22 March 2019

Wednesday saw sixteen lower school boys celebrating the power of reading. At the 2019 Abingdon Schools Carnegie Tea, they joined forces with more than 100 students from other local senior schools to start shadowing the Carnegie Medal, the UK's oldest and most prestigious award for children's books. 

The event heralded the launch of this year's Abingdon Schools Carnegie Shadowing Scheme, a longstanding partnership between librarians from seven local schools from across the state and independent sectors. For Abingdon, 2019 is the 19th year of the partnership, with more lower school boys than ever taking part. 

The Carnegie Medal, given annually for the year’s most outstanding book for young people, was first awarded in 1936; the winner then was Pigeon Post by Arthur Ransome (part of his Swallows and Amazons series). Since then, notable winners include Northern Lights by Oxford author Philip Pullman and A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness. 

While the winner is ultimately decided by a panel of national judges, the Shadowing Scheme enables young people to decide their own favourite. This year, more than 3,000 schools across the UK will take part in Shadowing.

Carnegie Shadowing enables and encourages students to hone their critical skills, expands their idea of what makes a ‘good read’, and strengthens their ability to debate and collaborate. At the Carnegie Tea, students discovered which eight books are on the shortlist for the Carnegie medal and voted for their favourite. Over the next three months, they will read, discuss, review and finally judge the titles. 

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