Meet the Judges

The Yoto Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Judges 2022

If you would like to arrange a virtual visit from a CKG judge in your area, please get in touch with us at CKGCoordinator@CILIP.org.uk and we will do our best to help facilitate this.

Jennifer Horan

Chair of CKG 2022 Judges

Jennifer Horan is the 2022 Chair of Judges, and a former CKG Judge in 2016/2017. Jen is Past Chair of YLG Scotland and current National Rep. She is a Community Librarian for South Lanarkshire Libraries, having previously worked as a school librarian for just under 10 years. In 2021 she was longlisted for Scotland’s Library and Information Professional of the Year. A champion for children’s literature and an avid reader for as long as she can remember, Jen is honoured to be chairing the judging panel for this year’s medals.

Ros Harding

North West CKG 2022 Judge

I have always loved reading and was a regular visitor to my local library in South Wales when I was growing up. I initially applied to study English Literature at University, but after realising that I wasn’t allowed to read Jane Austen books for 3 years, I chose History instead. Using the library so much for research, gave me a real appreciation for the work of librarians and I started to see this as a career option. I was very lucky to get a graduate trainee post at the amazing London Library and then went on to study Library and Information Studies at UCL. After qualifying, I had a brief career in a charity library in London, but on moving to North Wales, I ‘fell’ into a school library job. This turned out to be the best thing that could have happened to me, as I love working with children and young people. I also discovered how publishing for children and teenagers had blossomed and quickly realised that reading for the job was not going to be an arduous task! I have worked in a few different schools, but have been at The King’s School, Chester since 2009. I am based in the secondary school, but I have the great privilege and joy of also getting to work with the Junior and Infant pupils on occasion. It is wonderful to be in a job where I get to share books with children and hopefully encourage them to develop the same love of reading. I was thrilled to receive the School Librarian of the Year Award in 2019, but having been involved with CKG shadowing groups throughout my school library career, my real dream come true is representing the North West region as a CKG judge.

Tiffany Haigh

Yorkshire & Humber CKG 2022 Judge

I fell in love with my local library while on maternity leave 14 years ago. I changed my career from an Advanced Skills Teacher, teaching English in Leeds, to working for Kirklees Libraries. I love reading, love talking about books and love my job as a librarian.

It’s wonderful to be part of the creative Kirklees team, trying lots of innovative, exciting things. I might be supporting a rap artist on the Be All I Can Be project in a recording studio one day, outside leading a storywalk the next or in a library running an empathy class visit. Since the pandemic, things have been a bit different, and I’m hugely proud to be involved in our Library Adventures Live! online author events.

I feel lucky to have been getting paid for working with children and young people since 1997. One of the most fulfilling aspects of my work has been leading CKG shadowing groups. I have led groups from Infant, Junior and Secondary schools, home educators, junior and teen library reading groups to shadow both the Kate Greenaway and Carnegie Awards, delivering Arts Award Discover, Explore and Bronze in the process. I am passionate about the impact the CKG awards can have on young people. I have seen the enthusiasm a connection with a book can awaken, how it can inspire curiosity and creativity and lead to a real change in that young person’s perception of the world.

I am so proud to be representing the Yorkshire and Humber region on the inspiring CKG judging team. I feel privileged to have this opportunity to expand my horizons, champion outstanding books and take part in developing the CKG readers of the future.

Balbir Kaur Agar

West Midlands CKG 2022 Judge

My childhood refuge was Smethwick Library where I found books that transported me to magical and not so magical places that I didn’t know existed.  Where I embarked on terrifying, sad, funny, life-changing journeys with inspirational people, complicated people, odd people, people I was never likely to meet. I never imagined that I would end up as a school librarian helping children to start their own reading adventures.

I studied for a degree in Librarianship & Information Studies at the University of Central England (now Birmingham City University) as a mature student and since qualifying I have not looked back. Life as a school librarian is so fulfilling, rewarding and challenging, after twenty-seven years I am still buzzing with ideas and projects to help our students develop a life-long love of reading and books.

I feel both privileged and honoured to be a part of the CKG judging panel. It is an amazing opportunity to work with fellow professionals and to be able to read, and critically analyse and assess the best children’s books – it has to be every librarian’s dream.

Holly Spoors

North East CKG 2022 Judge

I have always had a fascination with stories and storytelling, spanning across a variety of mediums, but none more so than the book. I find that each story presents a new set of coordinates to explore and further illuminates a map by which we navigate our lives, not too unlike building up experience in the use of an alethiometer.

My library career began at a public library, kept open by volunteers who were members of the community. As an assistant I not only gained an insight into library work, but more significantly into the community and the value of the service to them. I particularly enjoyed seeing children excitedly selecting their next books to take out, reminding me of my own excitement and the stacks I’d take home. Whilst studying for my degree in English Literature, absorbing myself in analysis and research, I took a shelving job at the university library. In the years that followed I built upon my experience working in a variety of academic library roles, and through my involvement with my regional member network of CILIP and North East groups such as YLG NE and RBSCG.

A highlight on this journey was my time working on a children’s book collection at the Robinson Library. I had the privilege of being surrounded by the special collections team and having an insight into their work as I catalogued the Brian Alderson Collection. It was an eclectic mix of forms, from picture book, board book, novelty box to novel and spanned a wide range of publication dates. However, I never had the time to appreciate the books like I wanted. I became aware of an adult CKG shadowing group aimed primarily at library staff and thought this would be an opportunity to engage with children’s books on a more meaningful level.

My current work as an academic library co-ordinator continues to build upon my skillset, now with a focus on library development, training provision and library acquisitions. I am also studying for an MA in Information and Library at Aberystwyth University. When the opportunity to become a CKG judge arose I seized the chance. I am proud to represent the North East in the CKG judging process and bring attention to books that will inspire and help the next generations of readers to grow.

Tanja Jennings

Northern Ireland CKG 2022 Judge

I’m a school librarian from Northern Ireland and a past Carnegie Greenaway judge [2016-2017 cycle]. From an early age I’ve been captivated by reading because of its immersive and transcendent power. My passion for literature led me to my vocation via a Joint Honours in English and History from University College Galway, an MA in the Poetry of Ireland from QUB and an MSc in Information and Library Studies, specialising in the study of Graphic Novels, from Aberystwyth. I also have a PG Dip in Children’s Literature from Roehampton and an NVQ qualification in Journalism.

In my post at Wellington College Belfast, held since 2004, I’ve enjoyed promoting reading to students, offering online support and assisting them with their information literacy. I’ve also supplemented their understanding of texts via literature presentations and taught good reading skills to struggling pupils.

Through my role as regional heat coordinator for the Kids’ Lit Quiz I have also had the delight of coaching enthusiastic teams in the sport of reading since 2006. Created by inspirational reading advocate and New Zealander Wayne Mills, KLQ showcased a wide range of genres providing challenging and fun questions.

Changing circumstances in 2020 meant that our students could no longer visit the library so I created an online Newsletter, set up an audio Book Flix on Google Classroom and ran a pop up library in the school’s courtyard.

I’ve also contributed book reviews to online and print publications. I enjoy creating Book Haikus and I have a book blog, which is a lovely way to connect with the reading community.

I’m honoured to be a CKG judge representing Northern Ireland for 2022-2023.

Phil Jarvis

South East CKG 2022 Judge

I’m really honoured to be selected as the YLG South-East judge for the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway awards. I have been working in public libraries for the last eight years, and in 2020 I became a librarian for Oxfordshire Libraries. I first became aware of the CKG awards in my first library assistant role at the Basingstoke Discovery Centre. I never thought that one day I would be on the panel arguing my case for which books I think deserve the medals, but I found the application process was demystified by some helpful webinars on what to put in the application. If you’re interested in applying for it in the future do definitely apply!

Over the last three years I have been on the panel for the Oxfordshire Libraries eBook short story competition, and was on the Oxfordshire Libraries team that produced “Now is the time-A poetry collection by young people in Oxfordshire” during the Covid-19 lockdown in 2020. I enjoy the process of reading creative work and debating on a panel the merits and detractions of a story. I’m always impressed at how much young emerging talent there is. I have also seen this in action when running creative writing clubs and choose-your-own-adventure workshops at Oxfordshire County Library.

I love the combined impact illustrations and a well-worded narrative can have on the reader and listener. It’s a real skill to weave an image and text together. My love of reading came from reading Roald Dahl and enjoying the illustrations by Quentin Blake. I’m excited to find out what contemporary publications will fire my imagination and where a great read will take me next.

Kelly Fuller

South West CKG 2022 Judge

I began my library career as a volunteer in 2016. I ran my daughter’s primary school library for a year and had so much fun. Since then, I have worked in a variety of roles in secondary school and public libraries, but currently I manage a Prison Library. Reading has always been my number one favourite pastime from a very young age and it’s a mindblowing honour to be part of the Carnegie and Greenaway Judging panel! I have run Carnegie groups in school and public libraries and we have also enjoyed reading the shortlists as part of my prison reading group. I’m a committee member of YLG South West and have thoroughly enjoyed the events that I have attended and helped facilitate as part of that. Libraries have always been a sanctuary for me and Children’s and Young Adult literature absolute escapism. I have learned, and continue to learn, so much about the world from children’s and YA books and am passionate about promoting and sharing this with others. Empathy, understanding and awareness of lives and experiences outside of your own are vital, today more than ever, and books should never be underestimated for their power to deliver this. The last year especially has highlighted the power of connection and comfort that books and reading can bring. I will never ever fail to be delighted by the simplicity and sheer joy of being able to visit a library and borrow a book – for free – or just sit in a library for as long as you want and read – again for free.

My family will need to come up with some more library jokes at my expense as I think they’re running a bit low…any suggestions…?!

Elle Codling

East Midlands CKG 2022 Judge

My love of reading began as a child, with regular family visits to our public library and fond memories of my dad reading aloud (with excellent voices for every character, of course!). And looking back at pictures of myself as a toddler, surrounded by books and sporting huge plastic glasses, it should have been obvious that I would end up as a librarian.

After a degree in English and Creative Writing, and an MA in English, I found a fantastic graduate trainee role in a school library. This was quickly followed up with an MA in Librarianship at the University of Sheffield.

I’ve been working as a librarian at Soar Valley College in Leicester since 2019, where we have shadowed the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway awards, as well as hosting a special book award of our own. The highlight of my career so far has been setting up a student librarian scheme, meaning students from across our school can support their peers and make sure everyone is represented fully in the books we lend.

When I’m not in the library, you can normally find me out doing something adventurous with my Guide group. As well as working with students in schools for more than four years, I’ve been a leader with Brownies and Guides for all my adult life. All the camping, exploring, and learning new skills makes me feel like I’m living out my childhood dream of finding myself inside all my favourite books!

Sarah Mathieson

Eastern CKG 2022 Judge

I am an avid reader of children’s and young adult fiction and I am enjoying discovering new books and authors, as well as revisiting classics from my own childhood, with my three daughters. I have been a library user for as long as I can remember and fondly recall weekly visits to the local library with my Dad.

I always knew I wanted to work with books in some way and I was delighted when I was offered a weekend position working in my hometown public library whilst I was studying for my MA in Library and Information Studies at UCL. I continued to work within public libraries in both Hertfordshire and Bedfordshire until 2005 when I started in my first School Librarian role as Head Librarian at St Columba’s College in St Albans, Herts. I worked at St Columba’s for 16 years, until May 2021, when I started as Librarian at St Francis’ College, an independent girls’ school in Letchworth, Herts.

I love working with children and young people and finding new ways to engage them in books and reading. I organise a wide variety of activities throughout the year to encourage the students to try something new and I founded the now annual St Albans Schools Book Award in 2017 that brings together students from local schools to discuss and celebrate books.

I am very much looking forward to being a judge for the CKG awards, which I know will be a challenging but ultimately very rewarding experience.

Aimee Timm

Wales CKG 2022 Judge

I’m honoured to be the Welsh judge for the CKG for 2022-23. I’ve been very lucky to work at Swansea Libraries for the past four years and this has sparked an absolute passion for children’s literature. I’ve followed the CKG awards for many years and having the opportunity to read and discuss diverse and inclusive books during such a time of creativity is both humbling and inspiring.

For over twenty years, my background has been in community arts, digital storytelling and youth theatre, which has all had its foundations in the stories of our communities. Being part of the visual arts for so long makes me particularly keen to discuss the Kate Greenaway nominations, returning to the immersive world of illustration.

It’s wonderful to be working with children and promoting reading for pleasure with library users in Swansea, we have amazing local and national talent which highlights Welsh language and culture. So, I’m excited to be able to expand on my recommendations, promote high quality books and play a part in elevating children’s literature for the next generation.

Stella Chevalier

London CKG 2022 Judge

My journey to CKG Judge has been a unique one: from playing in under 15’s snooker tournaments alongside Ronnie O’Sullivan, to hand-rearing orangutans at Gerald Durrell’s Jersey Zoo, to becoming a secondary school science teacher.

I have worked in libraries since 2005, starting at Summertown public library in Oxford as a library assistant, then becoming a chartered librarian during my time working for the London Borough of Sutton Libraries, where I organised adult literary events, children’s story times, Summer Reading Challenge events and school visits. I set up, and continue to voluntarily run the Preschool Parents’ Book club, a virtual and actual book club supporting parents to discover ‘me’ time through reading. Using a variety of reading materials differentiated for all abilities, parents engage in the transformative power of reading for pleasure and wellbeing for themselves, whilst being seen as reading role models to their children. We have been featured on the BBC Radio 2 book club and shadowed the Man Booker winning books for The Reading Agency in both 2018 and 2020.

I moved into school libraries five years ago, working as a secondary school librarian at Old Palace of John Whitgift School in Croydon, where I run book clubs for both students and staff alongside the Carnegie shadowing group.

I am passionate about everyone seeing themselves in books and engaging in reading. We are a nation of storytellers and all our stories need to be heard.

It is a privilege to be the CKG Judge for London for 2021/2022. I am looking forward to reading from a variety of authors and illustrators, and discovering the classic books of tomorrow.

Stella Hine

CKG 2022 Judge

Had you asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would have said a teacher or solicitor. Secretly, I harboured a dream of being a judge. However, others would have said I should be a librarian. I was always a bookworm. Reading and books were my refuge, my joy, my freedom and never moreso than today.

Both my personal and working life may be viewed through the lens of social justice which has always been at the very heart of my life journey. I completed my Master’s in Library and Information Studies in 1985, then went on an exciting life adventure with thrills and spills aplenty, from the SSEES Library at London University to the BLPES at the London School of Economics, on to teaching at the French School in Kaduna and the American International School of Abuja (both in Nigeria) then back to the UK for a postgraduate teaching qualification and 15 years of classroom teaching to completing a full circle, working as the site librarian at Brinsbury College (CCG) since 2018.

The CKG awards are a vital beacon in these challenging times, focussing our attention on the best of children’s and young adults’ literature, and finally offering a pathway to voices yet to be heard, revealing lives yet to be made visible. Reading and judging these nominated books will be the pinnacle of my professional career without doubt and I am privileged to be on the journey.

I smile every day when I think of this role. I have achieved my secret dream. So, whatever your dream may be, hold on to it.

Helen Muir

Scotland CKG 2022 Judge

I have loved books from as far back as I can remember, and every school holiday my first visit was always to my local library to stock up on reading material – my library card a prized possession! The power of stories to transport me to different places, lives, experiences and feelings will never cease to astonish me. Over the years, I have also been fascinated by how much the children’s and young adult book publishing world has grown and diversified.

After graduating from the Robert Gordon University with a BA(Hons) Librarianship & Information Studies, I started working in secondary school libraries in 1994 – firstly in Ayrshire, then the London Borough of Tower Hamlets until 2005. In 2017, after twelve years at Queen Margaret University library, I came back to a converged school/public library at Lasswade High School in Midlothian. The promotion of reading for pleasure is a particular focus of my current role working with school students and I read a wide range of children’s and YA books to support this.

Throughout my time working as a school librarian, I have always followed the process of the Carnegie and Greenaway awards and enjoyed sharing the nominated books with classes and shadowing groups. To be involved in this process now as a judge is a huge privilege and I look forward to all that it brings.