I'm reading Mal Peet's Tamar, and while not ready to write about it I'm engrossed in the world of British children's and young adult books. It seems to me, without having researched the topic, that the Carnegie Medal winners are, on the whole, much longer and meatier books than those chosen in the US for the Newbery Medal. What's behind this? One immediate answer is that maybe British young people are smarter, or more inclined to read, because, after all, the US is way ahead in wealth and therefore gizmos, so our kids are more likely to be playing the World of Warcraft than to be reading a hefty novel. But this seems too easy an explanation to be true. Maybe here we consciously choose books for the 8-12 year old range for the Newbery (they're all pretty "safe") and relegate the YA novels to another sphere, one formerly unvisited by award-givers but now recognized by the Michael Printz award. (The Coretta Scott King winners span a wide range and are, of course, self-limited.) If this is the case, then why have the teenagers been neglected for so long here, but not in Britain? I don't know but will look it up.
In the meantime, I've found a treasure trove of stuff at the Carnegie site at http://www.carnegiegreenaway.org.uk and have just spent an hour or more on a Sunday evening scanning the site and viewing interviews and other great stuff.