2019 Awards

PICTURE BOOK AWARD

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    Mini Whinny: Happy Birthday to Me

    Published by: Scholastic New Zealand

    Written by Stacy Gregg
    illustrated by Ruth Paul

    Written by Stacy Gregg and illustrated by Ruth Paul

    A gentle tale about a little pony who is unhappy about sharing her birthday with all the other horses. Superb production and a muted colour palette give this book a classic and child-friendly appeal. Any child who has ever had to share their birthday will completely understand Mini’s behaviour — and ultimately her regret. The wonderful resolution and energetic ending keep this story upbeat and celebratory.

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    Puffin the Architect

    Published by: Puffin, Penguin Random House

    Written and illustrated by Kimberly Andrews

    Written and illustrated by Kimberly Andrews

    An architect takes on the toughest clients yet in this clever story, full of warmth and gentle surprise. Luminous and detailed illustrations reveal cross-sections of each animal’s house, and encourage exploration. The rhythm and rhyme are impeccable, with a refrain listing the essential requirements for the perfect home — readers are left in no doubt that friends and family are the most important ingredients.

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    The Bomb

    Published by: Huia Publishers

    Written by Sacha Cotter
    illustrated by Josh Morgan

    Written by Sacha Cotter and illustrated by Josh Morgan

    Set firmly in Aotearoa, this summery, exuberant tale will resonate with any child who has ever tried to do something that scares them. The detailed, artful illustrations are as joyous and assured as the story they capture. The unwavering love and encouragement of the child’s Nan illuminates a strong and convincing message about being yourself and having the courage to do things in your own way.

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    Things in the Sea are Touching Me

    Published by: Scholastic New Zealand

    Written by Linda Jane Keegan
    illustrated by Minky Stapleton

    Written by Linda Jane Keegan and illustrated by Minky Stapleton

    A deceptively simple warm family story about swimming in the sea, which interweaves themes of natural science, courage, love and rainbow families with a delightfully light-handed approach. The child calls to her ma every time something touches her as she swims. Ma helps educate and reassure her about the wildlife in the ocean. The design and rhythm of the text are surprisingly complex, while also vibrant and child focused.

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    Who Stole the Rainbow?

    Published by: Puffin, Penguin Random House

    Written and illustrated by Vasanti Unka

    Written and illustrated by Vasanti Unka

    Inspector Beagle is called in to solve the mystery of the missing rainbow. Fluorescent, modern illustrations interact perfectly with a quirky, witty storyline. Fold-out pages, engaging fonts and design details make this a book that children will be drawn to — and the rainbow explanation will have them learning without even realising it. Thoroughly original, whimsical and entertaining.

WRIGHT FAMILY FOUNDATION ESTHER GLEN AWARD FOR JUNIOR FICTION

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    Search for a Kiwi Killer

    Published by: Tōrea Press

    Written by Des Hunt

    Written by Des Hunt

    A tightly written mystery set in a Northland forest, where a dog has been killing kiwis. Tom has rescued an injured dog and is set on proving its innocence — but there are multiple dog suspects in this clever reframing of the page-turner detective genre. This unputdownable novel captures our landscape and genuine characters, keeping the reader captivated through to the dramatic conclusion.

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    The Dog Runner

    Published by: Allen & Unwin

    Written by Bren MacDibble

    Written by Bren MacDibble

    Be transported to a convincingly rendered dystopian future in which all grasses have been destroyed. The only real chance of survival for Ella and her half-brother Ellery is to leave the city and travel with their magnificent doggos by dogcart, across the wilderness to Ellery’s family farm — and hope. Danger is everywhere, food and water scarce. Resilience and resourcefulness are essential in this enthralling, fast-paced ecological drama.

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    The Mapmakers’ Race

    Published by: Gecko Press

    Written by Eirlys Hunter
    illustrated by Kirsten Slade

    Written by Eirlys Hunter and illustrated by Kirsten Slade

    Join the race as four children, their parrot and a friend compete against adult teams to map a route for the railway through a fantasy American wilderness from one town to another, with a big prize at stake. They have individual talents and flaws, so teamwork is essential if they are to survive. A classic adventure, delicate maps and vivid language will captivate young readers in this beautifully produced novel.

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    The Telegram

    Published by: Pipi Press

    Written by Philippa Werry

    Written by Philippa Werry

    A historical tale set during WW1 in small-town New Zealand, where Beatrice, age 14, must leave school to become a telegram girl. Beaty demonstrates the strength of the everyday hero — as a worker, reader, friend, teacher and nurse. Readers will be drawn in by the attention to detail of time and place, and by the compassion and determination of the main character. The skilful writing balances plot and character at a perfect pace for intermediate readers.

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    Whetū Toa and the Magician

    Published by: Huia Publishers

    Written by Steph Matuku
    illustrated by Katharine Hall

    Written by Steph Matuku and illustrated by Katharine Hall

    When Whetū’s mother becomes the manager of a magician’s home and farm, the bold and imaginative Whetū takes on the care of a strange miscellany of animals, including the magician’s assistant, Errant the rabbit, whose disastrous spells have produced a carnivorous lamb. Resourcefulness and persuasion win the day, with the essential ingredients of magic and cunning thrown in. A delightfully off-beat tale for young readers or to read aloud.

YOUNG ADULT FICTION AWARD

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    Ash Arising

    Published by: Penguin, Penguin Random House

    Written by Mandy Hager

    Written by Mandy Hager

    Fearless Ash McCarthy is hiding from corrupt political forces, unable to trust those in authority. Rather than running away from trouble, he heads straight to the heart of danger to get his message out to the world. Ash’s courage and compassion remind us that we must do all that we can to uphold integrity and honour for others. This heart-stopping political thriller bursts out of the gate at break-neck speed and doesn’t stop until the final page.

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    Children of the Furnace

    Published by: CP Books, The Copy Press

    Written by Brin Murray

    Written by Brin Murray

    Wil is captured by the Revelayshun and press-ganged into a community of young people who must undo the havoc wreaked upon the earth by ‘Heaters’. Resilience and wit are needed to fight against injustice and cruelty in a world that is an imagining of where climate change could lead. This is an exciting story with a complex, sustained narrative voice and a rhythm of language that is original, and offers magic and poetry.

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    Invisibly Breathing

    Published by: Penguin, Penguin Random House

    Written by Eileen Merriman

    Written by Eileen Merriman

    Felix and Hunter come from different backgrounds but that doesn’t get in the way of their natural attraction. They just need to deal to the myriad obstacles which mar their blossoming relationship. The two narrative voices are distinct and sympathetic; their thoughts and interactions realistic and engaging. Their stories reveal the implications of issues that make life challenging and, for one of our narrators, threatening.

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    Legacy

    Published by: Huia Publishers

    Written by Whiti Hereaka

    Written by Whiti Hereaka

    Riki wakes after an accident to find he’s gone back a century. He is mistaken for his great-grandfather, who happens to be a soldier in the middle of Egypt during WW1 — a long way from present-day Wellington and his girlfriend. The convincing characterisation and scene setting help readers understand the moral complexities and challenges of life as a Māori soldier during the WW1 campaigns.

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    The Rift

    Published by: Walker Books Australia

    Written by Rachael Craw

    Written by Rachael Craw

    Meg Archer returns to Black Water Island, where she reconnects with her childhood friend, outsider Cal West, who carries the scars and powers ‘earned’ the last time they were together. They must face the consequences of their past actions while working to protect the Old Herd from the evil threatening to break through The Rift. Poetic world-building and a thrilling action-packed dual narrative make this compulsive reading.

ELSIE LOCKE AWARD FOR NON-FICTION

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    Written by Sarah Pepperle

    Written by Sarah Pepperle

    The meanings and methods behind iconic works in the Christchurch Art Gallery collection are uncovered, using dazzling design features that are instantly engaging. This book shows how art can touch us at every level, from cultural to emotional, and it’s all done with a madly ‘art-rageous’ sense of humour. A highly interactive book which connects young people with art and encourages readers to try out the art techniques.

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    Go Girl: A Storybook of Epic NZ Women

    Published by: Puffin, Penguin Random House

    Written by Barbara Else

    Written by Barbara Else

    This book’s beautifully illustrated, inspiring stories about successful New Zealand women cover a diverse range of skills, sports, arts, cultures, and activism, and there are exploits here to excite all children, regardless of gender. The bite-sized biographies are engaging and skilfully highlight the determination these women showed in their struggle to achieve a goal or to stay true to themselves. The portraits by top New Zealand illustrators are equally dynamic.

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    Ko Mauao te Maunga: Legend of Mauao

    Published by: Mauao Publishing

    Written by Debbie McCauley
    illustrated by Debbie Tipuna
    translated by Tamati Waaka

    Written by Debbie McCauley, illustrated by Debbie Tipuna and translated by Tamati Waaka

    A story of a sacred mountain, revealing the powerful connections between Māori myth, landscape and history. This is a legend of heartbreak and compassion, with bold illustrations that express the personality of the landforms. Bilingual text and an in-depth appendix add further layers to the mythology, making this a valuable resource for schools. A rewarding tribute to one of our most notable cultural and environmental sites.

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    New Zealand’s Backyard Beasts

    Published by: Potton & Burton

    Written and illustrated by Ned Barraud

    Written and illustrated by Ned Barraud

    This book reveals a fascinating world of tiny creatures that are often overlooked, yet essential to life. Bees, beetles, butterflies and every other backyard arthropod are illuminated in the richly-textured illustrations, which entice readers more than photos ever could. The spacious design displays the creatures’ details to full effect. Science notes contain plenty of surprises and are perfectly pitched for children.

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    Whose Home is This?

    Published by: Potton & Burton

    Written by Gillian Candler
    Illustrated by Fraser Williamson

    Written by Gillian Candler and Illustrated by Fraser Williamson

    A guessing game that brings ecology alive for younger readers. The gorgeous illustrations of native animals give equal weight to their surrounding habitat — a reminder of the wider importance of our plants and waterways. Scenes are nicely mysterious and the book’s cosy size is perfect for little hands. The well-chosen words make the science accessible while remaining accurate.

RUSSELL CLARK AWARD FOR ILLUSTRATION

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    Cook’s Cook: The Cook who Cooked for Captain Cook

    Published by: Gecko Press

    Illustrated and written by Gavin Bishop

    Illustrated and written by Gavin Bishop

    A semi-fictionalised account of Captain Cook’s journey across the Pacific, narrated by his cook from backstage. Symbols abound and the muted palette has been chosen with utmost care, with colour cleverly highlighting important visual details. Plants and animals position the reader geographically as the cook eyes them up as a possible next meal. The compositions are complex and well handled, and the hand lettering adds to the book’s historic tone.

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    Helen and the Go-Go Ninjas

    Published by: Penguin, Penguin Random House

    Illustrated by Ant Sang

    Illustrated by Ant Sang

    The illustrations shine in this eco-dystopian time-travel graphic novel. Emotion and action are tackled with equal skill. The characters’ eyes show their torment, concern and anger about the future of the planet and each other, while the pacing of the high-action sequences gets the reader’s blood pumping. Depictions of characters are diverse and inclusive, colours are highly emotive, and settings are sparse and unique. The overall effect is urgent, filmic and worryingly familiar.

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    Oink

    Published by: Gecko Press

    Illustrated and written by David Elliot

    Illustrated and written by David Elliot

    In this near-wordless story, a pig’s plan for a relaxing soak in the tub is thwarted by his friends-with-boundary-issues. Lightly sketched lines and fluidly applied watercolours add to the watery sense of fun. The colours are soft and understated, and the composition builds perfectly as the story grows more crowded. The masterful illustrations are brimming with so much character that even the bath tap has personality.

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    Puffin the Architect

    Published by: Puffin, Penguin Random House

    Illustrated and written by Kimberly Andrews

    Illustrated and written by Kimberly Andrews

    Oversized pages immerse the reader in this story of a puffin-architect trying to satisfy two very fussy clients. The detailed cross-sections of different kinds of houses are irresistible and cleverly managed, with excellent use of texture, varying focal points and perspective. The colours are muted and warm, and the use of light makes the pages glow. This art is thoroughly modern, but has the feel of a classic.

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    The Bomb

    Published by: Huia Publishers

    Illustrated by Josh Morgan

    Illustrated by Josh Morgan

    The story of a boy who comes out of his shell is reinforced at every turn by illustrations that explode with humour and empathy. Compositions are highly energetic, colours are rich, there is movement, expression and layers of detail. You could throw a dart and always hit something that encapsulates New Zealand. While artistically excellent and entirely assured, the illustrations have been created with children firmly and unapologetically in mind.

WRIGHT FAMILY FOUNDATION TE KURA POUNAMU AWARD FOR TE REO MĀORI

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    Ngā Whetū Matariki i Whānakotia

    Published by: Scholastic New Zealand

    Written by Miriama Kamo
    translated by Ngaere Roberts
    illustrated by Zak Waipara

    Written by Miriama Kamo, translated by Ngaere Roberts and illustrated by Zak Waipara

    While spending Matariki season in Te Mata Hāpuku, Te Rerehua, Sam and Grandma filter countless grey stones through the pōhatu tātaikore, searching for akete agate, which shines like a star. One mysterious night, while Pōua gaffs for tuna, the patupaiarehe appear. He rawe tēnei pakiwaitara enhanced in Kāi Tahu dialect accentuates a whānau storytelling adventure, with te reo highlighted and reinforced by beautiful illustrations.

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    Te Haka a Tānerore

    Published by: Mauri Tū

    Written by Reina Kahukiwa
     translated by Kiwa Hammond
    illustrated by Robyn Kahukiwa

    Written by Reina Kahukiwa, translated by Kiwa Hammond and illustrated by Robyn Kahukiwa

    Legend says Tamanuiterā (sun) and Hine Raumati (summer maiden) had a son named Tānerore. On scorching hot days, the mother and son haka to the sun from the parched earth. As they do this, their hands shake vigorously, reflecting the heatwaves that shimmer between Papatūānuku and Ranginui. ‘Ko te reo te mauri o te mana Māori’ shines through in this ancient pūrākau and is creatively intensified by stunning original artwork.

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    Te Hīnga Ake a Māui i Te Ika Whenua

    Published by: Upstart Press

    Written and illustrated by Donovan Bixley
    translated by Darryn Joseph (cultural adviser)
    Keri Opai

    Written and illustrated by Donovan Bixley, translated by Darryn Joseph (cultural adviser) and Keri Opai

    Did you hear the story about four brothers living in Hawaiki: Māui Roto, Māui Taha, Māui Mua and Māui Pae? They wanted to go fishing, but definitely did not want to tell their mischievous annoying younger brother, Māui Tikitiki-a-Taranga. Ka mau te wehi — traditional and modern reo are effortlessly combined, using repetition of sentence structures, and the story is positively supported by the illustrations.

BEST FIRST BOOK AWARD

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    Written by Sarah Pepperle

    Written by Sarah Pepperle

    Casual, irreverent, laugh-out-loud writing means knowledge slips in almost unnoticed. Readers will have loads of fun among the jokes and seemingly random diversions, and before they know it time will have flown by, the book will have been devoured and they will be left with two things: a huge insight into contemporary art, and a new understanding of their own capacity for creativity.

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    Bullseye Bella

    Published by: Scholastic New Zealand

    Written by James T Guthrie

    Written by James T Guthrie

    With a shy but determined female protagonist, this junior novel is utterly charming. Through an unlikely but logical series of events, 12-year-old Bella finds herself rising through the ranks of competitive darts, an ‘old boys’ club that feels threatened by the quiet new talent. The melting-pot of characters and the unique portrayal of a realistic modern family make this a story that grabs the reader by the heartstrings while tickling their funny bone, too.

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    Children of the Furnace

    Published by: CP Books, The Copy Press

    Written by Brin Murray

    Written by Brin Murray

    There is a stunning musicality in the language of this dark, compelling YA novel set post-climate change catastrophe, as the planet and its people begin to rebuild into something new. The voice is entirely unique and the reader cares deeply for the characters, especially 14-year-old Wil, who is flawed, naïve and fierce, but also brave and kind. Relationships are complex, and the action is nail-biting and unpredictable.

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    Slice of Heaven

    Published by: Submarine, Mākaro Press

    Written by Des O’Leary

    Written by Des O’Leary

    This funny, moving and thoroughly realistic teen novel teems with the colourful variety of life that is South Auckland. A complex group of boys is thrown together in detention. When they join the school’s junior softball team, it’s the perfect set-up for the ensuing clash of cultures and personalities, insights into the boys’ lives, and the chance for some unlikely bonding and personal growth.

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    The Stolen Stars of Matariki

    Published by: Scholastic New Zealand

    Written by Miriama Kamo
    illustrated by Zak Waipara

    Written by Miriama Kamo and illustrated by Zak Waipara

    On one level, this is a universal story of two kids going to stay with their grandparents and the fun they have together, but it’s also an important addition to the canon of Matariki stories for children. The language is rich and evocative, with a wide vocabulary incorporating both English and te reo Māori. Te ao Māori is woven through everything, as it is throughout the lives and language of many New Zealand children.