Shortlists for Yoto Carnegie Greenaway Awards 2022 Celebrate the Power of Friendship and Pictures to Create Empathy, Connection and Hope

carnegiegreenaway.org.uk / #CKG22

Wednesday 16th February 2022: The UK’s longest running and best-loved book awards for children and young people, the Yoto Carnegie Greenaway Awards, today announced the shortlists for 2022.

The Awards celebrate outstanding achievement in children’s writing and illustration respectively and are unique in being judged by children’s and youth librarians, with the Shadowers’ Choice Award voted for by children and young people.

16 books have been selected in total – eight for the Yoto Carnegie Medal and eight for the Yoto Kate Greenaway Medal – from a longlist of 33 titles. They were chosen by an expert team of volunteer judges, featuring 14 librarians from CILIP’s Youth Libraries Group based across the UK.

The 2022 Yoto Carnegie Medal shortlist (alphabetical by author surname):

The 2022 Yoto Kate Greenaway Medal shortlist (alphabetical by illustrator surname):

Jennifer Horan, Chair of Judges for the Yoto Carnegie Greenaway Awards 2022, comments:

“My fellow judges and I are proud of our sixteen-strong shortlist of books for the Yoto Carnegie Greenaway Awards, which we hope will excite, move and empower the young readers who pick them up, including the thousands shadowing this year’s Awards. On a personal level, having a research interest in the link between children’s literature and empathy, I’m thrilled that our Yoto Carnegie shortlist showcases how friendship can help young people find the strength to navigate a path through challenging times. We’re also delighted to celebrate the power of pictures, not only on the Yoto Kate Greenaway list but in a couple of Carnegie titles too. Many of our shortlisted books remind us that art can help us to communicate and connect with young people when words sometimes fail us. The Shadowing Groups and our young readers now share the judges’ difficult task of picking two winners from this rich pool of talent.”

The shortlist in more detail

Friendships come to the fore in titles across the Yoto Carnegie shortlist from the angry boy and his gruff zoo-keeper host during the Second World War in When the Sky Falls, the20th book from children’s publishing professional and former booksellerPhil Earle; to the two teenagers from opposite worlds brought together by the refugee crisis in the Costa Children’s Book Award-winning The Crossing from Manjeet Mann. Mann was the 2021 Carnegie Shadowers’ Choice winner for Run, Rebel and is an actress, playwright, and founder of Run the World, which empowers women and girls from marginalised backgrounds. In her debut, Guard Your Heart, which was joint winner of the Irish Novel Fair, Sue Divin uses the experience of her day job in peacebuilding in Derry to chart the relationship between two teenagers born on the day of the Northern Ireland peace deal – Aidan, Catholic, Irish and republican, and Iona, Protestant and British – as they navigate their differences.

Real-life events are the inspiration for the majority of the Yoto Carnegie shortlist novels, including Cane Warriors, which follows the slave rebellion known as Tacky’s War in 18th century Jamaica from the perspective of 14-year-old Moa. It is written by Alex Wheatle, the ‘Brixton Bard’ and bestselling author born to Jamaican parents whose life inspired an episode of Steve McQueen’s Small Axe series. Punching the Air by New York Times-bestselling author Ibi Zoboi and poet and activist Dr Yusef Salaam, a member of ‘The Exonerated Five’, is a novel in verse based on Salaam’s experience that looks at the reality of the criminal justice system for young people of colour in America. The 2011 Japanese earthquake and tsunami is at the heart of Tsunami Girl, a part-prose, part-manga coming-of-age story, illustrated by Chie Kutsuwada and written by Julian Sedgwick, the 2020 Carnegie-shortlisted co-author of Voyages in the Underworld of Orpheus Black.

Another illustrated title on the Carnegie shortlist is October, October, the story of a girl whose wild life in the woods changes dramatically the year she turns 11. Accompanied by drawings from Angela Harding, it is the second novel from Katya Balen, author and co-director of Mainspring Arts, an organisation which runs creative workshops for neurodivergent people. A rural setting and strong sense of place is also captured in the final shortlisted title, Everyone Dies Famous in a Small Town, which follows the interlinked stories of teenage secrets, rage and love across the American West. It is also the second novel from Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock, who wasshortlisted for the Carnegie Medal in 2017 for The Smell of Other People’s Houses, a long-time journalist for Alaskan Public Radio and a former commercial fisherwoman.

On this year’s Yoto Kate Greenaway shortlist several of the books use imagery to help young readers to better understand the world and its challenges. Award-winning current affairs artist and co-founder of the Hands Up Foundation, George Butler has drawn on his experience of reporting on global crises to create his debut Drawn Across Borders, a record of human migration which introduces the humans behind the headlines. Teenage gang violence and grief is explored in writer, graphic designer and horse wrangler Danica Novgorodoff’s graphic novel edition of the 2019 Carnegie-shortlisted and UKLA Book Awards winner Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds (Reynolds was also last year’s Carnegie Medal winner for Look Both Ways). Emily Gravett, two-time Kate Greenaway Medal winner (Wolves, 2005 and Little Mouse’s Big Book of Fears, 2008), uses her rhyming picture book Too Much Stuff featuring two magpies who like to hoard to warn about the perils of overconsumption.

Other titles on the shortlist support children in navigating and embracing difference and in finding their own place in the world. Sydney Smith, who has also won the Kate Greenaway Medal twice(Town Is by the Sea, 2018 and Small in the City, 2021), is shortlisted for I Talk Like a River. Inspired by poet and debut picture book author Jordan Scott’s own experience, the story isabout a lonely boy who stutters but finds comfort in nature and sharing his experience with his father. The New York Times-bestselling Milo Imagines the World isfrom Caldecott Medal-winning illustrator and Pixar and Sesame Street animator Christian Robinson and written by Matt de la Pena. A lesson in not judging by appearance, the story follows a boy watching strangers on the train ride to visit his mother in prison. Shu Lin’s Grandpa, fromaward-winning picture book illustrator Yu Rong, who studied her MA under Quentin Blake, and author Matt Goodfellow is the tale of a Chinese immigrant girl struggling to fit in at school, until her grandpa pays a visit and shows the class his paintings.

The final two books on the shortlist are wordless explorations of nature and animals. The Midnight Fairfrom illustrator, storyboard artist and concept designer Mariachiara Di Giorgio, and written by Gideon Sterer uncovers the secret life of animals that make their own fun in a fairground at night. Peter Van den Ende, a Cayman Islands nature guide, used the beauty of the sea as his source of inspiration for his debut The Wanderer, the story of a boat ride home through oceanscapes full of fantastical creatures.

Shortlist celebrations

This year, the Yoto Carnegie Greenaway Awards are running a series of #YotoCarnegieReadAlong and #YotoGreenawayDrawAlong events. There will be two live events, along with shortlist packs available for schools and libraries to enable them to host their own celebrations. More details will be released soon.

The Awards are also expanding their reading campaign with shortlist POS packs being made available to public and school libraries as well as to retailers for the first time, including stickers, bookmarks and posters.

Winner announcement

The winners will be announced and celebrated on Thursday 16th June at a lunchtime ceremony at The British Library, hosted by award-winning poet and novelist Dean Atta, who won the Carnegie Shadowers’ Choice for The Black Flamingo in 2020.

The winners will each receive £500 worth of books to donate to their local library, a specially commissioned golden medal and a £5,000 Colin Mears Award cash prize.

Now in its fourth year, the Shadowers’ Choice Award – voted for and awarded by the children and young people who shadow the Medals – will also be announced at the ceremony. To kick off the 2022 Shadowing process, that launches today, yesterday (15 March) shadowing groups enjoyed a special virtual event featuring last year’s Carnegie winner Jason Reynolds interviewed by 2022 judge and librarian Kelly Fuller.

The Awards are sponsored by Yoto, the innovative, screen-free audio platform for children; Peters, the official book supplier; and ALCS, champions of authors’ rights. With their support, the Yoto Carnegie Greenaway Awards aim to inspire and empower a new generation of readers.

For further information on the Yoto Carnegie Greenaway Awards please visit: carnegiegreenaway.org.uk


For media requests and interviews, please contact:
Hannah Davies or Annabelle Wright at ed public relations on
hannah@edpr.co.uk or annabelle@edpr.co.uk or 020 7732 4796

Notes to Editors

Judges’ quotes about the shortlisted books and author biographies

The 2022 Yoto Carnegie Medal shortlist:

“Compelling and sensitively-told story of October’s wild life in the woods, with a strong narrative voice that invested us all in her plight”

Katya Balen studied English at university, has worked in lots of special schools and is now co-director of Mainspring Arts, which runs creative workshops for neurodivergent people. Her debut novel, The Space We’re In, was longlisted for the Carnegie Medal and shortlisted for the Branford Boase. She lives in London.

“Outstanding novel presenting Irish culture and the ongoing impact of the troubles in a fresh, way.”

Sue Divin is a Derry-based writer originally from Armagh. She has a Masters in Peace and Conflict studies and has worked in Community Relations/Peace building for over 15 years. Guard Your Heart is her debut novel, shortlisted for the Caledonia Novel Award and joint winner of the Irish Novel Fair.

“Heartbreaking and refreshing take on a WWII story set in a city zoo, with beautifully depicted relationships and characters, including Adonis the gorilla.”

Phil Earle got a job in a bookshop, aged 26 and fell in love with children’s fiction. He now divides his time between writing and his roles as Sales and Marketing Director at David Fickling Books. He was longlisted for the Carnegie medal with Heroic, and When the Sky Falls is his 20th published book. He lives in West Yorkshire.

“Intricate and immersive stories about teenagers across the rural American West, which conveyed a fantastic sense of place that stayed with us long after reading.”

Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock, is the author of the Carnegie-shortlisted The Smell of Other People’s Houses. Everyone Dies Famous in a Small Town is her second novel. She was a long-time journalist for Alaska Public Radio and prior to this spent many years fishing commercially, raising her children on a boat. She was born in Alaska and still lives there in a yurt.

“A poignant story of shared humanity, with the stories of two teenagers – one a refugee and the other grief-stricken – cleverly entwined”

Manjeet Mann is an actress, playwright, screenwriter and director. Her debut novel Run, Rebel won the 2021 Carnegie Shadowers’ Choice Award. She is the founder of Run the World – an organisation that works with women and girls from marginalized backgrounds and helps to empower them through sport and storytelling. She lives in Kent.

“A delicate and characterful story of Yuki’s stay with her grandfather in Japan, powerfully told through prose and manga, whose growing tension drew us in.”

Julian Sedgwick is the author of six books for children, and co-author of the graphic novel Dark Satanic Mills and illustrated novel Voyages in the Underworld of Orpheus Black. Julian read Chinese Studies and Philosophy at Cambridge, before working as a bookseller, painter, researcher and script developer for film and TV, and shiatsu therapist. He now combines writing with his work as a therapist. He is patron of reading for Leighton Park School and lives near Ely in Cambridgeshire.

Superb dialogue conveying the brutality of Moa’s life and the deep loyalty of the main characters in this pacey retelling of Tacky’s War in 18th century Jamaica.”

Alex Wheatle is the author of several acclaimed novels, has won the Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize, and was awarded an MBE for services to literature in 2008. He was born in Brixton to Jamaican parents, and spent most of his childhood in a Surrey children’s home. Following a short stint in prison following the Brixton uprising of 1981, he wrote poems and lyrics and became known as the Brixtonbard. His ‘Crongton’ series is being adapted for TV and the theatre adaptation of Crongton Knights toured the UK. He lives in London.

“Evocative and exceptional in its style, this dynamic verse novel, which looks at the reality of the criminal justice system for young people of colour in America, got into the soul of the judges.”

Ibi Zoboi is the author of American Street, a National Book Award finalist and a New York Times Notable Book, Pride and My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich, a New York Times bestseller. She is the editor of the anthology Black Enough. Born in Haiti, she now lives in New Jersey.

Dr. Yusef Salaam was 15 years old when his life was upended after being wrongly convicted in the “Central Park jogger” case, along with four other boys who are now known as the Exonerated Five. In 2002, after the young men spent years behind bars, their sentences were overturned, and they were exonerated. Yusef is now a poet, activist, and inspirational speaker who lives in Atlanta, Georgia. He is the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from President Barack Obama.

The 2022 Yoto Kate Greenaway Medal shortlist:

“Distinctive reportage style capturing the transient nature of human migration, the personalities behind the headlines of global conflict and demonstrating the power of illustration to connect us with different perspectives”

George Butler is an award-winning artist specialising in current affairs and travel who has been published by The Times, BBC and New York Times and displayed in the V&A Museum. He has reported on conflicts and crises in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Myanmar. He co-founded the Hands Up Foundation, which promotes awareness of the ongoing war in Syria and supports salaries of professionals in the country. Drawn Across Borders is his first children’s book. He lives in London.

“A wordless picture book featuring stunning use of colour and contrast and invoking all of the senses as we get to witness the secret life of animals as they prowl the fairground at night.”

Mariachiara Di Giorgio is an illustrator, storyboard artist and concept designer from Rome, Italy. She created her first picture book, the wordless Professional Crocodile, with writer Giovanna Zoboli in 2017.

“Rhyming tale of two magpies and their warning about the perils of over-consumption imbued with vibrant detail, wonderful expressions and visual jokes that make this a meaningful reading experience you want to repeat”

Emily Gravett published her debut picture book Wolves in 2005, which has been followed by modern classics including Meerkat Mail, Little Mouse’s Big Book of Fears, Monkey and Me, Again!, Tidy and Old Hat. She is the winner of two Kate Greenaway Medals. In 2019, she won the inaugural BookTrust Storytime Prize for her picture book Cyril and Pat. She divides her time between Brighton and north Wales.

“Brilliant, atmospheric and filmic adaptation, which is hugely complementary to the original story of teenage gun violence and grief, and blew us away”

Danica Novgorodoff is an artist, writer, graphic designer, and horse wrangler from Louisville, Kentucky, currently living in Brooklyn, New York. Her US books include A Late Freeze; Slow Storm; Refresh, Refresh (included in Best American Comics 2011); and The Undertaking of Lily Chen. Long Way Down is her first children’s book published in the UK. Her art and writing have been published in Artforum, Esquire and Slate. She was awarded a 2015 New York Foundation for the Arts fellowship in Literature and was named Sarabande Books’ 2016 writer in residence.

“As Milo goes on a train journey, you see everything through his eyes, in this layered, complex book, whose impact on us just grew and grew.”

Christian Robinson is an award-winning illustrator who won the 2016 Caldecott medal, a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Honor for his art in Last Stop on Market Street and the 2015 New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Book of the Year for his book Leo: A Ghost Story, written by Mac Barnett. Another, Christian’s first solo picture book, was named a New York Times/New York Public Library Best Illustrated Book of 2019. He is an animator and has worked with The Sesame Street Workshop and Pixar Animation Studios. He lives in Sacramento, California.

“Incredibly original and creative tale, cleverly told from the perspective of Shu Lin, a young Chinese girl trying to fit in at her new school, with a stunning pull-out and enveloping dragon illustration.”

Yu Rong is an acclaimed British-Chinese children’s picture book illustrator. She obtained a BA in Chinese Painting and Contemporary Art Design from Nanjing Normal University’s Art College and an MA in Communication and Design from London’s Royal College of Art, where she studied under Quentin Blake. In recent years, she has been working with leading Chinese authors, including the Hans Christian Andersen award winner Cao Wenxuan. She has received several international and national illustration awards. She lives in the countryside of Cambridge.

“This moving story of a boy who stutters, and his relationship with his father, is powerfully told through the masterful and expressive pictures, which create a real sense of solitude.”

Sydney Smith has illustrated multiple children’s books, including Small in the City and Town Is by the Sea, both winners of the Kate Greenaway Medal, and the acclaimed Footpath Flowers, which was a New York Times Children’s Book of the Year and a winner of the Governor General Award for Illustration. Born in Nova Scotia in Canada, he now lives in Toronto.

“There’s an ethereal, dream-like quality to this majestic wordless picture book, which takes the readers on a fantastical journey through the marine world.”

Peter Van den Ende makes his debut as a picture book artist with The Wanderer. When he is not drawing, he works as a nature guide on the Cayman Islands. The beauty of the sea was his source of inspiration his wordless story about growing and learning, about ups and downs – in short, about life itself. He lives in Antwerp in Belgium.

About Dean Atta

About the Yoto Carnegie Greenaway Awards and Shadowing Scheme

About CILIP, the library and information association

 About Yoto 

About the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society

About Peters

About the CILIP Equality and Diversity Action Plan

About CILIP’s Awards Partners