About the Awards
These awards are a unique celebration of the contribution New Zealand’s children’s authors and illustrators make to building national identity and cultural heritage.
Awards in the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults are made in six categories: Young Adult Fiction, Junior Fiction (the Esther Glen Award), Non-Fiction (the Elsie Locke Award), Picture Book, Illustration (the Russell Clark Award) and Te Kura Pounamu Award (for books entirely written in te reo Māori).
Five finalists are selected for each category, and from these a category winner is selected. All awards carry prize money of $7,500. In addition, the judges may decide to award a best first book prize of $2,000 to a previously unpublished author or illustrator. The overall prize, the Margaret Mahy Book of the Year award, carries a prize of $7,500.
The awards are judged by a panel of five. Te Kura Pounamu is judged by a separate panel of judges.
At the same time, a major nationwide Reading Challenge, sponsored by HELL Pizza, encourages children to read.
A shortlist is announced in June each year, and the awards event is held in August of the same year.