Sunday, June 9, 2024

Lightning struck twice ...

AAARGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHH I'm a finalist!!! Last thursday June 6th the finalists were announced for the 2024 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults and I am more than thrilled to say that Lucy and The Dark, illustrated by Vasanti Unka and published by Puffin (Penguin Random House), is shortlisted for the Best Picture Book Award and He Tārū Kāhika, illustrated by Isobel Joy Te Aho-White, translated by Paania Papa and published by Scholastic, is a finalist for  the Wright Family Foundation Te Kura Pounamu Award for Te Reo Maaori. These are exciting times! 


There is immense joy to be found in the pages of a good book, and a finalist list can help you navigate the book shelves in shops and libraries if you are uncertain what books to try. I love that this year's list has been picked with the advice and support of the students of 75 schools across the country - the children have been involved and had their voice heard which is so important for children's writers and illustrators - they are our biggest audience!! But ....

... children's books aren't just for children. I never forget the adult audience when I am writing for children. I know parents, grandparents, teachers, librarians and other intermediaries might be sharing these books with their young charges. It is better to entertain, inform, charm or disarm ALL your potential readers. But there is no reason you have to have a child in tow to enjoy a children's book. A satisfying story is a satisfying story at any age. Ask any adult their favourite book of all and many will recall childhood favourites - these books can leave a lasting impression. And if you have any doubt about how good reading can be for everyone go check out this wonderful article in NZ's Education Gazette. 

So here are this year's finalists. I challenge you to try at least a couple of these. They are filled with terrific writing and illustrations. And feel free to let me know what you think in the comments :-)

Picture Book Award Finalists

• At the Bach, Joy Cowley, illustrated by Hilary Jean Tapper (Gecko Press)

• Dazzlehands, Sacha Cotter, illustrated by Josh Morgan (Te Aitanga-a-Māhaki, Rongowhakaata, Te Whānau-a-Kai) (Huia Publishers)

• Hatch and Match, Ruth Paul (Walker Books Australia)

• Lucy and the Dark, Melinda Szymanik, illustrated by Vasanti Unka (Penguin Random House NZ)

• Paku Manu Ariki Whakatakapōkai, Michaela Keeble, illustrated by Tokerau Brown (Gecko Press)

Wright Family Foundation Esther Glen Junior Fiction Award Finalists

• DoubleDippers!, Raymond McGrath (Scholastic New Zealand)

• Lopini the Legend, Feana Tu‘akoi (Scholastic New Zealand)

• Nine Girls, Stacy Gregg (Ngāti Mahuta, Ngāti Pūkeko, Ngāti Maru Hauraki) (Penguin Random House NZ)

• Take Me to Your Leader, Leonie Agnew (Penguin Random House NZ)

• The Grimmelings, Rachael King (Allen & Unwin)

Young Adult Fiction Award Finalists

• Catch a Falling Star, Eileen Merriman (Penguin Random House NZ)

• New Dawning, A M Dixon (One Tree House)

• The Sparrow, Tessa Duder (Penguin Random House NZ)

• Tonight, I Burn, Katharine J Adams (Hachette Aotearoa New Zealand)

• Tsunami, Ned Wenlock (Earth's End Publishing)

Elsie Locke Award for Non-Fiction Finalists

• Patu: The New Zealand Wars, Gavin Bishop (Tainui, Ngāti Awa) (Penguin Random House NZ)

• The Observologist: A Handbook for Mounting Very Small Scientific Expeditions, Giselle Clarkson (Gecko Press)

• Tuatara: A Living Treasure, Katie Furze, illustrated by Ned Barraud (Scholastic New Zealand)

• Ultrawild: An Audacious Plan to Rewild Every City on Earth, Steve Mushin (Allen & Unwin)

• Wot Knot You Got? Mophead's Guide to Life, Selina Tusitala Marsh (Auckland University Press)

Russell Clark Award for Illustration Finalists 

• Dazzlehands, illustrated by Josh Morgan (Te Aitanga-a-Māhaki, Rongowhakaata, Te Whānau-a-Kai) (Huia Publishers)

• Paku Manu Ariki Whakatakapōkai, illustrated by Tokerau Brown (Gecko Press)

• Patu: The New Zealand Wars, illustrated by Gavin Bishop (Tainui, Ngāti Awa) (Penguin Random House NZ)

• Samples from the Lab, illustrated by Rob Foote (Creativity Unleashed)

• The Dream Factory, illustrated by Zak Ātea (Te Āti Awa Taranaki) (Huia Publishers)

Wright Family Foundation Te Kura Pounamu Award Finalists

• He Tārū Kahika, Melinda Szymanik, illustrated by Isobel Joy Te Aho-White (Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāi Tahu), translated by Pānia Papa (Ngāti Korokī Kahukura, Ngāti Mahuta) (Scholastic New Zealand)

• Nani Jo me ngā Mokopuna Porohīanga, Moira Wairama, illustrated by Margaret Tolland (Baggage Books)

• Te Pīkari Pipi, Angie Belcher, illustrated by Lily Uivel, translated by Pānia Papa (Ngāti Korokī Kahukura, Ngāti Mahuta) (Scholastic New Zealand)

• Te Pukapuka ka kore e Pānuihia, Tim Tipene (Ngāti Kurī, Te Uri-o-Hau, Ngāti Whātua), illustrated by Nicoletta Benella, translated by Kanapu Rangitauira (Te Arawa, Ngati Porou, Te Whakatohea) (Oratia Books)

• Te Rā Kura Ki Aotearoa, Donovan Bixley, translated by Darryn Joseph (Ngāti Maniapoto, Rereahu) (Upstart Press)

NZSA Best First Book Award Finalists

• A M Dixon, New Dawning (One Tree House)

• Tokerau Brown (illustrator), Paku Manu Ariki Whakatakapōkai (Gecko Press)

• Tangaroa Paul (Muriwhenua) (author), Rere Atu Taku Poi! Let My Poi Fly! (Oratia Books)

• Ned Wenlock, Tsunami (Earth's End Publishing)

• Steve Mushin, Ultrawild: An Audacious Plan to Rewild Every City on Earth (Allen & Unwin)

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