If ever there was a time that children needed the escape of stories, 2020 is it.
Today’s announcement of the finalists for the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults reveals an abundance of incredible storytelling for Kiwi kids to immerse themselves in.
Four librarians were part of the judging panel.
The finalist books open their pages to make room for lots of much-needed joy, says convenor of judges Jane Arthur. “They offer children whole worlds to explore and lose themselves in, which is crucial when there is so much uncertainty in their own. There are ponies, spies, communities, myths and, always, a quest for identity – both our country’s and the characters’.”
The range of names on the shortlist speaks to the depth of talent in New Zealand, from debut writers through to superstars like Joy Cowley, Gavin Bishop, Donovan Bixley and Stacy Gregg. The shortlist also features authors better known as writers for adults, including director of the International Institute of Modern Letters at Victoria University, Damien Wilkins and former Poet Laureate Selina Tusitala Marsh (an extremely popular speaker at LIANZA Conference 2019).
“They might be creating books for children, but our authors and illustrators are unafraid to tackle difficult topics – big things like the unhappy impact of colonisation on tangata whenua and nature, New Zealand's place in the Pacific, puberty, racism and abuse,” says Jane.
Despite the challenging times, innovative approaches will connect children with the finalist books and authors – this year’s winners’ announcements will be streamed online, so anyone, anywhere will be able to enjoy the celebration.
The normal schedule of Books Alive events, which see finalists traverse the country talking to school children, will go mostly virtual, allowing even more children to interact with their favourite author or illustrator. The Award’s organisers will partner with the Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa (LIANZA) to present a series of virtual Books Alive storytimes and events. Plus, an activity booklet packed with fun resources to extend children’s interaction with the finalist titles will be released online.
The winners of the 2020 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults will be announced in a virtual presentation, streamed online on the evening of Wednesday 12 August.
We hope that your library will build on the experiences of offering virtual storytimes during the lockdown and apply to host a Books Alive event or register a virtual storytime for the 2020 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults BY JUNE 12, engaging with new audiences and connecting with the wider community. This opportunity is being offered by LIANZA with funding support from Copyright Licensing NZ.
There are resources for libraries from posters to finalist books and activity suggestions designed to encourage children and students of all ages to become actively involved in reading, writing and illustrating.
To find out more about hosting Books Alive online events and virtual storytimes go to the LIANZA website:
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Picture Book Award
Abigail and the Birth of the Sun, Matthew Cunningham, illustrated by Sarah Wilkins (Penguin Random House)
How Māui Slowed the Sun, written and illustrated by Donovan Bixley (advised and translated by Dr Darryn Joseph and Keri Opai) (Upstart Press)
Mini Whinny: Goody Four Shoes, Stacy Gregg, illustrated by Ruth Paul (Scholastic NZ)
Santa's Worst Christmas, Pania Tahau-Hodges and Bryony Walker, illustrated by Isobel Joy Te Aho-White (Huia Publishers)
The Gobbledegook Book, Joy Cowley, illustrated by Giselle Clarkson (Gecko Press)
Wright Family Foundation Esther Glen Award for Junior Fiction
#Tumeke!, Michael Petherick (Massey University Press)
Lizard's Tale, Weng Wai Chan (Text Publishing)
Miniwings Book 6 Moonlight the Unicorn's High Tea Hiccup, Sally Sutton, illustrated by Kirsten Richards (Scholastic NZ)
Prince of Ponies, Stacy Gregg (HarperCollins Publishers)
Time Machine and other stories, Melinda Szymanik (The Cuba Press)
Young Adult Fiction Award
Afakasi woman, Lani Wendt Young (OneTree House)
Aspiring, Damien Wilkins (Massey University Press)
The History Speech, Mark Sweet (Huia Publishers)
Ursa, Tina Shaw (Walker Books Australia)
Wynter’s Thief, Sherryl Jordan (OneTree House)
Elsie Locke Award for Non-Fiction
Kuwi & Friends Māori Picture Dictionary, written and illustrated by Kat Quin, translated by Pānia Papa (Illustrated Publishing)
Mophead, Selina Tusitala Marsh (Auckland University Press)
Te Tiriti o Waitangi / The Treaty of Waitangi, Ross Calman and Mark Derby, illustrated by Toby Morris, translated by Piripi Walker (Lift Education)
The Adventures of Tupaia, Courtney Sina Meredith, illustrated by Mat Tait (Allen & Unwin, in partnership with Tāmaki Paenga Hira Auckland War Memorial Museum)
Three Kiwi Tales, Janet Hunt (Massey University Press)
Russell Clark Award for Illustration
Dozer the Fire Cat, illustrated by Jenny Cooper, written by Robyn Prokop (Scholastic NZ)
Santa's Worst Christmas, illustrated by Isobel Joy Te Aho-White, written by Pania Tahau-Hodges and Bryony Walker (Huia Publishers)
Song of the River, illustrated by Kimberly Andrews, written by Joy Cowley (Gecko Press)
The Adventures of Tupaia, illustrated by Mat Tait, written by Courtney Sina Meredith (Allen & Unwin, in partnership with Tāmaki Paenga Hira Auckland War Memorial Museum)
Wildlife of Aotearoa, illustrated and written by Gavin Bishop (Penguin Random House)
Wright Family Foundation Te Kura Pounamu Award for books written completely in te reo Māori
Arapū Toi, Moira Wairama, illustrated by Austin Whincup (Baggage Books)
Ko Flit, te Tīrairaka, me ngā Hēki Muna, written and illustrated by Kat Quin, translated by Ngaere Roberts (Scholastic NZ)
Ngā Hoa Hoihoi o Kuwi, written and illustrated by Kat Quin, translated by Pānia Papa (Illustrated Publishing)
Te Kirihimete i Whakakorea, Pania Tahau-Hodges and Bryony Walker, illustrated by Isobel Joy Te Aho-White, translated by Kawata Teepa (Huia Publishers)
Tio Tiamu, Kurahau, illustrated by Laya Mutton-Rogers (Huia Publishers)
Best First Book Award
Michael Petherick for #Tumeke! (Massey University Press)
Weng Wai Chan for Lizard's Tale (Text Publishing)
Isobel Joy Te Aho-White (illustrator) for Santa's Worst Christmas, written by Pania Tahau-Hodges and Bryony Walker (Huia Publishers)
Belinda O'Keefe for The Day the Plants Fought Back, illustrated by Richard Hoit (Scholastic NZ)
Laya Mutton-Rogers (illustrator) for The Smelly Giant, written by Kurahau (Huia Publishers)