N.B. All views and opinions expressed in this post are my own. They in no way reflect those of the 2014 New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards judging committee.
It’s now three weeks since I got my first lot of books that were submitted for next year’s New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards. I’ve been mixing up my reading, switching between junior fiction and young adult fiction. So far, I’ve been really impressed with the quality of the writing and the range of genres represented. Deborah Burnside’s Rebecca and the Queen of Nations transported me back in time, Vince Ford’s Scrap: Tale of a Blond Puppy introduced me to the life of a sheep-dog, I spent a week in a hut with no power in Joy Cowley’s Dunger, and I met a young Odysseus in Catherine Mayo’s Murder at Mykenai. One of my favourites so far has been Bugs by Whiti Hereaka, a Young Adult book about the unfolding lives of three young people in their last year of school in small-town New Zealand.
At the weekend I read my way through the 49 submitted picture books, labeling them and sorting them into 4 piles. There are some truly brilliant picture books, some really bad ones, and quite a few in between. It’s been interesting looking at what picture books have been included in ‘Best of 2013’ lists. There have been a couple that others have highlighted at ‘bests’ which I consider fairly average, but I’m not going to name them. It’s easy to identify the brilliant picture books, by their high-quality production and design, stunning illustrations, and text that flows and bounces. Here are a couple of my picture book highlights:
I’m looking forward to meeting with my fellow judges and hearing their opinions of the books that they have read. I’m curious to find out whether we have similar opinions on our top books.