NZCYA Book Awards Winners Announced!

The day has finally come — the winners of the 2020 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults have been announced! The Supreme Winner at the Awards this year is former New Zealand Poet Laureate Selina Tusitala Marsh, for her book Mophead. Mophead, which won both the Margaret Mahy Book of the Year award as well as the Elsie Locke Award for Non-Fiction, is an incredible book that is hard to describe in words and in every way is a taonga worthy of this highest honour. Find it, and the books that won the other six categories, on our catalogue below:


Margaret Mahy Book of the Year Award; Elsie Locke Award for Non-Fiction

Mophead : how your difference makes a difference / Marsh, Selina Tusitala

Judges’ comments: This magic book reaches past our brains and squeezes life into our hearts and imaginations. Mophead places its writer at the centre of her own story, but also draws lines out to all the stories and histories that make up an individual: cultures, literature, family and education.
With exquisite design and production, it is part picture book, part graphic novel, part memoir, part poem — its form is exactly what it wants and needs to be, which is the message of the book too.
Mophead is clever and joyful and inspiring, with not a smidgen of pretension or condescension. It is — dare it be said — perfect.

Our thoughts: Yes! While the calibre of the shortlist this year was nothing short of astonishing, we are beyond pleased to see this taonga take the top prize. This book is everything — by turns funny and poignant, strident and comforting, impetuous and patient; capable both of rousing a righteous anger and of gently taking the reader by the hand and leading them to a new point of view. This book is essential reading, and we’d like to see a copy in the hand of every child in the land. Plus, it’s about time the Margaret Mahy Book of the Year Award was won by a Pasifika author. Ka rawe!


Picture Book Award

Abigail and the birth of the sun / Cunningham, Matthew

Judges’ comments: This book ticks all the boxes for a great picture book. Abigail is a very real and relatable character: children will be able to see themselves in her, and adults will recognise her. Her curiosity is what drives the story, and is formed in a magical question on possibility. Her father tenderly cradles this curiosity, creating a beautiful narrative answer to her big question that is part magic, part science. The language is evocative and poetic and times, and yet still packed with facts. The illustrations support this gentle yet fantastical approach, with bold colours and big skyscapes combined with little touches like the ever-present family cat, and the astronaut teddy bear.

Our thoughts: This gorgeously-realised book will be a favourite for bedtime and storytime for years to come. The colour palette throughout is what most caught our eye — the stunning range of sunny yellows and ochres, reds so deep you could fall into them, verdant greens and velvety blacks, blues and purples — the book is a joy to look at. The text is the right combination of imagination-inspiring and comforting. We think you’ll like this one — be sure to pick it up next time you come to the library, though you may need to reserve it first!


Wright Family Foundation Esther Glen Award for Junior Fiction

Lizard’s tale / Chan, Weng Wai

Judges’ comments: Lizard’s Tale is a standout not only for its gripping storytime, but for its convincing characters and historical detail. Set in the crowded slums of Singapore’s Chinatown during World War Two, Lizard’s Tale tells the story of a young teenage boy who is offered big money to steal a mysterious box — and finds himself drawn into a dangerous world of espionage, kidnapping, daring escapes and covert missions. Readers are given a tantalising insight into a culturally diverse world, and a glimpse of history seen from a new, exciting angle. Fast paced and assured, this is a confident debut from an exciting new talent.

Our thoughts: This book was a standout for us amidst the extremely strong junior fiction field. The at times breakneck-exciting pace is perfectly measured by periods of quiet development and observation. At times the writing is reminiscent of classic 1940s spy and detective fiction, at times it’s more reflective and thoughtful. Before long, you find yourself inevitably drawn in to compellingly-drawn and richly historical world.


Young Adult Fiction Award

Aspiring / Wilkins, Damien

Judges’ comments: Aspiring demonstrates a stunning insight into the teenage mind, both in its exploration of character and its respect for the intelligence of its audience. In Ricky, the book has a kind, thoughtful main character, even as he towers over those in his life and deals with difficult memories of family trauma. Books like this can provide a bridge from young adult reading to feeling confident to start tackling literary books for grown-ups. There are plenty of teens out there like Ricky, and it is to be hoped that seeing themselves reflected on the page in all their uncertain, wildly imaginative glory will remind them to stay true to their thoughtful and inquisitive selves.

Our thoughts: We loved the verbosity and relatability of 15-year-old Ricky’s near-constant internal monologue throughout this book — it’s full of the kinds of observations about life in a small town that we recognise and empathise with. It’s exciting to see the author’s bold and unpretentious voice applied to young adult themes and characters for the first time in this book, and we’re hoping there’s more to come in this space in the future!


Russell Clark Award for Illustration

The adventures of Tupaia / Meredith, Courtney Sina

Judges’ comments: Mat Tait’s illustrations reach the reader on an intellectual, gut and aesthetic level. They teach us about our history in part by engaging our emotions, via dramatic perspectives and powerful colours. We witness a battle for power as we journey through the Pacific, and are struck by confusion and grief. A clever combination of modes is used: comic strips, vignettes, full spreads of starry skies, and symbols from throughout the Pacific. The pared back, simple lines and limited colours have us the sense that history isn’t merely something from the past — it’s still happening now. These illustrations are modern and cool — but with an urgent fire in their belly.

Our thoughts: The visual style of this excellent non-fiction book is striking, deliberate, dignified, and sharp. In comparison to some of the other books on the shortlist for this award, the colour palette is slightly muted and pared back — but this is entirely to the book’s benefit. The prevalence of cool greens, the fullest range of blues and purples, with subtle flashes of warmer colours, and the ingenious use of whites and creams as highlights, gives the story a sense of solemn unity without ever detracting from the fierce excitement of the true story being told. We think this book, along with being a wonder to behold, is an essential read for anyone wanting to learn more about the history of the Aotearoa in the Pacific.


Wright Family Foundation Te Kura Pounamu Award for Te Reo Māori

Tio Tiamu / Kurahau

Judges’ comments: Tio Tiamu, aka Toe Jam — what a dreadful predicament, oh the humiliation! Tio Tiamu is a gigantic character with the kindest heart and genuine love for his hapū. He overcomes many challenges and deliberate acts of nastiness, only to be shunned. There are mixtures of ‘if only’ moments, cautiously laid like and absorbing tangi the senses of the reader are tuned in to. ‘Ha aha te mea nui o te ao, he tangata’ — it is known the most important thing in the world is its people. This te reo journey exudes manaaki tangata with generosity, benevolence, and grace.

Our thoughts: This book really is the complete package. The story feels at times very much like a legend being told in a traditional oral storytelling mode — the text often repeats, loops back in on its self, steps forwards or backwards to further explain a point or leave something poetically unsaid. There is an incredible sense of balance throughout, where the weight of the storytelling is shared equally between the stylised, yet detailed illustrations and the entrancing, sometimes very playful, language. Yet the story does not pull its punches, and we can’t guarantee there won’t be tears the first time it is read by your tamariki. At the core of it all lies an incredibly powerful message that resonates especially powerful right now — that kindness to others is the only thing that matters, in the end.


Best First Book Award

#Tumeke! / Petherick, Michael

Judges’ comments: #Tumeke! is every bit as diverse as the Newtoun community, which we see revealed piece by piece, flyer by flyer, as the fun, endearing mosaic that makes New Zealand the unique paradise it is. Michael Petherick tells a sweet and funny tale, with a creative multi-media format that engages the eye and challenges the brain. Ages and cultures merge in this story of a small community filled with huge heart. Readers will find themselves cheering on every new character, and will easily see themselves somewhere in this fantastic, genre-bending book.

Our thoughts: This is a completely unique book with so much to discover — a whole diverse community, in fact (that may or may not bear more than a passing resemblance to our very own Newtown). Really, this book is a whole series of relationships, events, conversations, debates, personal thoughts, and public announcements all distilled into a format that bursts off the pages. You can absolutely read it in one sitting, drawn into the experience of the new kid at school and the swirling excitement of the organisation of a community event. But equally, you can dip in and out, reminding yourself every now and then of why it is you have grown to love and care about the eccentric and relatable characters sketched so expertly within. A challenging and different read, but absolutely worthy of that elusive Librarian’s Choice sticker.

Children’s and Young Adults’ book award winners announced!

Last night, at a lavish pizza party, the winners of the 2019 book awards for children and young adults were announced.

Hell Pizza are the main sponsors of the books awards (how many pizza wheels have you completed over the last few months?), and it was really exciting to see the very best New Zealand Authors and Illustrators there hoping to be announced as a winner. All the finalist books are incredible, and us librarians recommend you try to read as many as you can.

There are 8 categories: Picture Book, Junior Fiction, Non-Fiction, Young Adult Fiction, Illustration, te reo Māori, best first book, and the overall best book of the year.

 

And here are the winners!

It’s really exciting to see Wellington duo Sacha Cotter and Josh Morgan win the Margaret Mahy Book of the Year award. Mīharo!

Crafty Kyle Competition Winners!

The Crafty Kyle Competition is now over. The participants had to come up with a new imaginary story by Kyle Mewburn and design a book cover for it. We got heaps of entries… Well done everyone!

The winners of the Crafty Kyle Competition have now been announced.

Amelia Major won the 5 to 7 years old category. Well done for such a poetic and light-hearted drawing…

Amelia Major

Katie Chu-Fong won the 8 to 10 years old category. Very colourful and dynamic scene that you created for the “Vegetable Choir”.

katie Chu-Fong

The champion of the 11 to 13 years old category is Matthew Yang. The character Andy looks so fun and real in his cardboard boxes castle!

matthew Yang

The winners will be collecting their library prizes this week. Books signed by Kyle Mewburn will be one of the treats in the prize pack! Maybe your drawings will inspire Kyle Mewburn for one of his future books…

Children book award winners announced

On Monday night this week the LIANZA children’s book award winners were announced.

LIANZA stands for Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa, which basically means that these are the book awards where Librarians get to choose the winners.

 

And here are the winners…

Esther Glen Medal for best fiction: Red Rocks by Rachael King (A Wellington author!)

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

 

 

 

Russel Clark Medal for best illustration: 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!

This book also includes an awesome cake recipe.

 

 

 

 

Elsie Locke Medal for non-fiction: At the Beach: Explore & Discover the New Zealand Seashore by Ned Barraud and Gillian Candler

At the Beach is a delightful introduction to the natural history of the New Zealand seashore.

With beautiful, factually correct illustrations (including detailed cross-sections) of three habitats—sandy beach, rock pools and mudflats. Many of the plants and animals that play a part in these rich ecosystems are shown, with lots of detail about crabs, sea stars, kina and sea anemones, shellfish, seaweeds, sponges and sandhoppers, fish, jellyfish & shrimps, and birds

This book will appeal to anyone curious about New Zealand’s natural environment, At the Beach is a must for the home, bach, classroom and library. Comes with a removable, waterproof quick-reference guide to common seashore animals.

 

Te Kura Ponamu award for te Reo: Ko Meru by Kyle Mewburn, translated by Ngaere Roberts

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

 

 

 

 

 

And if you like to read teen books…

Young Adult Fiction Award: The Nature of Ash by Mandy Hagar (another Wellington author!)

Ash McCarthy thought he finally had it made: away from home and all its claustrophobic responsibilities, he’s revelling in the freedom of student hostel life. But life is about to take a devastating turn, when two police officers knock on his door. Their life-changing news forces him to return home to his Down Syndrome brother Mikey, and impels him into a shady world of political intrigue, corruption, terrorism and lies, so many lies. As if this isn’t bad enough, the whole country is imploding, as the world’s two greatest super-powers start a fight that leaves New Zealand ‘piggy-in-the-middle’ of their deadly games. While trying to protect Mikey, along with strangers Travis and Jiao, his fight to uncover the truth turns into a nightmare race to save their lives and stop the destruction of all the principles he holds dear

Summer Reading Challenge Winners

We had loads of amazing review by all you super readers over the 2012-2013 Summer Reading Challenge, those that read & reviewed more than 10 books all went into the draw for the BIG prizes.

Two names were drawn…

Congratulations to Emma and Marina!

Emma with Sarina at Miramar LibraryMarina with Florence at Kilbirnie Library

 

Emma (left) is pictured here with Librarian Sarina at Miramar Library. Emma read and reviewed 13 books for the Summer Reading Challenge – cool!

Marina (right) is standing and smiling with Librarian Florence at Kilbirnie Library. Marina managed to read and review 21 books over summer and lots of them were in the back of the car on long car trips – wow!

Just because summer is over and you’re back at school doesn’t mean you have to stop! You can keep reading and reviewing books and winning prizes With the Kids’ Club – and online book club for 5-12 year olds. Go there now and start earning prizes.

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