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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"Immediately overhead a tiny, dark dot was moving, so slowly that at first he could not be sure that it moved at all. At once, the little sound changed to a furious roar, so suddenly that he half expected to see the sky crazed all over like a cracked bowl. Across the fields came a vicious black aircraft, so low he thought he could have touched it, only when it passed over him he was crouched on the bank with his head down. When he looked up after it, it was no more than a thin slit in the sky out of which rolled wave after wave of booming sound."

Thunder and Lightnings

Carnegie winner: 1976
Author: Jan Mark

Andrew and his family move to East Anglia where he forges a friendship with neighbour Victor who holds an incredible and arcane knowledge about the aeroplanes that fly overhead from RAF Coltishall.  Andrew and Victor are both unusual boys, Andrew a new boy at school feeling everything is unfamiliar and different, Victor something of a misfit among his peers.

The developing friendship and the bond that is forged on the back of the aircrafts they love to watch, carries great emotional depth and resonance.  Not least, because the two boys have such different home lives, but nonetheless feel at odds with the adult environments in their homes with Victor’s mother being fastidious to extremes about her household and the Mitchells somewhat more laissez faire  in approach but sometimes excluding Andrew through the complexity of their conversation.

Atmosphere is strong throughout the book and the unending feel of the summer holiday seems to stretch immeasurably much like the landscape of Norfolk where the story is set.  There is a sense of change and progression as the Lightning Aircraft that the boys so love watching are phased out of service and the world moves on.

Despite its often unremarkable events, there is a palpable sense of character and atmosphere built through the novel and a strong awareness of the distinctiveness of adult and child worlds. The shrewd, sharp observation and the stylish manner in which this is relayed made this a remarkable and assured debut.