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Carnegie Medal

Carnegie's Passion for Literature

Andrew Carnegie made his fortune by building the steel industry in the United States, and he became one of the most well-known and generous philanthropists of his time. Before his death in 1919, Carnegie founded more than 2800 libraries in the Western world, with a particular emphasis on building libraries in the United Kingdom.He was famously quoted as saying, "if ever wealth came to me that it should be used to establish free libraries."

The Carnegie Medal was established in 1936 in honor of the Scottish-born entrepreneur, and the Medal is awarded annually to the best in children's literature published in the UK during the previous calendar year. The Medal is presented by the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP), and only books published by UK publishing houses are eligible for nomination. The Carnegie Medal is widely considered to be the British counterpart to the American Newbery Medal, and each year, the winner is presented with a trophy and £500 worth of literature to donate to a library of the author's choice.

Nominees Must Follow Strict Criteria

Even though the Carnegie Medal is awarded to authors of children?s books, the literary standards are no less arduous simply because of the age demographic. The CILIP organization outlines their criteria for considered books, and each piece of fiction should include a well-constructed plot, convincing characters, and successfully applied style. But most of all, winners of the Carnegie Medal are books that stay with the reader long after finishing the last page, and while the content may be challenging for the audience, the readers must leave with a sense of closure and pleasure. In short, these books must be just as compelling and artistic as if they were written for adults.

True to the spirit of distinguished children's and young adult's literature, the Carnegie Medal is not awarded years when the judges feel that no submitted work was suitable for such recognition. As such, the Carnegie Medal was not awarded in 1943, 1945, or 1966.

Notable Winners of the Carnegie Medal

The first winner of the Carnegie Medal was author Arthur Ransome for Pigeon Past, the sixth book in the critically acclaimed Swallows and Amazons series. For many years after it was prohibited for authors to win more than one Carnegie Medal, but since that rule changed, seven authors have gone on to win more than one Medal.Notably, there has only been one author to win both the Carnegie Medal and the Newbery Award in the same year, and that honor went to Neil Gaiman for his work, The Graveyard Book.

To celebrate the 70th Anniversary of the Carnegie Medal, CILIP decided to award the "Carnegie of Carnegies" Medal, and the ten nominees were chosen from the list of past Carnegie winners. Ultimately, author Philip Pullman won the illustrious award for his book Northern Lights, his well-known novel that had originally won the Carnegie Medal back in 1995.

2012 Winner

Monster Calls By Patrick Ness

Patrick Ness is the author of the critically acclaimed and best-selling Chaos Walking trilogy. He has won numerous awards, including the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize, the Booktrust Teenage Prize, and the Costa Children's Book Award. Born in Virg... read more

2011 Winner

Monsters Of Men By Patrick Ness

Patrick Ness, an award-winning novelist, is the author of the acclaimed Chaos Walking trilogy. He has written for England’s Radio 4 and SUNDAY TELEGRAPH and is a literary critic for THE GUARDIAN. Born in Virginia, he currently lives in London.

2010 Winner

The Graveyard Book

The Graveyard Book By Neil Gaiman

The Graveyard Book is a children's fantasy novel by British-born author Neil Gaiman. The story is about a boy named Nobody Owens who, after his family is killed by a mysterious man, is subsequently adopted and raised by the occupants of an old gr... read more

2009 Winner

2007 Winner

Just In Case

Just In Case By Meg Rosoff

Justin Case is convinced fate has in for him.And he's right.After finding his younger brother teetering on the edge of his balcony, fifteen-year-old David Case realizes the fragility of life and senses impending doom. Without looking back, he changes... read more

2005 Winner


Tamar By Peet- Mal

Mal Peet's first novel for young adults, KEEPER, won the prestigious Branford Boase Award and was selected by the American Library Association as a Best Book for Young Adults. He lives in Devon, England.

2002 Winner

Ruby Holler

Ruby Holler By Sharon Creech

Ruby Holler (2002) is a children's novel with elements of magic realism by American writer Sharon Creech. It won the 2002 Carnegie Medal.

2001 Winner

The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents

The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents By Terry Pratchett

Terry Pratchett is Britain’s bestselling living novelist. He lives behind a keyboard in Wiltshire and says he “doesn’t want to get a life, because it feels as though he’s trying to lead three already”. He was appointed O... read more

2000 Winner

The Other Side Of Truth

The Other Side Of Truth By Beverley Naidoo

The Other Side of Truth is a children's novel about Nigerian political refugees by Beverley Naidoo, published in 2000. A powerful story about justice and freedom of speech, it received several awards including the Carnegie Medal. The novel is set... read more

1999 Winner

Postcards From No Man's Land

Postcards From No Man's Land By Aidan Chambers

Seventeen-year-old Jacob Todd is about to discover himself. Jacob's plan is to go to Amsterdam to honor his grandfather who died during World War II. He expects to go, set flowers on his grandfather's tombstone, and explore the city. But nothing ... read more

1998 Winner


Skellig By David Almond

Skellig is a children's novel by David Almond, for which Almond was awarded the Carnegie Medal in 1998 and also the Whitbread Children's Book of the Year Award. In 2007 it was selected by judges of the CILIP Carnegie Medal for children's ... read more

1997 Winner

River Boy

River Boy By Tim Bowler

River Boy is a young adult novel by Tim Bowler, published in 1997. It is the story of a teenage girl facing the prospect of bereavement. River Boy was awarded the 1997 Carnegie Medal, and the 1999 Angus Book Award.

1996 Winner


Junk By Melvin Burgess

An uncompromising, compelling and true-to-life story of two teenagers drawn into the dangerous and destructive world of heroin addiction. This tour de force by an acclaimed and provocative writer should become a definitive teenage novel on this subje... read more

1992 Winner

Flour Babies

Flour Babies By Anne Fine

Flour Babies is a 1992 book by Anne Fine, aimed at older children, which won the Carnegie Medal.

1991 Winner

Dear Nobody

Dear Nobody By Berlie Doherty

Dear Nobody is a young adult novel by Berlie Doherty, published in 1991. Set in the northern English city of Sheffield, Dear Nobody tells the story of an unplanned teenage pregnancy and the effect it has on the teenagers and their families. The novel... read more

1987 Winner

The Ghost Drum

The Ghost Drum By Susan Price

The Ghost Drum is a children's fantasy novel by Susan Price, first published in 1987. It is an original fairy tale using elements from Russian history and folklore, and, like many traditional tales, is full of cruelty, violence and sudden death. ... read more

1986 Winner

Granny Was a Buffer Girl

Granny Was a Buffer Girl By Berlie Doherty

Granny Was a Buffer Girl is a young adult novel by Berlie Doherty, published in 1986. The novel recounts stories of love, loyalty and change in several generations of a Sheffield family from the 1930s to the 1980s, linking them to the changing fortun... read more

1984 Winner

The Changeover By Margaret Mahy

The Changeover: a Supernatural Romance is a young adult novel by the New Zealand novelist Margaret Mahy, first published in 1984. It won the Carnegie Medal for that year.

1978 Winner

The Exeter Blitz By David Rees

The Exeter Blitz is a children's historical novel by David Rees, first published in 1978. It won the Carnegie Medal for that year. The novel is about the heavy air raid on the city of Exeter in Devon in May 1942, and its effect on the life of one... read more

1977 Winner

The Turbulent Term Of Tyke Tiler

The Turbulent Term Of Tyke Tiler By Gene Kemp

The Turbulent Term of Tyke Tiler is a children's novel by Gene Kemp, first published in 1977. It takes place at Cricklepit Combined School, a primary school in southern England which is the setting for several other of Kemp's stories. The nov... read more

1976 Winner

Thunder and Lightnings

Thunder and Lightnings By Jan Mark

Thunder and Lightnings is a children's book, the first novel written by Jan Mark. It won the Penguin Guardian Award for a first children’s book and the Carnegie Medal for 1976. The novel tells the story of the developing friendship between two ... read more

1973 Winner

The Ghost Of Thomas Kempe

The Ghost Of Thomas Kempe By Penelope Lively

The Ghost of Thomas Kempe is a novel for children by Penelope Lively published in 1973. The novel won the Carnegie Medal in 1973.

1972 Winner

Watership Down

Watership Down By Richard Adams

Watership Down is an allegorical fantasy novel written by British author Richard Adams, narrating the adventures of a small group of anthropomorphized rabbits as they escape the destruction of their homeland. The story is set in England’... read more

1970 Winner

The God Beneath the Sea

The God Beneath the Sea By Leon Garfield

The God Beneath the Sea is a children's novel based on Greek mythology, written by Leon Garfield and Edward Blishen with illustrations by Charles Keeping. The God Beneath the Sea was awarded the 1970 Carnegie Medal, and was runner-up for the 1970... read more

1969 Winner

Edge Of the Cloud

Edge Of the Cloud By Peyton K M

The Edge of the Cloud is the second novel in the Flambards sequence by K. M. Peyton. It is set in the years prior to the First World War and has a strong backdrop of aviation as it follows the romance of Christina Parsons and Will Russell. It was awa... read more

1968 Winner

The Moon In the Cloud

The Moon In the Cloud By Harris Rosemary

The Moon in the Cloud is a light-hearted children's historical fantasy by Rosemary Harris, first published in 1968. The novel is set in ancient Canaan and Egypt at the time of the Biblical Flood. It was awarded the Carnegie Medal for 1968, and wa... read more

1967 Winner

The Owl Service

The Owl Service By Alan Garner

The Owl Service is a novel by Alan Garner first published in 1967. It is a contemporary interpretation, which Garner described as an "expression of the myth", of the story of the mythical Welsh figure of Blodeuwedd, whose story is told in t... read more

1956 Winner

The Last Battle

The Last Battle By C S Lewis

The Last Battle is the final book in the Narnia series.  Eustace and Jill have spent many years away from Narnia, and are suddenly and violently returned to help the once glorious land face it's darkest hour.  The King, a Unicorn, and ... read more

1953 Winner

A Valley Grows Up By Edward Osmond

A Valley Grows Up is a history book for children written and illustrated by Edward Osmond, first published in 1953. It follows the changes in an imaginary English valley over the course of seven thousand years, from 5000 BC to 1900. It was awarded th... read more

1952 Winner


Borrowers By Mary Norton

The Borrowers is a children's fantasy novel by Mary Norton about tiny people who "borrow" things from normal humans and keep their existence unknown. The central characters are the Clock family: father Pod, mother Homily, and their spirited thirteen-... read more

1947 Winner

Collected Stories For Children By Walter D La Mare

Collected Stories for Children is a collection of nineteen short stories by Walter de la Mare, published in 1947. The book was awarded the Carnegie Medal for 1947, the first collection of stories to win the award, and the first time that previously p... read more

1946 Winner

The Little White Horse

The Little White Horse By Elizabeth Goudge

The Little White Horse is a children's fantasy novel by Elizabeth Goudge which won the 1946 Carnegie Medal for children's literature. The original edition was illustrated by C. Walter Hodges. It has been adapted for film and television.

1942 Winner

The Little Grey Men

The Little Grey Men By Bb

The Little Grey Men is a children's storybook by Denys Watkins-Pitchford, writing under the pseudonym “BB”. It tells the exploits of four gnomes, named after the flowers Baldmoney, Sneezewort, Dodder and Cloudberry. The Little Grey Men won BB... read more

1936 Winner

Pigeon Post

Pigeon Post By Arthur Ransome

Pigeon Post is the sixth book in Arthur Ransome's Swallows and Amazons series of children's books, published in 1936. It won the first Carnegie Medal awarded for children's literature. This book is one of the few Swallows and Amazons book... read more

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