement at a primary school. To keep me busy, they asked me to sort out the library and I thought ‘I could do this all the time!’ I’ve now worked in libraries for over 35 years in Cambridgeshire, Hampshire and currently in Wakefield. I’ve done a wide variety of jobs but I’ve always loved working with children ever since the day I first read ‘Harry the Dirty Dog’ to a Storytime group. I don’t know if they were hooked on storytelling by this experience, but I was.

My job title of Senior Library Officer for Reading and Children involves everything from stock selection and promotion to reader development, programmes and events for both adults and children. I particularly love anything that involves talking about books, from author visits to readers’ groups.  

Many years ago I visited The Manor at Hemingford Grey (‘Green Knowe’) and was so excited to be allowed to hold Lucy Boston’s Carnegie Medal (1961 A Stranger at Green Knowe).Little did I guess that one day I would have the privilege of helping to choose the Carnegie and Greenaway medal winners and in their 80/60th anniversary years too. I would say it was the experience of a lifetime but now it starts again and I think it will be even more exciting in 2018!