SCHOOLCHILDREN from across Abingdon celebrated the power of reading yesterday.

Oxford Mail:

The Abingdon Schools Carnegie Tea, organised by local secondary schools, saw more than 100 students come together to start shadowing the Carnegie Medal, the UK's oldest and most prestigious award for children's books.

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The event heralds the launch of the 19th annual Abingdon Schools Carnegie Shadowing Scheme, a partnership now between seven local schools. Original partners John Mason, Fitzharry's, St Helen's & St Katharine's, Our Lady's, Larkmead and Abingdon, were joined for the first time by pupils from the Europa School in Culham.

The schools have joined forces to encourage local young people aged 11 to 13 to hone their critical skills, expand their idea of what makes a ‘good read’, and strengthen their ability to debate and collaborate.

Oxford Mail:

At the Carnegie Tea, the budding bookworms discovered which eight works are on the shortlist for the next Carnegie medal and voted on which one they thought would win.

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Over the next three months, they will read, discuss, review and finally judge the titles.

The project will culminate in the Carnegie Forum on June 17, where students will collaborate to promote their favourite book and decide their favourite title.

Oxford Mail:

This year's contenders include Things A Bright Girl Can Do by Sally Nicholls and Bone Talk by Candy Gourlay.