Most popular CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway shortlisted books

By Chris Jarosh

The CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals will be awarded next week at a ceremony in central London. Excitement is building; in the meantime we can only speculate about who might win the prestigious awards.

We can’t tell you who’s going to win the awards, but we can give an insight into which books have been the most popular with students. We have looked at the number of students taking Accelerated Reader quizzes on the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway shortlists between March (when the shortlists were announced) until today. These numbers show which books have been read and quizzed by Accelerated Reader users in over 3,000 schools across the United Kingdom.

Carnegie Medal shortlist

Chart showing the Accelerated Reader quiz usage for the 2014 Carnegie Medal shortlist

The most-quizzed book, by a narrow margin, is the Bunker Diary by Kevin Brooks. This title grabbed the headlines when the shortlist was announced due to the bleak themes of captivity and cruelty. It may have proved controversial in the press, but students have had their interests piqued by the mature and thought-provoking content. The next most popular books are the altogether more uplifting Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell, and Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead. The least-read book among AR users has been Rachel Campbell-Johnston’s The Child’s Elephant.

In addition to the full quizzes taken by students using Accelerated Reader, as part of our sponsorship of the awards we have invited the shadowing groups to take short AR-style quizzes on the shortlisted books. Our sample quizzes are linked to directly from the Shadowing site. These mini quizzes give an additional insight into the popularity of the shortlisted titles by showing which books the Shadowers have read and quizzed in the greatest numbers. Furthermore, we can compare the shadowers’ preferences with those of Accelerated Reader users to see if these two groups have broadly similar or different tastes.

Chart showing the popularity of quizzes taken by Carnegie Shadowers and AR users

This chart shows that the shortlisted titles have had broadly the same popularity between the two groups. However, Julie Berry’s All the Truth That’s in Me has proved much more popular with Shadowers than Accelerated Reader users. If the preferences of the judges more closely follow those of the Shadowing groups rather than Accelerated Reader users, could All the Truth That’s in Me be among the favourites to win the award?

Kate Greenaway Medal shortlist

Chart showing Accelerated Reader usage for the 2014 Kate Greenaway shortlisted titles

The most popular Kate Greenaway title among Shadowers has been The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt, illustrated by Oliver Jeffers. This is a good omen for Jeffers; the most popular AR quiz on last year’s shortlist (Levi Penfold’s Black Dog) won the award. However, it is closely followed by Oliver, The Dark and The Paper Dolls. Dave McKean’s Mouse Bird Snake Wolf and Michael & Claire Morpurgo’s Where My Wellies Take Me have been much less popular with AR users.

Chart showing the popularity of quizzes taken by Kate Greenaway Shadowers and AR users

These extremes are not reflected in the preferences of Shadowers, however. My Wellies Take Me is the least-quizzed book among Shadowers, as it is among AR users, but not by nearly the same margin. By contrast, Oliver and The Dark are both more popular among AR users than Shadowers.

Other trends

Chart showing Accelerated Reader quiz usage and book level for Carnegie shortlist

When looking at the popularity of the Accelerated Reader quizzes on the Carnegie shortlist, one mild trend that emerges is that, generally speaking, the most popular books have lower Book Levels. The chart above illustrates this. The bars show the popularity of the Accelerated Reader quizzes, while the blue line shows the Book Level. A trendline (orange) shows the increase in the Book Level as the popularity of the books declines.

More strikingly, we can see the significant impact on popularity that being shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal has on a book. The chart below shows the Accelerated Reader quiz usage for Liar & Spy for this academic year. The number of students taking quizzes is fairly consistent until the longlist was announced, when it increased. Then the announcement of the shortlist in March caused a big spike in the number of students taking quizzes on the book.

Chart showing Accelerated Reader quiz usage for Liar & Spy

Who will win?

Judging by Accelerated Reader usage data, we know that The Bunker Diary and The Day the Crayons Quit are the most popular books shortlisted for the awards. This is a good sign – books that have gripped students’ attention the most are likely to have similarly gripped the judges’ attention. Importantly, these two books lead in popularity both with Accelerated Reader users and Shadowers. As the chart above shows, though, all of the authors will have benefited from the publicity around the awards!

We will have further information and analysis about the winning books next week when the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals are awarded – check back here for an update on Monday!

Posted on 17 June 2014 at 9:30 am
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