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.
Margaret Mahy Book of the Year
PICTURE BOOK AWARD
That’s Not a Hippopotamus!
Published by: Gecko Press
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
My New Zealand Story: Bastion Point
Published by: Scholastic New Zealand
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!
COPYRIGHT LICENSING NZ AWARD FOR YOUNG ADULT FICTION
The Severed Land
Published by: Penguin, Penguin Random House
Maurice Gee returns in fine form with The Severed Land, which follows Fliss, an escaped slave girl whose quest is to rescue the Nightingale, who will preserve The Wall for the future as the Old Ones die out. From the start, the judges knew they were in good hands, as Maurice Gee’s elegant writing carries us along on an epic and archetypal adventure of warring families, colonialism, mysterious strangers, and making allies out of enemies. It’s a short novel for a fantasy, and not a word is wasted in this taut, thrilling, often brutal and morally complex tale.
ELSIE LOCKE AWARD FOR NON-FICTION
Jack and Charlie: Boys of the Bush
Published by: Puffin, Penguin Random House
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
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
Te Kaihanga Māpere
Published by: Huia Publishers
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
The Discombobulated Life of Summer Rain
Published by: Submarine, Mākaro Press
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.