Jennifer Donnelly's A Gathering Light, which won the CILIP Carnegie Medal, for outstanding writing, celebrates the value of education and storytelling in the story of Mattie Gokey, a poor farmer's daughter from upstate New York in the 1900s who longs to go to college and become a writer. The author grew up listening to the stories of her Irish immigrant ancestors and asking, like her heroine, "Why was it always other places and other lives that mattered?"
The CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway children's book awards were presented in London last week. This year's shadowing scheme for schools attracted record entries, with 35,000 young readers visiting www.ckg.org.ukshadowing, where schools' reviews of shortlisted books are posted.
A Gathering Light by Jennifer Donnelly is published by Bloomsbury Children's Books