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Sydney Smith wins 2021 CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal

Sydney Smith

(Photograph by Steve Farmer)

For the second time, Halifax-based illustrator Sydney Smith has won the CILIP Kate Greenway Medal. One of the U.K.’s oldest book awards for children and young people, the award was given to Smith on June 16 for Small in the City. Smith also won in 2018 for Town Is by the Sea, which depicts a day in the life of a boy in a 1950s coal-mining town.

Small in the City is an evocative and immersive book which tells quite an ordinary story in such an extraordinary way that it surprises you,” said Ellen Krajewski, chair of the 2021 CILIP Kate Greenaway Medal judging panel. “It’s a striking and atmospheric example of artistic storytelling skills which is almost cinematic in its depiction of a child’s view of an imposing urban landscape.”

The prestigious prize comes with £5,000 in cash, a specially commissioned golden medal, and £500 worth of books to be donated to a library of the winner’s choice.

“This book does not have an easy ending, but it does end with a hug as does any journey worth taking,” Smith said in a press release. “I believe that will be one of the most beautiful rewards at the end of our difficult journey. The promise of reuniting with a friend and having a laugh or sharing a hug with a loved one. All with the knowledge that we got through this together. And that it was well worth it.”

The prize-winning books were chosen by a team of 15 librarians that read 152 nominations.