Kevin Brooks’ The Bunker Diary (Puffin) today (Monday 23rd June) won the CILIP Carnegie medal, while Jon Klassen’s This is Not My Hat (Walker Books) was awarded the Kate Greenaway medal.
Helen Thompson, chair of the judging panel, said Brooks has created a “compelling narrative, believable characters and writing of outstanding literary merit”, while Jon Klassen’s illustrations, “which range from the sublime to the sinister, are utterly wonderful”.
Both books have unusually dark endings but as Thompson said, “children and teenagers live in the real world; a world where militia can kidnap an entire school full of girls and where bullying has reached epidemic proportions on social media”.
She added: “Exploring difficult issues within the safe confines of a fictional world creates essential thinking space, and encourages young people to consider and discuss their own feelings and reactions.”
Brooks waited 10 years to find a publisher for his book, which is about how a kidnapped boy is held hostage in a bunker. He said: “As readers, children – and teens in particular – don’t need to be cossetted with artificial hope that there will always be a happy ending.”
He beat several award-winning authors to receive the prize, including Katherine Rundell, who won this year’s Waterstones Children’s Book Prize for Rooftoppers (Faber and Faber).
Author and illustrator Klassen is the first Canadian to win the Kate Greenaway. He was shortlisted twice this year, as his work on The Dark, authored by Lemony Snicket (Orchard Books), was also nominated.
He said: “Winning this award is hugely encouraging… Whether the story itself portrays happiness or doom, the hope is found when we agree we liked it and I’m so glad you liked this one.”
Brooks and Klassen both won £500 worth of books to donate to their local library.
Klassen, as the winner of the CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal, was also awarded the £5,000 Colin Mears Award.