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: Picture Book, Junior Fiction (the Wright Family Foundation Esther Glen Award), Young Adult Fiction, Non-Fiction (the Elsie Locke Award), Illustration (the Russell Clark Award) and te reo Māori (the Wright Family Foundation Te Kura Pounamu Award).
Up to 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 In addition, the judges will award a Best First Book prize of $2,000 to a previously unpublished author or illustrator.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. The 2021 winners were announced at a ceremony held at The National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa on Wednesday 11 August 2021.