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.

Get Involved


"It didn't start with the river boy. It started, as so many things started, with Grandpa, and with swimming. It was only later when she came to think things over, that she realized that in a strange way the river boy had been part of her all along, like the figment of a dream. And the dream was her life."

River Boy

Carnegie winner: 1997
Author: Tim Bowler

Fifteen-year-old Jess is a keen swimmer and her grandfather is an artist.  Ailing after having suffered a heart attack, her grandfather has the absolute urge to complete the painting his working upon, River Boy.  With that in mind, he and Jess return to the valley where he grew up as a boy.

Grandfather’s waning health is a constant cause for concern and weighs heavily upon Jess.  When exploring the valley, she feels an ethereal presence and encounters an other-worldly boy.  He issues Jess a challenge, to swim with him from the river source out to the sea.

The course of the river constitutes a metaphor for the sequential nature of life and death and provides a poignant and understated and unsentimental reminder of the transience of life.  

Embracing bereavement, grief, acceptance, memory, this is a lyrical and story with a remarkable depth of emotion that speaks clearly on ideas of life and fulfilment.