Kate Greenaway Award name change and petition

by | Oct 28, 2023 | IBBY NEWS, News

Picture of Yoto Carnegie Medal, a book with a bright light coming out of it.

Kate Greenaway Award has been renamed the Yoto Carnegie Medal for Illustration.

CILIP has decided to rebrand the Kate Greenaway Award as the “Yoto Carnegie Medal for illustration”. Yoto is the name of the Japanese company which makes audio players for children and supports the awards.

The Kate Greenaway Medal for illustration, named after the highly influential British nineteenth century female illustrator, was established in 1955. Many of our greatest illustrators have felt honoured to receive it, Much is known about Kate Greenaway’s life, unlike that of some other forgotten women illustrators, and she has been an acknowledged inspiration for many. Her name and the award are widely known around the world. The Greenaway list provide a good window into the history of British illustration and is widely used as a research tool.

In the worldwide context of IBBY, we know how highly valued the award is and how confusing this change will be.

Not surprisingly there has been a hostile reaction to this decision and we support the petition for CILIP to reconsider and reinstate the Kate Greenaway Medal https://www.ipetitions.com/petition/bring-back-the-kate-greenaway-medal/donate

The CILIP rationale which we struggle to support as it seems to miss many of the core concerns that have been raised:

In 2020, we decided to bring all elements of the awards together into a single “family,” in order to bring clarity to the awards structure for young readers and to help achieve CILIP’s aim of placing librarians front and centre of the awards; by more strongly emphasising the library-led origins.

This process involved a “brand audit” which was conducted in extensive consultation with past judges who are members of CILIP’s Youth Libraries Group (YLG). All brand consultancy was undertaken independently of any corporate investment. The new brand was developed and launched in September 2022.

The petition has been put together by Tamsin Rosewell, illustrator and bookseller, and Dr Rose Roberto, Resources Librarian and part-time lecturer at Bishop Grosseteste University, and already includes many names in the children’s book world. In an article for The Bookseller on 20 July 2023, Roberto includes the response she received and does not agree that there was sufficient consultation and argues that the Agile Ideas marketing agency has misunderstood the actual Kate Greenaway stakeholders – not five-year olds but a cultural cache built over the decades including, illustrators, writers, librarians, historians, students, parents. James Mayhew is quoted: “Losing this link with an actual illustrator greatly lessens the significance of such an award. Her name should be reinstated.”