2017 Awards

Margaret Mahy Book of the Year

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    Snark: Being a true history …

    Published by: Otago University Press

    Illustrated and written (after Lewis Carroll) by David Elliot

    Illustrated and written (after Lewis Carroll) by David Elliot

    This year’s Margaret Mahy Book of the Year winner combines rich imagery with compelling storytelling that will draw readers into the world of Lewis Carroll’s poetry as never before. Snark is a dynamic piece of work which will have value many years from now. It is obviously the result of a labour of love. David Elliot’s clear wit pervades his sketches and his draughtsmanship is outstanding, however the cohesive way he has combined all the elements of this book was what won the judges over. Elliot’s twist on the nonsense poems is unique, and offers everything the reader could want – mystery, adventure and intrigue, all spectacularly wrapped up in a creative package that will enthral the whole family.

Category Winners

PICTURE BOOK AWARD

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    That’s Not a Hippopotamus!

    Published by: Gecko Press

    Written by Juliette MacIver
    illustrated by Sarah Davis

    Written by Juliette MacIver and illustrated by Sarah Davis

    From beginning to end, this rambunctious picture book does not miss a beat. A class of young children goes to a safari park that claims to have all of the animals in the world: but where has that hippopotamus gone? The potential to become a classroom classic drew the judges to this book. Our saviour Liam is an overlooked quiet kid, who is lauded a hero ... once everybody listens to him! The illustrations are complex and clever, but what made this book really stand out for judges were the diverse cultures depicted in the illustrations. Finally, we have worked out what a classroom in modern New Zealand looks like!

ESTHER GLEN AWARD FOR JUNIOR FICTION

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    My New Zealand Story: Bastion Point

    Published by: Scholastic New Zealand

    Written by Tania Roxborogh

    Written by Tania Roxborogh

    The voice of a diary, especially when that of a child, can be a potent device. Written as fiction, it requires a deft and sensitive touch. Tania Roxborogh applies that touch in this book. 1970s race relations in Aotearoa are revealed to the reader through the eyes and heart of a young Māori girl worried about her pony, and wondering what is wrong with the grown-up world around her. Here the true craft, bravery and skill of Roxborogh’s writing is revealed: we can wonder with her. Through the day-to-day insights and concerns of ten-year-old Erica, the reader is able to experience the parallel story of one of the most contentious periods in our recent history. Ka pai te mahi!

ELSIE LOCKE AWARD FOR NON-FICTION

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    Jack and Charlie: Boys of the Bush

    Published by: Puffin, Penguin Random House

    Written by Jack Marcotte
    Josh James Marcotte

    Written by Jack Marcotte and Josh James Marcotte

    Jack and Charlie: Boys of the Bush is as an astute and original exploration of children’s interactions with the environment. It provides vivid insights, from a child’s perspective, into the daily rhythms of life on the remote West Coast of the South Island. The narrative offers detailed observations laced with humour. The narrator’s voice has agency, making it easy to connect with Jack’s passions and learn from the overlays of information on the topic. The exceptionally vivid photography invites high levels of engagement and scrutiny. This book is a fine example of a non-fiction text that has cohesion, charm, and a capacity to captivate both children and older reader.

RUSSELL CLARK AWARD FOR ILLUSTRATION

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    Snark: Being a true history …

    Published by: Otago University Press

    Illustrated and written (after Lewis Carroll) by David Elliot

    Illustrated and written (after Lewis Carroll) by David Elliot

    David Elliot brings all his considerable talent, experience and passion for his art to the drawing board for this stand out book. High production values and careful design and typography considerations enhance what seems to have been a labour of love, with Elliot’s ‘sketchy’ finished-unfinished style at the fore and entirely appropriate to the subject. The whimsy of Lewis Carroll is delightfully fraught and fruitful terrain, a trap for young players perhaps, but seemingly a pleasure to Elliot, who revels in the scope afforded his abilities both as an artist, a technician, and a writer. Old school sensitivities perhaps, but that’s where the new school learnt its trade.

TE KURA POUNAMU AWARD FOR TE REO MĀORI

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    Te Kaihanga Māpere

    Published by: Huia Publishers

    Written by Sacha Cotter
    translated by Kawata Teepa
    illustrated by Josh Morgan

    Written by Sacha Cotter, translated by Kawata Teepa and illustrated by Josh Morgan

    Drawing readers in with its vibrant cover, Te Kaihanga Māpere invites us into the mind of a young, inquisitive and trendy kōtiro set on inventing her first marble. The use of fresh, colourful illustrations paired with imaginative language allows the story to flow, making it easy for younger readers to enjoy. Above other entries, Te Kura Pounamu judges felt this book stood out not only for the excellent quality of Māori language translations, but also for an inspiring storyline, which celebrates a favourite Kiwi pastime and encourages young readers to follow their dreams and persevere in all they do.

Best First Book

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    The Discombobulated Life of Summer Rain

    Published by: Submarine, Mākaro Press

    Written by Julie Lamb

    Written by Julie Lamb

    Twelve year old Summer Rain’s life is complicated: she lives during the week with her kooky, tight-fisted granddad, and spends weekends with her well-meaning, ineffectual dad. Her relationship with her granddad forms the core of this delightfully wacky story, complete with chicken scraps, gold diggers and wheelie shoppers. The limitless boundaries of friendship and family are explored, and the plot is expertly woven. Julie Lamb has given us a distinctly Kiwi take on the adolescent travails of a young girl growing up in a somewhat eccentric small town. The Discombobulated Life of Summer Rain marks the beginning of what the judges hope will be a long career in children’s writing.