History of the Medals

The Yoto Carnegie Medal

The Yoto Carnegie Medal is awarded annually to a book for children and young people that creates an outstanding reading experience through writing.

Medal holders include Arthur Ransome, C.S. Lewis, Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett, Phillip Pullman, Sally Gardner and Elizabeth Acevedo.

The Carnegie Medal was established in 1936 in memory of the great Scottish-born philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919). Carnegie was a self-made industrialist who made his fortune in steel in the USA. His experience of using a library as a child led him to resolve that “if ever wealth came to me that it should be used to establish free libraries.”

Carnegie set up more than 2800 libraries across the English-speaking world and, by the time of his death, over half the library authorities in Great Britain had Carnegie libraries.

First awarded to Arthur Ransome for Pigeon Post, the winner receives a golden medal and £500 worth of books to donate to a library of their choice. Since 2016 the winner of the Carnegie Medal has also been awarded the £5,000 Colin Mears Award.

The Yoto Kate Greenaway Medal

The Yoto Kate Greenaway Medal is the only prize in the UK to solely reward outstanding illustration in a children’s book; it is awarded annually to a children’s book illustrator whose artwork creates an outstanding reading experience.

The Kate Greenaway Medal was established in 1955, for distinguished illustration in a book for children. It is named after the popular and highly influential nineteenth century artist known for her fine children’s illustrations and designs.

Previous winners include Levi Pinfold, Raymond Briggs, Shirley Hughes, former Children’s Laureates Quentin Blake, Anthony Brown, Chris Riddell and Lauren Child.

The winner receives a golden medal and £500 worth of books to donate to a library of their choice. Since 2000, the winner of the Kate Greenaway Medal has also been awarded the £5,000 Colin Mears Award. Colin Mears, a Worthing based accountant and children’s book collector, left a bequest providing every Greenaway winner with a cash award as well as the coveted Medal.

The Medals are awarded annually by CILIP, the library and information association.