Author and illustrator donate £1k to library near Grenfell Tower

Author and illustrator donate £1k to library near Grenfell Tower

Illustrator Lane Smith and author Ruta Sepetys, winners of the 2017 Carnegie and Kate Greenaway children’s book awards, are to jointly donate £1,000 to North Kensington Library, the closest library to Grenfell Tower.

On 14th June 2017, 71 people were killed and more than 70 injured when a fire broke out at the 24-storey Grenfell Tower block of public housing flats in London's North Kensington.

The £1,000 donation is part of the prize from CILIP, the library and information association, for winning the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway children’s book awards, and will be used to create a special collection of titles to support young people in the North Kensington community who are experiencing grief and shock.

Mike Clarke, director of Libraries and Archives for Hammersmith & Fulham, Kensington & Chelsea and Westminster, said that the library service wishes to "play its part" in helping people, partcularly the community of North Kensington, who have gone through an "extraordinarily difficult time".

Clarke said: "The library service wants to play its part in helping people wherever possible, whether by providing practical or emotional support, and in creating a space for those who need it to pause and reflect. This will continue as long as it is needed, both with organised events and being open to provide a quiet space for people. We hope they will continue to find help, support and information when they need it from us and others and we will continue to monitor the situation to make our help as useful as it can be.”

The library intends to use the donation to create a special collection of books with a particular focus on dealing with grief and shock for both teens and children, in a similar vein to the Reading Well scheme. The library will create a special display and circulate the book list to organisations they have been working with in the aftermath of Grenfell. The library also plans to donate copies of some of the books to Grenfell Assistance Centre, the Curve.

Nick Poole, chief executive of CILIP, the library and information association, said: “I cannot begin to imagine what the community around Grenfell Tower have, and continue to, experience. I know it is a small gesture when people’s needs are so great but I hope that this donation means that through books, words and a welcoming place young people have extra support through the most difficult of times.”

Smith, US artist and author, won the 2017 CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal for his illustrations in There is a Tribe of Kids (Pan Macmillan), a picture book exploring the power of collective nouns and the importance of play and exploration. Meanwhile, music manager turned novelist Sepetys won the CILIP Carnegie Medal for Salt to the Sea (Puffin), a novel that explores the events leading up to the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff, the worst maritime disaster in history.

As part of their prize for winning the Medals, Sepetys and Smith each received £500 to donate to a library of their choice and agreed to combine the donation in order to support young people in the community near Grenfell Tower.