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New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults 2024: Children's Finalists!

By WCL librarians

It's been another wonderful year for children's books in Aotearoa New Zealand, so why not check out the cream of the crop and read through the children's finalists for the NZCYA book awards?

Image text: Best books of the year for young NZ readers. 2024 finalists announced

So many marvellous books have been published over the last year, and now the shortlist for the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults has been officially announced. This is always a super exciting time of year for us at the library -- picture librarians huddled anxiously around computer screens awaiting the announcement, exclaiming with joy and anticipation upon seeing the list go up, scrolling to see if our favourites made the cut.

The good news is many of our favourites did make the cut this year! And there are a few local Wellington authors too! The books on the list are by turns funny, quirky, beautiful, profound, and so distinctly Aotearoa in quality that they only could have come from here. To help you make your mind up about which books you think should win their categories, we thought we'd share the full list here, with links to all the books in our catalogue. Just click on the title and you'll be able to reserve the next available copy to read. But get in quick -- we don't think they'll stay on the shelf for very long!

Picture Book Award

Judges' comments:

"The judges were impressed by the boldness and brilliance of this year’s Picture Book Award finalists. Each created a unique world to experience, and demonstrated mastery in writing, illustration, and the harmony between the two."

Junior Fiction Award

Judges' comments:

"Themes of identity, belonging, community and connection run throughout all the Wright Family Foundation Esther Glen Junior Fiction Award finalists. Engaging stories hook the reader from the start and the judges believe these books have some of the best ever first lines."

Non-Fiction Award

Judges' comments:

"The finalists in this year's Elsie Locke Award for Non-Fiction encourage children to look closely at both our own history and the natural world around them. Superbly written, illustrated and designed, the judges said all shortlisted books in this category have the wow factor."

Illustration Award

Judges' comments:

"From our fraught and bloody history to our wild and colourful internal worlds, all the illustrators on this year's Russell Clark Award for Illustration shortlist show great sympathy with, and understanding of, their subjects."

Te Kura Pounamu Award for Te Reo Māori

Judges' comments:

"The finalists for this year’s Te Kura Pounamu Award have retold stories of te ao Māori with care, and in a way that is meaningful to young readers. The books all showed different forms of auahatanga creativity, and hiranga inspiration. They also demonstrated exceptional knowledge and understanding of te reo Māori."

Best First Book

Judges' comments:

"The books shortlisted for the NZSA Best First Book Award range across categories and showcase the work of very talented first-time authors and illustrators. The judges said the calibre of the finalists bodes well for the future of New Zealand’s literary landscape."