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Sita Brahmachari has been shortlisted for the Yoto Carnegie Medal for Writing for her YA novel When Shadows Fall

The UK’s longest running and best-loved book awards for children and young people, The Yoto Carnegies, today announced their 2023 shortlists today. We are delighted that Sita Brahmachari has been shortlisted for the Medal for Writing for her YA novel When Shadows Fall, illustrated by Natalie Sirett.

The Yoto Carnegies are unique in being judged by children’s and youth librarians, with the respective Shadowers’ Choice Medals voted for by children and young people. The 31 initially longlisted titles were whittled down to a shortlist of 13 by the judging panel, which includes 12 librarians from CILIP’s Youth Libraries Group.

What the organisers said about selecting Sita Brahmachari and When Shadows Fall. 

‘Five-time nominated author Sita Brahmachari has secured her place on the shortlist for the first time for When Shadows Fall, a “beautifully observed”, “lyrical” novel written through an original mix of forms, combining poetry, prose and illustrations by Natalie Sirett. The judges highlighted the “unforgettable voices” in this story of friendship and community. A previous winner of the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize, Brahmachari is an ambassador for Amnesty, and her passion for centring marginalised voices comes to the fore in this “powerfully charged” tale.

The winners will be announced on Wednesday 21 June at a live and streamed lunchtime ceremony at The Barbican, hosted by former Children’s Laureate Lauren Child. The winners will each receive £500 worth of books to donate to a library of their choice, a specially commissioned and newly designed golden medal and a £5,000 Colin Mears Award cash prize. The Shadowers’ Choice Medals, voted for and awarded by children and young people shadowing the shortlist from today, will also be presented at the ceremony. Following the brand refresh of the Awards this year, the Shadowers’ Choice winners will also receive a golden medal for the first time.

Activities and resources for When Shadows Fall are available on the Yoto Carnegies website.

When Shadows Fall

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Writer, Lucy Falkner wins a Books that Help and Little Tiger mentorship for her delightful rhyming book ‘Dung Beetle Doug’.

Writer, Lucy Falkner wins a Books that Help and Little Tiger mentorship for her delightful rhyming book about a hardworking dung beetle that dreams of recognition and the limelight. Runner up is Krystal Snead for her story ‘Something Different’ supporting change and individuality.








In Autumn 2022, Books That Help founder Clare Helen Welsh launched a mentorship in partnership with children’s publisher, Little Tiger.

The mentorship offers an un-agented writer or writer-illustrator a series of virtual sessions with Welsh, beginning this year, to support the development of their picture book. The picture book should fit with the ethos of Books That Help, which aims to create emotionally honest spaces for children and families.

Editorial Director at Little Tiger, Ellie Farmer ran a live webinar in which she answered questions and shared examples of what she felt were great examples of picture books that help. Applications opened on 19th October and over 100 entries were received from writers all over the world.

On behalf of Little Tiger, Senior Editor Perry Emerson joined Clare Helen Welsh to whittle down the texts to one winner, one runner up and two highly commended.

The winner is ‘Dung Beetle Doug’ by Lucy Falkner.

Lucy is a teacher currently taking a career break to be at home with her young children. Her story ‘Dung Beetle Doug’ has environmental and educational themes. It stars an overlooked dung beetle and drives home an important message – we all have equal value in society.

Lucy’s text is written in exceptional rhyme, and balances character and story with action, humour and a heart-warming message to empower young readers.

This is what Lucy had to say about winning the mentorship:

“Having completed a writing course with Clare I knew that the chance to win this mentorship was not to be missed! I wrote Dung Beetle Doug during many sleepless nights with my youngest after hearing about a dung beetle safari at a farming festival. I am thrilled that my story has been selected and I look forward to benefiting from Clare’s guidance.”

In close second was ‘Something Different’ by Krystal Snead.

Krystal Snead is a Yorkshire-based writer and part time social worker. Her story ‘Something Different’ aims to support children with change and celebrates individuality. There is incidental representation of Hirsutism in the one of the characters.

Snead said: “When I first heard I’d been chosen as runner up for the ‘Books That Help’ mentorship I was stunned. I still am. With so many emotions swirling around it’s hard to express exactly how I feel. Thrilled – yes! Surprised – absolutely! But most of all, I am incredibly grateful. I had been reluctant to send my story out into the world, not sure if it was too niche, or too personal to resonate with others. But I guess that is what attracted me to ‘Books That Help’ in the first place, a safe space where important and sometimes difficult subjects can be explored. A huge thank you to the judges for your encouragement and for giving me the motivation to carry on sharing my story.

Although Krystal narrowly missed out, Books That Help are delighted to be able to offer her a 1:1 with agent, Alice Williams (Alice Williams Literary), who has kindly donated her time to support Krystal on her journey to publication.

On shortlisting the texts Perry Emerson said,

“Helping Clare to choose a winner was both a joy and a challenge. A joy for the variety and quality of texts that were submitted; a challenge for having to pick only one! In Lucy, we have found an author with a real natural talent for picture book writing, and I’m excited to see how she and Clare work together to develop her stories over the course of the mentorship. My huge congratulations to Lucy, and to all the shortlisted authors.”


Welsh said, “It was the highlight of my Autumn to read entries from so many wonderful writers who write to make the world a better place. The stories were read, re-read and carefully considered. It was incredibly difficult to decide between them. I urge everyone who entered to keep writing and to keep sending their words out into the world. It was a privilege and a pleasure to read every single one.”

The two highly commended texts were Daddy Has Feathers by Victoria Gatehouse, which explores the range of emotions a child can experience when a parent cross-dresses and When A Goldfish Dies by Andi Chitty, which approaches the finality of the death a pet with peace and hope.

The Books That Help team would like to thank everyone who applied. We hope to run the mentorship again in the future.


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Yoto Carnegie 2023 Longlisting for Sita Brahmachari’s When Shadows Fall

We are thrilled that author Sita Brahmachari has been longlisted for the #YotoCarnegies23 Medal for Writing for the truly special YA novel,  When Shadows Fall,  illustrated by Natalie Sirett.

We are incredibly proud of Sita, Natalie and the team behind this book – described in The Guardian as

“A moving, hard-hitting journey for teens through grief and acceptance, interwoven with powerful illustration and viscerally vivid verse.”

About When Shadows Fall:

Kai, Orla and Zak grew up together, their days spent on the patch of wilderness in between their homes, a small green space in a sprawling grey city. Music, laughter and friendship bind them together and they have big plans for their future – until Kai’s family suffers a huge loss.

Trying to cope with his own grief, as well as watching it tear his family apart, Kai is drawn into a new and more dangerous crowd, until his dreams for the future are a distant memory. Excluded from school and retreating from his loved ones, it seems as though his path is set, his story foretold. Orla, Zak and new classmate Om are determined to help him find his way back. But are they too late?

When Shadows Fall

The Yoto Carnegies

The Yoto Carnegies, the UK’s longest running and best-loved book awards for children and young people, today announced the longlists for 2023. Dominated by independent publishers, the stories range from intimate examinations of family life to sensitive introductions to societal issues impacting the world today, with many reflecting on past histories or looking to the future of our planet.

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Waterstones Children’s Book Prize Shortlisting – If You Still Recognise Me by Cynthia So

If You Still Recognise Me by Cynthia So has been shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize in the older readers’ category! #WCBP23 Congratulations to author Cynthia So.

“An epic, evocative queer romance that is also a heartfelt love letter to comics and storytelling, So’s gorgeous debut about two girls separated by an ocean but united by their love for fan-fiction.” – Waterstones

The Waterstones Children’s Book Prize is chosen by Waterstones booksellers – marking their continuing commitment to championing the finest new talent in children’s writing and illustration today.

About If You Still Recognise Me by Cynthia So

Elsie has a crush on Ada, the only person in the world who truly understands her. Unfortunately, they’ve never met in real life and Ada lives an ocean away. But Elsie has decided it’s now or never to tell Ada how she feels. That is, until her long-lost best friend Joan walks back into her life.

In a summer of repairing broken connections and building surprising new ones, Elsie realises that she isn’t nearly as alone as she thought. But now she has a choice to make…

A lyrical contemporary story about falling in love and finding yourself in the process, for fans of The Black Flamingo, The Falling in Love Montage and Alice Oseman.

If You Still Recognise Me