NZ Post Book Awards: Junior Fiction

Here are the shortlisted books for the Junior Fiction category of the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards:


The ACB with Honora Lee by Kate De Goldi & Gregory O’Brien

Perry’s mother and father are busy people … they’re impatient, they’re tired, they get cross easily. And they think that only children, like Perry, should be kept busy. On Saturday mornings Perry and her father visit her gran, Honora Lee, at the Santa Lucia rest home, but Gran never remembers them. ‘Who is that man?’ Honora Lee asks when Perry’s father leaves the room. After movement class is abruptly cancelled, Perry is allowed to go to Santa Lucia on Thursday afternoons. She discovers her Gran has an unconventional interest in the alphabet, so Perry decides to make an alphabet book with the help of Honora and the others. Soon everyone is interested in Perry’s book project.


The Queen and the Nobody Boy (A Tale of Fontania) by Barbara Else

Hodie is the unpaid odd-job boy at the Grand Palace in the Kingdom of Fontania. Fed-up, he decides to leave and better himself. The young Queen, 12-year-old Sibilla, is fed-up too. Sick of gossip about her lack of magical ability, she decides to run away with Hodie, whether he likes it or not.

This is the sequel to The Travelling Restaurant.



My Brother’s War by David Hill

It’s New Zealand, 1914, and the biggest war the world has known has just broken out in Europe. William eagerly enlists for the army but his younger brother, Edmund, is a conscientious objector and refuses to fight. While William trains to be a soldier, Edmund is arrested. Both brothers will end up on the bloody battlefields of France, but their journeys there are very different. And what they experience at the front line will challenge the beliefs that led them there.



Red Rocks by Rachael King

While holidaying at his father’s house, Jake explores Wellington’s wild south coast, with its high cliffs, biting winds, and its fierce seals. When he stumbles upon a perfectly preserved sealskin, hidden in a crevice at Red Rocks, he’s compelled to take it home and hide it under his bed, setting off a chain of events that threatens to destroy his family. Red Rocks takes the Celtic myth of the selkies, or seal people, and transplants it into the New Zealand landscape, throwing an ordinary boy into an adventure tinged with magic



Uncle Trev and His Whistling Bull by Jack Lasenby

More humorous stories of life on the farm with Uncle Trev and his family set in New Zealand during the 1930’s.

There are many other Uncle Trev books. Why not try the first book called ‘Uncle Trev‘ or Uncle Trev and the Treaty of Waitangi, or  Uncle Trev’s Teeth and Other Stories?




From these 5 great books a winner will be announced on June 24th. You can vote for a winner too – in the Children’s Choice Award (and you’ll go in the draw to win $500 of book vouchers for you and your school).









NZ Post Book Awards: Picture Books

Here is the shortlist for the Picture Books category of the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards:

A Great Cake by Tina Matthews

Harvey wants to bake a great cake, but doesn’t have all the ingredients. That doesn’t stop him. Harvey can make cakes from the most amazing things!






Melu by Kyle Mewburn, illustrated by Ali Teo & John O’Reilly

Melu has always been different. While the other mules stubbornly clip-clop around the sun-baked hills, Melu dreams of swimming in the glittering green sea below. But it will take more than stubborness for Melu to reach the glittering green sea.





Mister Whistler by Margaret Mahy, Illustrated by Gavin Bishop

Absentminded Mister Whistler always has a song in his head and a dance in his feet. In a rush to catch the train, he is so distracted he loses his ticket. Is it in the bottom pockets of his big coat or the top pockets of his jacket? Perhaps he slipped it into his waistcoat. Where is Mister Whistler’s ticket?




Mr Bear Branches and the Cloud Conundrum by Terri-Rose Baynton

Lintfrey Longfellow would love nothing more than to sit among the clouds… But sadly, clouds just aren’t made for sitting on. Can Mr Bear Branches find a solution to Lintfrey’s cloud conundrum



Remember that November by Jennifer Beck, illustrated by Lindy Fisher

It’s almost Guy Fawkes Night, and at the school speech competition Andy talks about Guy Fawkes and the Gunpowder Plot. The children cheer excitedly, thinking Andy will win the contest. But then, Aroha gets up, wearing a white feather in her hair, and tells the story of another fifth of November – the invasion of Parihaka in 1881


Also published in te Reo as Maumahara ki tērā Nōema


From these 5 great books a winner will be announced on June 24th. You can vote for a winner too – in the Children’s Choice Award (and you’ll go in the draw to win $500 of book vouchers for you and your school).

NZ Post Book Awards

The shortlist for the annual New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards have been announced.

The awards nominate the best NZ children’s books that have been published in the last year in 4 categories – Picture Book, Junior Fiction, Non-Fiction and Teen.

During the NZ Post Book Awards festival week, which is June 17th – June 24th, there will be fun events and the winners of each category will be announced. Watch this space for more info.

The best thing is that you get to vote for one of the winners! Every year children can vote for their favourite book from any of the categories. The Children’s Choice Award is the one that all the authors and illustrators want to win, and you could win too! By voting you could win $500 of book vouchers for yourself and for your school – cool! Get voting!


We’ll be profiling the shortlist here on the blog so you can find out about all these super cool books and get your hands on them.

Winners! Winners!

The winners of the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards were announced last night at a very flash party in Wellington. Here they are:

Non-Fiction and New Zealand Post Book of the Year

Winner: Nice day for a War by Chris Slane and Matt Elliot


Honour Award: Digging up the past : archaeology for the young and curious by David Veart







Junior Fiction and Best First Book Award

Winner: Super Finn by Leonie Agnew


Honour Award: The Travelling Restaurant by Barbara Else









Picture Book

Winner: Rahui by Chris Szekely (Maori version and English version)







Children’s Choice (the one you got to vote for)

Winner: The Cat’s Pyjamas by Catherine Foreman

Pyjama Party at Kilbirnie Library

theCat'sPyjamasshow final (2)What are you doing on Thursday night? I’ll be putting on my best and warmest pyjamas and going to Kilbirnie Library.

You can celebrate the New Zealand Post Book Awards with us at a special storytelling event – The Cat’s Pyjama Party! Come along for hot chocolate and marshmallows, stories, songs, facepainting and loads of fun. Don’t forget to wear your pyjamas!

Thursday 10th May 6-7pm, Kilbirnie Library.

New Zealand Post Book Awards Events

Some events to celebrate the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards.

theCat'sPyjamasshowCelebrate the launch of the festival week: a special fairy is coming to Karori Library’s Preschool story time at 10.30am on Monday 7th May. She’ll be reading ‘Stomp’, one of the NZ Post Children’s Book award entries. There’ll be heaps of rowdy fun and excitement with music and lots of other stories too that 0 – 5 year olds will love

I’m always looking for a reason to wear my pyjamas in public: Come to Kilbirnie Library on Thursday May 10th 6-7pm for a pyjama party! Bring your favourite toy along and be prepared for stories, games, fun, prizes, hot chocolate and face painting. Perfect for 5-12 year olds.

Review: Waiting for Later by Tina Matthews

Waiting for Later is a thoroughly charming book which tells the story of a girl called Nancy who is looking for something to do or someone to play with.

Nancy goes on a journey from being excluded from an adult world and feeling bored to finding her own fun in a world of observation and reflection. She asks each member of her family in turn if they will play with her but the answer is always “Later”. She climbs a tree to wait for “later” to arrive and finds plenty of fun amongst the leaves. The circular structure brings the story back to where it started and Nancy has changed her perspective along the way.

The illustrations are completely absorbing. The finely crafted wood-cuts use colour sparingly to highlight points of special interest. My favourite of these delicate and detailed prints depicts Nancy surrounded by leaves and branches and on closer inspection reveals a whole ecosystem of birdlife and creepy crawlies. The gorgeous pictures are complemented by shadowy figures which hint at other goings-on in the story.

Waiting for Later is a beautiful book and would make a great bedtime story for children young and old. It is a finalist for the New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children for Best Picture Book. Vote for your favourite.

NZ Post Children’s Book Awards – Picture Book finalists

Wow we are so lucky here in good old NZ with the high level of local authors and illustrators that create books that are a joy to read and share. This year’s nominations for the best Picture Books are no exception with a range of books for all reading levels.

My favs of this bunch would have to be Ruth Paul’s newest title Stomp and The Cat’s Pyjamas by Catherine Foreman. Stomp is a fun, follow the leader story great for preschoolers and younger primary aged children and The Cat’s Pyjamas introduces a cat who entertains us with a different pair of pyjamas and dream for each day of the week.

If you’re around the middle primary age or older give Rahui by Chris Szekely (also in Te Reo) and Waiting for Later by Tina Matthews a go. 

For the senior primary/intermediate and teen readers Shaolin Burning by Ant Sang (of Bro Town fame) is a graphic novel with a modern take on kung fu mythology with plenty of Shaolin principles, non-stop action and burning revenge!

Don’t forget to vote for your favourite – you could win!


NZ Post Children’s Book Awards – Junior Fiction finalists

There’s something for everyone is this selection of Junior Fiction finalists, from genetically engineered mutant fly traps (the Flytrap Snaps by Johanna Knox), a boy who wants to be a super hero when he grows up (Super Finn by Leonie Agnew), the quest for the return of magic to the world of fontania (The Travelling Restaurant by Barbara Else), a tale of finding your place in the world (Just Jack by Adele Broadbent) and a sequel to the mysterious Loblolly Boy which was a finalist in the 2010 Junior Fiction category with The Loblolly Boy and the Sorcerer by James Norcliffe.

Pick one off the Library shelf today or place a reserve to get one in your hands soon!

Its not just the authors who get all the winning fun. Vote for your favourite and you could be a winner too!