Category Archives: book awards

Chris Riddell – Children’s Laureate 2015-2017

It was fantastic to wake up to the news that Chris Riddell has been named the UK Children’s Laureate for 2015-2017.  Chris is the nineth laureate and follows in the footsteps of such giants of the children’s literature world as Malorie Blackman, Michael Morpurgo, Anthony Brown and Anne Fine. Chris Riddell is a fantastic illustrator who has worked with Neil Gaiman, Russell Brand, Martin Jenkins, and most notably with Paul Stewart on their Edge Chronicles series. Has also written and illustrated his own books, including the Ottoline series, the Goth Girl series, and the picture books The Emperor of Absurdia and Wendel’s Workshop.

His plan for his two-year post as Children’s Laureate is to encourage people to draw every day, he’ll post a daily illustration on his online ‘laureate log,’ and he wants to “to celebrate librarians at the heart of our schools.”

If you don’t follow Chris Riddell online you really should.  He posts some of his wonderful illustrations to his Facebook and Twiiter pages.  Follow him or http://www.facebook.com/chris.riddell2.

Check out the Love Reading 4 Kids UK Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/lovereading4kids) as Chris has illustrated each of the previous Children’s Laureates .  They are absolutely wonderful illustrations!

Here is my virtual book display of some great books by Chris Riddell.

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2014 New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults Finalists

colour-logo-rgb-large1It’s finally here – the day I can shout about the wonderful books that we have chosen as the finalists in the 2014 New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.  It was a mammoth task, reading our way through 120 or so books, to choose just 20 to be named the best books for children and young adults in New Zealand from last year.  It was incredibly difficult choosing only 20 books but we believe we’ve chosen the best books in each category and I’m looking forward to all the events during festival week that will celebrate these books, authors and illustrators.

Congratulations to all the finalist authors!  Check out the list below.

Picture Books

  • Machines and Me: Boats by Catherine Foreman
  • The Boring Book by Vasanti Unka
  • The Three Bears (Sort of) by Yvonne Morrison, illustrated by Donovan Bixley
  • Toucan Can by Juliette MacIver, illustrated by Sarah Davis
  • Watch Out, Snail! by Gay Hay, illustrated by Margaret Tolland

Junior Fiction

  • A Winter’s Day in 1939 by Melinda Szymanik
  • Dunger by Joy Cowley
  • Felix and the Red Rats by James Norcliffe
  • Project Huia by Des Hunt
  • The Princess and the Foal by Stacy Gregg

Young Adult Fiction

  • A Necklace of Souls by RL Stedman
  • Bugs by Whiti Hereaka
  • Mortal Fire by Elizabeth Knox
  • Speed Freak by Fleur Beale
  • When We Wake by Karen Healey

Non Fiction

  • An Extraordinary Land by Peter Hayden and Rod Morris
  • Anzac Day: The New Zealand Story by Philippa Werry
  • Flight of the Honeybee by Raymond Huber, illustrated by Brian Lovelock
  • Beginner’s Guide to Hunting and Fishing by Paul Adamson
  • Wearable Wonders by Fifi Colston

Maori Language Award

  • Taka Ki Ro Wai by Keri Kaa and Martin D Page

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Winners of the 2014 ALA Youth Media Awards

The winners of the 2014 American Library Association (ALA) Youth Media Awards were announced yesterday in the US.  These awards, which include the prestigious Newbery, Caldecott and Printz awards, are presented to the top books, video and audio books for children and young adults.  Here is the list of the 2014 award winners:

  • John Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature:

Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures,” written by Kate DiCamillo.

Four Newbery Honor Books also were named: “Doll Bones,” written by Holly Black; “The Year of Billy Miller,” written by Kevin Henkes; “One Came Home,” written by Amy Timberlake; and “Paperboy,” written by Vince Vawter.

  • Randolph Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for children:

“Locomotive,”  by Brian Floca and illustrated by Brian Floca.

Three Caldecott Honor Books also were named: “Journey,” written and illustrated by Aaron Becker; “Flora and the Flamingo,” written and illustrated by Molly Idle; and “Mr. Wuffles!” written and illustrated by David Wiesner.

  • Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in literature written for young adults:

“Midwinterblood,” written by Marcus Sedgwick, is the 2014 Printz Award winner.

Four Printz Honor Books also were named: “Eleanor & Park,” written by Rainbow Rowell; “Kingdom of Little Wounds,” written by Susann Cokal; “Maggot Moon,” written by Sally Gardner, illustrated by Julian Crouch; and “Navigating Early,” written by Clare Vanderpool.

  • Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement in writing for young adults:

Markus Zusak is the 2014 Edwards Award winner. His books include: “The Book Thief” and “I Am the Messenger,” and “Getting the Girl” and “Fighting Ruben Wolfe.”

  • May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture Award recognizing an author, critic, librarian, historian or teacher of children’s literature, who then presents a lecture at a winning host site:

Brian Selznick will deliver the 2015 lecture.

Author and illustrator Brian Selznick graduated from Rhode Island School of Design intending to be a set designer for the theater, but a stint at Eeyore’s children’s bookstore in New York City changed his mind and his first book was published while working there. He left to pursue a full-time career in children’s book illustration, but he still designs theater sets and is a professional puppeteer. Among his award-winning works are illustrations for two Sibert Honor Books and a Caldecott Honor Book. His groundbreaking “The Invention of Hugo Cabret” was awarded the 2008 Caldecott Medal.

  • Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award for most distinguished informational book for children:

“Parrots over Puerto Rico,” written by Susan L. Roth and Cindy Trumbore, and illustrated by Susan L. Roth, is the Sibert Award winner.

Four  Sibert Honor Books were named: “A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin,” written by Jen Bryant, illustrated by Melissa Sweet; “Look Up! Bird-Watching in Your Own Backyard,” written and illustrated by Annette LeBlanc Cate; “Locomotive,” written and illustrated by Brian Floca; and “The Mad Potter: George E. Ohr, Eccentric Genius,” written by Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan.

  • Theodor Seuss Geisel Award for the most distinguished book for beginning readers:

“The Watermelon Seed,” written and illustrated by Greg Pizzoli, is the Geisel Award winner.

Three Geisel Honor Books were named: “Ball,” written and illustrated by Mary Sullivan; “A Big Guy Took My Ball!” written and illustrated by Mo Willems ; and “Penny and Her Marble,” written and illustrated by Kevin Henkes.

  • YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults:

“The Nazi Hunters: How a Team of Spies and Survivors Captured the World’s Most Notorious Nazi,” written by Neal Bascomb, is the 2014 Excellence winner.

Four other books were finalists for the award: “Go: A Kidd’s Guide to Graphic Design,” written by Chip Kidd ; “Imprisoned: The Betrayal of Japanese Americans During World War II,” written by Martin W. Sandler; “Courage Has No Color: The True Story of the Triple Nickles, America’s First Black Paratroopers,” written by Tanya Lee Stone; and “The President Has Been Shot! The Assassination of John F. Kennedy,” written by James L. Swanson.

For the full list of ALA award winners you can read the press release on the ALA website.

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Judges Diary: Highlights so far

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.

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Judges Diary: Oh the anticipation!

Imagine my surprise when I came back from a couple of days away to find 3 big boxes of books waiting for me.  Ever since the announcement that I’m going to be a judge for the 2014 New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards, I’ve been wondering which books will be chosen to be considered for the awards.  There have been so many wonderful New Zealand books published in the last year and I’ve had quite a few favourites.

NZ Post books 1

When I couldn’t wait any longer I opened the boxes to find 104 beauties (only the first lot of submissions) waiting for me to open their covers and discover the stories and information that await inside.  I was glad to find my favourites, those stories that have stuck in my mind, as well as some I had really wanted to read but hadn’t got around to, and some books that I hadn’t even heard of.  There are some whose covers and design jump right out at you and beg to be read, and others whose poor design and production will be barriers for some readers discovering the story within the pages.

NZ post books 2

I sorted the books into those that I have read and those that I haven’t, and as you can see by the photo there is quite a difference.  My first goal is to go back through those I have read so far this year and remind myself what it was that I liked/didn’t like about them, then start some serious reading of my ‘to-be-read pile.’

My mountain of books awaits me so I must get started.  I’ll report back soon on how the reading is going and what gems I have discovered.

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New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards Judge Announcement

I’m thrilled to finally be able to announce that I’ll be joining Barbara Else and Ant Sang as a judge for the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards next year.  I’m incredibly honoured to be a part of the awards and it’s very exciting.

I’ve been a part of the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Festival for the last 3 years, as the coordinator for the Canterbury Festival.  This is a role that I have loved as it has given me the chance to take the finalist books out to my region and share them with children of all ages.  The roadshow that our Canterbury committee did this year for the Festival was one of the best experiences I’ve had as a librarian, as we got to talk about the finalist books and read them to so many children in our region.  Having the opportunity to actually be one of the three people choosing which books are the best books in New Zealand over the past year feels absolutely incredible.  We have so many talented authors and illustrators in New Zealand who create some magical, captivating, adventure-filled and even heart-breaking books, so it is going to be a huge task to choose the best.

I’m going to have lots of reading ahead of me – approximately 120 books!  I’m certainly looking forward to receiving my first box of books and starting my reading.  There will be books that I’ve already read and loved, but there are sure to be some treasures that I’m yet to discover.  I hope to share some thoughts on my life as a judge here on the blog and talk about some of the books I’m reading.

How exciting is it to be a judge? Let Kermit show you:

To find out more about the 2014 judges check out the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards website.

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Winners of the 2013 LIANZA Children’s Book Awards

The winners of the 2013 LIANZA Children’s Book Awards were announced in Wellington last night.  The LIANZA Children’s Book Awards are awarded by librarians for outstanding children’s books by New Zealand authors and illustrators.  There were some wonderful books on the shortlist again this year, including some of my favourite books of 2012.

I was really glad to see two of my favourites in the shortlist.  Rachael King’s Red Rocks and Mandy Hager’s The Nature of Ash were the winners in their categories.  They are both amazing books and it’s so good to see them get the recognition and awards that they deserve.  Check out the full list of winners below.

LIANZA Junior Fiction Award – Esther Glen Medal
For the most distinguished contribution to literature for children aged 0-15.

Red Rocks by Rachael King, (Random House New Zealand)

LIANZA Young Adult Fiction Award
For the distinguished contribution to literature for children and young adults aged 13 years and above.

The Nature of Ash by Mandy Hager, (Random House New Zealand)

LIANZA Illustration Award – Russell Clark Award
For the most distinguished illustrations in a children’s book.

A Great Cake by Tina Matthews, (Walker Books Australia)

LIANZA Non Fiction Award – Elsie Locke Medal
For a work that is considered to be a distinguished contribution to non-fiction for young people.

At the Beach: Explore & Discover the New Zealand Seashore by Ned Barraud and Gillian Candler, (Craig Potton Publishing)

LIANZA Librarians’ Choice Award 2013
Awarded to the most popular finalist across all awards, as judged by professional librarians of LIANZA.

My Brother’s War by David Hill, (Penguin NZ)

Te Kura Pounamu (te reo Māori)
Awarded to the author of a work, written in Te Reo Māori, which makes a distinguished contribution to literature for children or young people.

Ko Meru by Kyle Mewburn, translated by Ngaere Roberts, illustrated by Ali Teo and John O’Reilly (Scholastic)

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The 2013 New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards winners

The finalists in the 2013 New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards gathered in Christchurch last night for the awards ceremony. The awards night is always themed and this year the organisers went for a ‘Witch in the Cherry Tree’ theme in honour of Margaret Mahy.  The book of the year was also renamed the ‘New Zealand Post Margaret Mahy Book of the Year’ this year.  I was  nervous myself, hoping that my favourites would take out the award, so I’m sure the authors and illustrators themselves were incredibly nervous.  Overall, I was pleased to see a couple of my favourites win awards, but I was disappointed that others missed out.  I think that Red Rocks and The Nature of Ash are amazing books and if I could give Rachael and Mandy an award I would.

Read below to find out who won each category, as well as the Honour Book and Children’s Choice Award.

Best Young Adult Fiction and New Zealand Post Margaret Mahy Book of the Year

Into the River by Ted Dawe

Best Non-Fiction

100 Amazing Tales from Aotearoa by Simon Morton & Riria Hotere

Best Junior Fiction

My Brother’s War by David Hill

Honour award, Junior Fiction

The Queen and the Nobody Boy: A Tale of Fontania series by Barbara Else

Best Picture Book

Mister Whistler by Margaret Mahy & Gavin Bishop

Best First Book

Reach by Hugh Brown

Children’s Choice

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

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On the road with the Canterbury NZ Post Children’s Book Festival Roadshow

Last week I spent the week out on the road with two awesome librarians, Saskia Hill and Susan Dodd, as part of the Canterbury NZ Post Children’s Book Festival Roadshow.  We decided that this year, we wanted to talk about and read the finalist books to as many children as we possibly could over the course of the Festival week.  We battled heavy rain, flooding, horrible traffic and a flat tyre to deliver our Roadshow to the kids of Canterbury.  We visited 11 schools, 13 preschools, presented 2 Books Before Bedtime Pyjama Parties and read to over 6000 children over the course of the week.

Part of our programme was performing Margaret Mahy and Gavin Bishop’s wonderful picture book, Mister Whistler.  I danced around as Mister Whistler, while Saskia read the book and got the kids interacting with the story.  Here’s a couple of photos of my performance.

It was an awesome experience and something that we hope to repeat again next year.  These were my highlights of the week:

  • Dressing up as Mister Whistler and dancing around while taking my clothes on and off.
  • Giving away heaps of copies of Kyle Mewburn’s Melu and Rachael King’s Red Rocks to kids all around Canterbury and seeing their faces light up.
  • Seeing kids so eager to answer questions about the finalist books so they can win a bookmark.
  • Meeting lots of enthusiastic teachers and librarians who love books.
  • Reading and talking about books with kids of all ages and doing it all with one of the coolest people around, Saskia Hill.

Here is a small selection of our photos from the week:

Best of luck to all the authors and illustrators on the shortlist for the awards.  I’m really looking forward to going to the awards ceremony here in Christchurch tonight.  I’ll be live Tweeting from the event so if you want to know the winners first, follow me – @zackids.

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The 2013 Inky Awards Longlist

One of the coolest things about being at Reading Matters was hearing the live announcement of the 2013 Inky Awards longlist (especially when many of the authors on the list were in the audience).  The Inky Awards are the Australian teen choice book awards for teen literature, voted for online by the readers of insideadog.com.au, and named after the site’s wonder-dog, Inky. There are two awards: the Gold Inky for an Australian book, and the Silver Inky for an international book.  Check out the visual longlist below and go to insideadog.com.au  for more information about each of the books.

Gold Inky Longlist

 

Silver Inky Longlist

What are your favourites?  I’m actually glad I can’t vote because I’d have a real problem trying to chose my favourite, especially the for Gold Inky.  So many great books!

We seriously need to set up a teen choice book award in New Zealand.  I may need to start a petition and send it to Storylines.

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