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.

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"Kit settled down to work with a will in the autumn. She had now been studying under Papa Andreas for a full year, and though the building-up process had seemed at first to be exasperatingly slow, she was beginning to feel her voice as an instrument. Confidence in that instrument was half the battle, she felt certain."

The Lark on the Wing

Carnegie winner: 1950
Author: Elfrida Vipont Foulds

Jane Kitson Haverard, affectionately known as Kit is the youngest child in a family of Quakers and an aspiring singer, but her dreams feel a long way off…  As she battles family opposition and must contend with a lack of money whilst she pursues her ambitions.  In spite of this she is supported by her two best friends, Hen and Pony, with whom she shares a flat when she moves to the bustling metropolis, London.

The challenges facing Kit grow when her father dies leaving her without means, but she is well supported by her music tutor Papa Andreas who finds her secretarial work.  The book, the second in the Haverard Family series, offers a real insight into Quaker life and beliefs, particularly showing the importance of community who rally together to support Kit.

Universal experiences are explored too in terms of family ties and expectations and the challenges that can exist in forging and following one’s own path.  In spite of Kit’s gift for singing, this is nonetheless something that she must work upon and that requires tutelage rather than being something deserving of immediate recognition.  Kit’s anxiety around performance and the ways in which she slowly and steadily gains in confidence provides a metaphor in gradually finding assurance in our characters and persona during the often-rocky transition from childhood to adulthood.

A fascinating insight into Quaker life and an exploration of the pursuit of dreams that forms a cultural counterpoint to the many contemporary reality shows around fame and singing. Family, freedom and the capacity music holds to transcend our everyday challenges make this a memorable read.


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Why we chose this book ...

"We are adopting this book because the author went to our school. It is very inspiring to think that a pupil from Manchester High School for Girls went on to be an award-winning author. We will be reading the book during Feb and Mar 2017."