Welcome to our Anniversary Blog by resident blogger Jake Hope. Jake will be reading and reviewing all of the past CILIP Carnegie Medal winning books during the anniversary year. We are also asking shadowers to "Adopt a Book" and join in reading and discussing the anniversary titles in their shadowing groups.
"A starry darkness closed down over the valley of the Amazon, and the silent little river, and the cluster of white tents on the lawn. The camp fire among the bushes made the night seem darker than it was. They sat round it and talked, seeing each other's faces by the light of the flames. Bushes and tree trunks about them flickered into sight and out again as the flames leapt up or died. Everything seemed possible."
Appropriately, the inaugural winner of the CILIP Carnegie Medal – an award that was to become the gold standard in children's literature – saw its main characters prospecting for the precious metal amid the idyll of the Lake District. It's the epitome of the perfect summer adventure, beginning with a train journey at the start of the summer holidays, a sense of heat throughout and an encompassing and real feeling of possibility and intrigue.
There’s something exciting about beginnings, starting out on an adventure and never quite knowing where one will be taken. As part of the 80th Anniversary Carnegie medal celebrations, I’ll be reading all of the past winners of the medal, exploring their themes. I hope you might be willing to share in this adventure and might be tempted to read and contribute some of your own thoughts and comments along the way. Just as the friends John, Roger, Titty, Susan, Ruth, Margaret and the Ds went in search of treasure amid the mines of the mountains, I feel certain we will find our own troves.
One of the great strengths in Pigeon Post is the friendship between the three groups, the Swallows, the Amazons and the Ds. It is perfectly evoked and there's an enticing sense of freedom as they set off into the mountains in search of gold. Although alone in their adventure, the group has ties back to the adult world through the pigeons they use to carry messages and send word back to base. The landscape of the Lake District makes for a particularly vivid setting and one that is every bit as inspiring in the prose as the place itself with the majesty of the mountains and luminescent, alive quality of the lake.