Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Australian children's books of the year 2013:

I'm likely repeating myself when I say that I have a high opinion of Australian literary awards. I know that awards of any kind are often frought with controversy, but I think literary awards are important for the publishing industry, for the development of literary culture, and for the writers themselves. Awards are also great for readers, because, in spite of their flaws and the fact that any prize is subjective and influenced by so many details, awards provide readers with a list of books which a number of intelligent and thoughtful people have examined and found to be not just worthy of reading, but seriously seriously recommended.

A week and a bit ago, the Children's Book Council of Australia award winners for 2013 were announced, and the lineup looks great.

Book of the Year: Older Readers 
(Note: these books are for mature readers)
Winner Margo Lanagan, Sea Hearts
Honour Books Neil Grant, The Ink Bridge + Vikki Wakefield, Friday Brown

Book of the Year: Younger Readers 
Winner Sonya Hartnett, The Children of the King
Honour Books Jackie French, Pennies for Hitler  + Glenda Millard, ill. Stephen Michael King, The Tender Moments of Saffron Silk

Book of the Year: Early Childhood
Winner Emma Allen ill. Freya Blackwood, The Terrible Suitcase 
Honour Books Tania Cox ill. Karen Blair, With Nan  + Ursula Dubosarsky, ill. Andrew Joyner, Too Many Elephants in This House 

Picture Book of the Year, arranged by illustrator
(Some of these books may be for mature readers)
Winner Ron Brooks and Julie Hunt, The Coat 
Honour Books Gus Gordon, Herman and Rosie + Alison Lester, Sophie Scott Goes South

Eve Pownall Award for Information Books
Winner Kristin Weidenbach ill. Timothy Ide, Tom the Outback Mailman
Honour Books Jackie Kerin ill. Peter Gouldthorpe, Lyrebird! A True Story  + Kirsty Murray, Topsy-turvy World: How Australian Animals Puzzled Early Explorers.

So what do you think of the winners?Any surprises there? Any notable absences?

To my shame, I haven't read a single one of the winners this year, though there are a few on my bookshelf in my to-read pile, and I'm partway through Vikki Wakefield's Friday Brown at the moment. Some of my favourite Aussie writers and illustrators are represented here, though -- among them Margo Lanagan, Ron Brooks, Sonya Hartnett, Alison Lester, and Jackie French -- and I have no doubt that their stories will be amazing. There are a few names unfamiliar to me as well, which is exciting. New favourites to discover! I look forward to working my way through this list.

Which of these have you read? Which do you want to?


  1. The Terrible Suitcase, With Nan, and Too Many Elephants in This House are all adorable. I see a lot of the winners for the children's books since I am involved in a lot of library projects, so I get to know the books really well through all the activities we put together based on each book. I particularly liked The Terrible Suitcase, very cute.

    1. I can't wait to check them out myself. I love doing English units based on picture books so I'm looking forward to using these ones in lessons with my students. xx


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