2020 Awards

PICTURE BOOK AWARD

  • book

    Abigail and the Birth of the Sun

    Published by: Puffin, Penguin Random House

    Written by  Matthew Cunningham
    illustrated by Sarah Wilkins

    Written by Matthew Cunningham and illustrated by Sarah Wilkins

    Is it a book about science? Or magic? Or family? Yes, yes, and yes! This is a beautiful story about a curious child who goes on an adventure with her father to discover the origins of the universe. Abigail and the Birth of the Sun captures the child-like wonder of big questions and big possibilities. Swirling dream-like illustrations complement the text excellently and leave little treasures for the reader to discover.

  • book

    How Māui Slowed the Sun

    Published by: Upstart Press

    Written and illustrated by Donovan Bixley
    advised and translated by Darryn Joseph
    Keri Opai

    Written and illustrated by Donovan Bixley, advised and translated by Darryn Joseph and Keri Opai

    The familiar myth of how Māui slowed the sun is given a modern twist, with humour injected into this quintessential New Zealand story to lend it a new friendly and fun appeal. Donovan Bixley’s illustrations burst with life and colour, with vivid settings and characters that are detailed and full of personality, and an almost-cartoonish quality which is ultimately appealing and endearing.

  • book

    Mini Whinny: Goody Four Shoes

    Published by: Scholastic New Zealand

    Written by Stacy Gregg
    illustrated by Ruth Paul

    Written by Stacy Gregg and illustrated by Ruth Paul

    Mini Whinny may be grubby, petulant, and more than a little bit naughty, but we can all empathise with her jealousy over the new arrival at Blackthorn Stables. This gentle tale of envy, misperception and friendship is perfectly paced, with cliff-hangers on nearly every page and delightful dialogue and humour. The cute illustrations capture all Mini Whinny’s big emotions in a way that is sure to make readers of all ages smile.

  • book

    Santa's Worst Christmas

    Published by: Huia Publishers

    Written by Pania Tahau-Hodges
    Bryony Walker
    illustrated by Isobel Joy Te Aho-White

    Written by Pania Tahau-Hodges, Bryony Walker and illustrated by Isobel Joy Te Aho-White

    With some good old kiwi caring and ingenuity, an extended whānau saves the day for Santa and everyone else. Bursting with joy and packed with unique writing ideas — from hilarious letters to Santa to alarming newspaper articles — this book will appeal to both young readers and the more sophisticated Santa fans. The vivid illustrations are packed with detail, and are sure to lead to new laughs every time this book is read.

  • book

    The Gobbledegook Book

    Published by: Gecko Press

    Written by Joy Cowley
    illustrated by Giselle Clarkson

    Written by Joy Cowley and illustrated by Giselle Clarkson

    Some of Joy Cowley’s best short stories and poems for children are brought together in one artfully presented anthology. Giselle Clarkson’s energetic illustrations perfectly capture the hilarity, joy and spirit of Cowley’s unparalleled word painting, humour and playful rhymes. Beautifully designed and well selected, each piece feels like its own adventure. This fresh collection is sure to spark the creative juices of many future writers.

WRIGHT FAMILY FOUNDATION ESTHER GLEN AWARD FOR JUNIOR FICTION

  • book

    #Tumeke!

    Published by: Annual Ink, Massey University Press

    Written by Michael Petherick

    Written by Michael Petherick

    The Newtoun Community Waitangi Day Festival is going to take a lot of organising! Thankfully there are a host of memorable characters willing to help out. Who would have thought a library notice board could inspire innovation, friendship and romance — not to mention some sick beats? #Tumeke! is a multimedia surprise packed with poetry, lyrics, emails, emojis, illustrations and engaging storylines. A fresh, unique take on storytelling.

  • book

    Lizard's Tale

    Published by: Text Publishing

    Written by Weng Wai Chan

    Written by Weng Wai Chan

    Lizard’s Tale is a fast-paced story set in crowded, culturally diverse Singapore during World War Two. Lizard is a poor boy who is trying to track down a missing uncle. In the process he accidentally gets caught up in a dangerous world of espionage, covert missions, secret codes and daring escapes. Weng Wai Chan presents an exciting read packed with historical detail, nail-biting adventure and convincing characters.

  • book

    Moonlight the Unicorn's High Tea Hiccup

    Published by: Scholastic New Zealand

    Written by Sally Sutton

    Written by Sally Sutton and illustrated by Kirsten Richards

    When Sophia and Claire are invited to a high tea by the Honorary Great Aunties, they’re looking forward to a pleasant afternoon of triangle sandwiches, delicious savouries and fancy cakes. Unfortunately, the unexpected addition of six little horses turns the occasion into one big mess! Another delightful addition to Sally Sutton’s Miniwings stable, this is a funny story with charming illustrations, ideal for younger readers or as a read aloud.

  • book

    Prince of Ponies

    Published by: HarperCollins Publishers

    Written by Stacy Gregg

    Written by Stacy Gregg

    Mira, a refugee living in present day Berlin, discovers a spirited stallion owned by Zofia and yearns to ride him. Zofia offers to coach Mira, telling her own story of danger, escape and adventure during World War Two. Stacy Gregg combines historical fact and thrilling fiction in an unforgettable story about two girls brought together by the horrors of war, and the loyalty and love of magnificent horses.

  • book

    Time Machine and other stories

    Published by: Ahoy!, The Cuba Press

    Written by Melinda Szymanik

    Written by Melinda Szymanik

    This refreshing collection of short stories from Melinda Szymanik will engage a young reader’s attention and inspire further discussion. From everyday adventures to the wonderfully weird and fantastical, the diverse tales will take you on a journey of the unexpected. Monsters under the bed, lost dogs, pirate-ship shenanigans, and crocodile revenge — these are just some of the challenges the author’s characters face with bravery, intellect and luck.

YOUNG ADULT FICTION AWARD

  • book

    Afakasi Woman

    Published by: OneTree House

    Written by Lani Wendt Young

    Written by Lani Wendt Young

    Lani Wendt-Young tackles a wide range of challenging topics across this short story collection, in ways that will provoke much discussion among teenage readers. The writing is clean, bold and willing to play with moral ambiguity. This is a powerful and compelling read that, while uncomfortable at times, always focuses on putting the voice of Polynesian women front and centre, with evocative scene-setting throughout.

  • book

    Aspiring

    Published by: Annual Ink, Massey University Press

    Written by Damien Wilkins

    Written by Damien Wilkins

    Ricky is growing up too fast, in the most literal sense. The 6’7” 15-year-old from tourist trap Central Otago is handling school, work, basketball and a verbose perpetual internal monologue — all alongside the mysteries inherent in a town bursting at the seams with new arrivals. Damien Wilkins has a proven track record in the adult literary fiction space, and here he capably carries over his sophisticated but unpretentious style in a way that will appeal to teens and adults alike.

  • book

    The History Speech

    Published by: Huia Publishers

    Written by Mark Sweet

    Written by Mark Sweet

    A slice of Aotearoa Gothic for the young adult reader. In 1960s provincial New Zealand, Callum Gow is right on the divide between childhood and adulthood, and everything that entails. Clean and crisp writing allows plenty to happen between the lines. It doesn’t shy away from issues such as racism and child abuse, and is a deeply rewarding read for mature teens who can connect to Callum’s emotional journey and development.

  • book

    Ursa

    Published by: Walker Books Australia

    Written by Tina Shaw

    Written by Tina Shaw

    Tina Shaw’s page-turner is destined to appeal to fans of both dystopian and fantasy young adult fiction. She handles issues of class, power and privilege in a way that is both familiar and refreshing, making this a moving read for any teen looking for a new literary revolution to fire them up. ‘Cerel’ Leho’s befriending of upper echelon Emee is the catalyst for big change — and not just for the teens themselves.

  • book

    Wynter’s Thief

    Published by: OneTree House

    Written by Sherryl Jordan

    Written by Sherryl Jordan

    Outsiders Wynter and Fox are drawn together by chance, but their journey into a new shared future reveals secrets from their respective pasts, some so long dormant as to have been forgotten. This slice-of-medieval-life historical fiction has just the right twist of elemental magic, with a solid story that grows and swells in speed and significance as it goes along. Sherryl Jordan carefully walks the balance between evocative historical language and accessible, enriching descriptive writing.

ELSIE LOCKE AWARD FOR NON-FICTION

  • book

    Kuwi & Friends Māori Picture Dictionary

    Published by: Illustrated Publishing

    Written and illustrated by Kat Quin
    translated by Pānia Papa

    Written and illustrated by Kat Quin and translated by Pānia Papa

    Bright, fun and comprehensive, this te reo Māori/English picture dictionary matches its size with its content. There are over 1,000 definitions and pictures, covering everything from Feelings to Reptiles, from Creation Narratives to Family Trees. A great example of engaging, educational and family-friendly non-fiction, with its spacious pages and sweet, fun illustrations. Kuwi & Friends Māori Picture Dictionary is delightful and informative, and would take pride of place on any bookshelf.

  • book

    Mophead

    Published by: Auckland University Press

    Written by Selina Tusitala Marsh

    Written by Selina Tusitala Marsh

    Mophead is many things, and almost defies genre. Poet Selina Tusitala Marsh has produced an engaging, inspirational, aspirational autobiographical picture book that roams full and untamed, and will leave a powerful mark on all who read it. The result is visually unique and shows us we are not defined by ‘what’ we are, but ‘WHO’ we are. Mophead is, in equal measure, tart and delicious, a treat.

  • book

    Te Tiriti o Waitangi / The Treaty of Waitangi

    Published by: Lift Education

    Written by Ross Calman
    Mark Derby
    illustrated by Toby Morris
    translated by Piripi Walker

    Written by Ross Calman, Mark Derby, illustrated by Toby Morris and translated by Piripi Walker

    This reorua (bilingual) graphic-novel-style flip book presents important information in a visually appealing and engaging way. The text (in both English and te reo Māori) and illustrations work together to provide readers with a calm, balanced presentation of a complex part of our history. Timelines, Treaty definitions and links to the Treaty in 32 languages provide the young reader with further options to learn and explore.

  • book
    Written by Courtney Sina Meredith
    illustrated by Mat Tait

    Written by Courtney Sina Meredith and illustrated by Mat Tait

    The tale of Tahitian priest and navigator Tupaia is brought to life through Mat Tait’s powerful illustrations and thrilling storytelling from Courtney Sina Meredith — providing equal parts adventure and spiritual journey. This important book provides a vivid account of the voyage of Captain Cook’s Endeavour, and the ensuing clash of cultures, combining mysticism, imperialism and exploration in way that will be devoured by students and teachers alike.

  • book

    Three Kiwi Tales

    Published by: Massey University Press

    Written by Janet Hunt

    Written by Janet Hunt

    Janet Hunt takes readers along on the journeys of three kiwi at Palmerston North’s Wildbase Hospital — Raratoka, Piwi and Latitude. Readers are connected to the complex process of caring for kiwi, without ever getting mired in complicated jargon. It is inspirational to see the outstanding work that goes into saving our national bird, and the strong combination of science, history and narrative makes this an emotionally compelling read.

RUSSELL CLARK AWARD FOR ILLUSTRATION

  • book

    Dozer the Fire Cat

    Published by: Scholastic New Zealand

    Illustrated by Jenny Cooper

    Illustrated by Jenny Cooper

    Dozer is a characterful and very recognisably cat-like cat — with his fluffy-footed stalking of prey, sometimes inelegant washing techniques, and contortionist sleeping positions. A thoughtful approach to composition can be seen on each spread, with lots of white space used around vignettes of Dozer and his human family, and illustrations that exploit the properties of pencil and watercolour to create smoky, claustrophobic drama in the climax of the story.

  • book

    Santa's Worst Christmas

    Published by: Huia Publishers

    Illustrated by Isobel Joy Te Aho-White

    Illustrated by Isobel Joy Te Aho-White

    A fabulous representation of extended whānau (as well as Santa’s little green elves), with gorgeously composed, incredibly child-friendly illustrations. It would take from one Christmas to the next to exhaust all the details on each page — can you spot the koru on almost every page? How many different snacks can you count throughout the book? The result is joyous, hilarious and utterly charming.

  • book

    Song of the River

    Published by: Gecko Press

    Illustrated by Kimberly Andrews

    Illustrated by Kimberly Andrews

    Cam lives in the mountains and wishes he could see the sea. He sets out to see where a trickle of water leads, and follows it as it grows into a creek, a stream, and finally a river flowing into the sea. Kimberly Andrew’s detailed illustrations using muted, natural colours capture the magic of this journey, and allow readers to soar along with Cam towards the sea — weaving between trees, high above the forest or underwater with the frogs.

  • book
    Illustrated by Mat Tait

    Illustrated by Mat Tait

    The impacts on Pacific peoples of Tupaia’s journey with Captain Cook are sensitively explored in this large-format book. Careful use of point-of-view gives or takes power from the characters in different ways as we move through the story. The limited colour palette serves as a shortcut towards drama and emotional impact, while the pared-back illustrations are sophisticated, striking, dramatic and, ultimately, incredibly moving.

  • book

    Wildlife of Aotearoa

    Published by: Puffin, Penguin Random House

    Illustrated and written by Gavin Bishop

    Illustrated and written by Gavin Bishop

    This super-size book is full to the brim with lovingly rendered creatures of Aotearoa, in Gavin Bishop’s inimitable watercolour style. The backgrounds for each spread are stunning and depict different ecosystems, from wetlands to dark watery depths, and from night-time forest skies to cool, clear mountain air. The compositions strike a masterful balance between “poster” and movement. These are the type of wildlife illustrations children might be tempted to tear out of the book to Blu-Tack to their wall.

WRIGHT FAMILY FOUNDATION TE KURA POUNAMU AWARD FOR TE REO MĀORI

  • book

    Arapū Toi

    Published by: Baggage Books

    Written by Moira Wairama
    illustrated by Austin Whincup

    Written by Moira Wairama and illustrated by Austin Whincup

    Arapū Toi combines short, easy to understand, poems for all ages with artwork that epitomises the idea that “a picture is worth a thousand words”. Gentle rhythmic te reo Māori, with kupu that emphasise ideas of wellness, is used to describe the sights, sounds and feelings of everyday life — like a zip seizing up on a coat — alongside more poetic images such as the darkness or the night or a whale singing in the depths of the ocean.

  • book

    Ko Flit, te Tīrairaka, me ngā Hēki Muna

    Published by: Scholastic New Zealand

    Written and illustrated by Kat Quin
    translated by Ngaere Roberts

    Written and illustrated by Kat Quin and translated by Ngaere Roberts

    Bravery, suspense, friendship and love are all brought to life through the eyes of an adorable pēpi tīrairaka (baby fantail). Te reo Māori breathes naturally and rhythmically in this book, with chirpy repetition of sentences used to introduce new kupu and to reinforce ideas of connection, belonging, similarities and differences. Attractive, evocative illustrations allow readers to learn about native species and their homes, while also enjoying the flutter of a gentle adventure.

  • book

    Ngā Hoa Hoihoi o Kuwi

    Published by: Illustrated Publishing

    Written and illustrated by Kat Quin
    translated by Pānia Papa

    Written and illustrated by Kat Quin and translated by Pānia Papa

    Kuwi the kiwi wants a hot cup of kawakawa tea and some peace and quiet — but Huwi the kiwi chick and friends want to play LOUDLY, and so this energetic tale begins. Te reo Māori is used skilfully throughout, with witty adaptations to mimic sounds and situations, encouraging readers to become involved in the story. Items of Kiwiana are scattered throughout the illustrations, so that curious readers can search and make new discoveries in every story time.

  • book

    Te Kirihimete i Whakakorea

    Published by: Huia Publishers

    Written by Pania Tahau-Hodges
    Bryony Walker
    illustrated by Isobel Joy Te Aho-White
    translated by Kawata Teepa

    Written by Pania Tahau-Hodges, Bryony Walker, illustrated by Isobel Joy Te Aho-White and translated by Kawata Teepa

    Everyone is preparing for Christmas, when Santa suddenly announces that it is cancelled. Santa has had so many disasters in the last year that he’s had enough, and the elves can’t get him to change his mind. But the children of Aotearoa come to the rescue with a plan, and some amazing gadgets, and Santa is able to get back on track, and Christmas is back on. Beautifully illustrated and cleverly translated to rhyme, this picture book is rooted firmly in Aotearoa.

  • book

    Tio Tiamu

    Published by: Huia Publishers

    Written by Kurahau
    illustrated by Laya Mutton-Rogers

    Written by Kurahau and illustrated by Laya Mutton-Rogers

    Smelly feet, that’s the giant Tio Tiamu’s big problem. His people don’t want to be around him, and they tease him. However Tio Tiamu is kind hearted, and despite the way they have treated him, he continues to help his people. Then one day something amazing happens. This ageless and weighty story deals with universal themes such as the mauri of relationships, but also embodies Māori concepts of manaaki tangata, kindness and forgiveness.

BEST FIRST BOOK AWARD

  • book

    #Tumeke!

    Published by: Annual Ink, Massey University Press

    Written by Michael Petherick

    Written by Michael Petherick

    This book will be unlike anything you’ve picked up before. It’s a frenetic story made up of all kinds of different scrappy tales told through emails and messages, community notice boards and school projects. D’Flock, Constable Piripi, Monty ... the characters are as diverse as the community that Newtoun School serves, and the humour hits on a variety of levels, making this debut offering a treat for readers of a range of ages.

  • book

    Lizard's Tale

    Published by: Text Publishing

    Written by Weng Wai Chan

    Written by Weng Wai Chan

    This vibrant, action-packed junior fiction story brings a freshness to the ‘war stories’ genre. Through the eyes of Lizard and Lili, readers experience Singapore while the nation is on the cusp of World War Two reaching its shores. There’s espionage, dastardly grown-ups and cunning kids and an incredibly well fleshed out and culturally rich setting. Readers will be left hungry for more stories about Lizard’s adventures from this first-time author, and for curry puffs!

  • book

    Santa's Worst Christmas

    Published by: Huia Publishers

    Illustrated by Isobel Joy Te Aho-White

    Illustrated by Isobel Joy Te Aho-White

    There is a brilliant richness in texture to the illustrations in this book, with all kinds of details and layers that will keep kids of all ages coming back to look over it time and time again — whether it’s the festive season or not! Full of quirky charm and an inclusive cast of characters, this is a treat for all whānau members to pore over and enjoy the occasional more subversive visual gag.

  • book

    The Day the Plants Fought Back

    Published by: Scholastic New Zealand

    Written by Belinda O'Keefe

    Written by Belinda O'Keefe

    It’s not every first-time author who can handle the jandal of creating a quality rhyming story, but this book is a pleasure to read aloud for just that reason. With a plot that packs in plenty of exciting shenanigans and a big climax before an age-appropriate resolution — not to mention a touch of magic and two very relatable main characters — this is a whole lot of fun for young readers and their grown-ups.

  • book

    The Smelly Giant

    Published by: Huia Publishers

    Illustrated by Laya Mutton-Rogers

    Illustrated by Laya Mutton-Rogers

    From the moment you pick it up, this tale of a kindly giant with smelly feet feels like a very special book, and the evocative aesthetic of the illustrations are a huge part of that appeal. A carefully considered, limited colour palette helps evoke a strong emotional response, while the pared-back, modern look and feel of the book indicate that Laya Mutton-Rogers is riding high on the crest of a new wave of children’s book illustrators from Aotearoa.