Friday, August 20, 2010

2010 Australian Children's Book Council Awards Announced

The Children's Book Council Australia today announced the winners of its 2010 book of the year awards. This coincides with the start of Children's Book Week in Australia. 

The major awards have gone to:

Book of the Year for Older Readers - 'Jarvis 24' by David Metzenthen

Book of the Year for Younger Readers - 'Darius Bell And The Glitter Pool' by Odo Hirsch

Picture Book of the Year - 'The Hero Of Little Street' by Gregory Rogers

Early Childhood Book of the Year - 'Bear And Chook By The Sea' by Lisa Shanahan and Emma Quay

Eve Pownall award for Best Information Book - Australian Backyard Explorer by Peter Macinnis

The full list of all the winning and honoured books and some short reviews follows.

1. Older Readers (Mature readers, aged 12 plus)

a) Winner 

'Jarvis 24' by David Metzenthen (Penguin Group Australia)

Marc E. Jarvis lives a comfortable life in suburban Camberwell (Victoria). But suddenly life becomes complicated. Life is being crowded in by work experience at a used car yard, football training, and then a girl comes into his life. Electra, is gorgeous, as well as a brilliant runner. Probably out of his league, but why not give it a try. She arrives in Melbourne on a sports scholarship and sends Marc's life into a spin. Metzenthen has written a story rich in the strength of its characters. Urban teenagers will recognise the urban places, the life and the people that go with it. The story has a good balance of humour and emotional depth. It should be enjoyed by many teenagers.

b) Honour Books 
'The Winds of Heaven', by Judith Clarke

"An unforgettable and deeply moving story of two young women, and how their childhood experiences and the choices they make as teenagers determine their fates - told exquisitely by the acclaimed writer, Judith Clarke."

'A Small Free Kiss in the Dark', by Glenda Millard

"Two young boys, an old tramp, a beautiful lost dancer and her baby - rag-tag survivors of a sudden war - form a fragile family holding together in the remnants of a fun fair. This is a vivid, poetic story about life in the margins and the power of empathy and imagination to triumph over adversity."

2. Younger Readers (Independent readers, 7-11 years)

a) Winner

'Darius Bell And The Glitter Pool' by Odo Hirsch (Allen & Unwin)

The Bell family is in danger of losing their honourable name. Can Darius step up to the challenge and uphold it? 

"The Bell family's ancestors were showered with honours, gifts and grants of land. In exchange, they have bestowed a Gift, once every 25 years, on the town. The Gifts have ranged from a statue to a bell tower with stained-glass windows, but now it's Darius's father's turn - and there is no money for an impressive gift. It looks as though a wheelbarrow full of vegetables is the best they can do. Darius is determined to preserve the family honour, and when an earthquake reveals a glorious cave, with the most beautiful minerals lining the walls, he thinks he's found the answer..."

b) Honour Books

'Pearl Verses the World' by Sally Murphy (Walker Books)

Pearl is a girl of (perhaps) 6-8 years who is alone and left out of the many groups that she observes around her and which don't seem to see her. She laments, "wherever I am no one sees me".

A bright and creative child she struggles to write the verse that her teacher requests; verse that must rhyme. Why does a poem have to rhyme she muses? She lives at home with her mother and Granny. That's been her household for as long as she can remember. But Granny who has always been there for her is aging. As she reaches her last days Pearl finally finds inspiration to write a special poem, from the heart, 'taught' to her by her Granny that defies her teacher's ideas on poetry and opens her eyes to see Pearl at last. This is a beautiful story for young readers aged 6-8. Essentially a short novel it also has Heather Potter's delightful illustrations 'sprinkled' throughout. I love this book!

'Running with the Horses', by Alison Lester (Viking, Penguin Group Australia)

Young readers will love this beautifully illustrated classic story of adventure and friendship from one of our best author/illustrators.

"Ten-year-old Nina lives with her father above the palace stables at the Royal Academy of Dancing Horses.  She loves watching the famous white stallions as they parade for the crowds, but her favourite horse is an ordinary mare called Zelda - an old cab horse Nina often pats on her way home from school.

When Nina's world changes dramatically, she and her father have to flee from the city.  Their journey over the mountains with Zelda and the stallions seems impossible, with danger at every turn . . ."

3. Early Childhood (Pre-reading to early reading stage)

'Bear And Chook By The Sea' by Lisa Shanahan and Emma Quay (Lothian Children’s Books, Hachette)

"In a follow-up to the delightful Bear and Chook, the two lovable characters continue their adventures. Bear and Chook are unexpected friends. Bear still likes adventure and Chook would still much rather have the quiet life! One day they decide to go and visit the sea. Chook is worried that they don't know the way and will get lost, but Bear is confident they will find it just around the pond, under the bridge, through the forest and over the mountain! A wonderfully warm read-aloud story about the dreamers in life and those who wish they'd sometimes keep their feet more firmly on the ground."

b) Honour Book 

'Kip' (Windy Hollow Books) was written and illustrated by Christina Booth. Right from the time he emerged from the egg, Kip was going to be a special chick. When he grew to be a rooster, with a crow that could wake the dead, there was bound to be trouble. First Mr James was disturbed from his sleep - "Keep him quiet Mrs Bea"! Then Kip disturbs little Lucy Cooper's cup of tea in the garden. One by one the neighbours complain until Mrs Bea has to do it; she heads for the farm. You'll need to read the book to find out what happens to the neighbourhood in its life after Kip.  A wonderfully simple predictable text that is delightfully illustrated in a bright cartoon style. It will delight readers from preschool to 6 years of age. 

'Clancy & Millie and the Very Fine House' (Little Hare Books) is written by Libby Gleeson and illustrated by Freya Blackwood.  Clancy has just moved and is missing his old cosy and familiar home. He finds his new house much too big, different and lonely. It seems like he will never be able to feel like it is his home? And then one day Clancy hears a small voice from over the fence and soon, with the help of his new friend Millie, they are building box towers to the sky. Together Clancy and Millie build a friendship and a new 'home' that Clancy thought he had lost forever. Libby Gleeson is better known for her novels, but this is a an excellent story illustrated by a brilliant artist who looks set to be awarded one way or another in 2010.

4. Picture Book of the Year (Birth to 18 years)

a) Winner

'The Hero of Little Street' (Allen & Unwin) by Gregory Rogers is book three in the 'Boy Bear' series and follows the two previously highly acclaimed wordless picture books 'The Boy, the Bear, the Baron, the Bard' and 'Midsummer Knight'. The Boy escapes a gang of bullies by running into the perfect hiding place - a gallery filled with mystery and treasures. The Boy befriends a mischievous dog and is enchanted by the magic of painting. He finds himself venturing into the world of a Vermeer painting and is transported to Delft in seventeenth century. But there are many dangers on these old streets and he needs to use his wits to rescue his new friend from the butcher's chopping block. All three 'Boy' books are brilliant wordless tales in the same league as Raymond Brigg's 'When the Wind Blows'.  Readers of the first two Boy books will enjoy looking for the characters from the previous books as they follow this new time slip adventure.

b) Honour Books 

'Fox and Fine Feathers', by Narelle Oliver (Omnibus Books, Scholastic Australia)

"Lyrebird, Coucal, Pitta and Nightjar are ground birds of the Australian forest floor. Although as different from each other as it is possible to be, they always watch out for danger and warn each other to hide. One day, Lyrebird, Coucal and Pitta are preening and performing and forget to look out for wily Fox. Only Nightjar, with his patchy, dull feathers, is on watch for danger. Can he warn the others in time?" 

'Isabella's Garden', written by Glenda Millard and illustrated Rebecca Cool (Walker Books) 

"A lyrical picture book which explores the growth and continual change that goes on in Isabella's garden - the flourishing of plants; the coming and going of the animals, insects and seasons - beginning and ending with the seeds that 'slept in the soil all dark and deep'."

5. Eve Pownall Award for Information Book of the Year 2009 (Birth to 18 years)

a) Winner

'Australian Backyard Explorer' by Peter Macinnis (National Library of Australia)

"Australian Backyard Explorer tells the stories of many intrepid individuals who explored the Australian continent in the first 120 years of European settlement. It includes little-known explorers as well as the old favourites, such as James Cook, Edward John Eyre, Robert O'Hara Burke and William John Wills. There are tales not only of tragedy, conflict and death, but also of loyalty, amazing perseverance and wonder over the new animals and landscapes they encountered."

b) Honour Books 

'Maralinga', by the Yalata & Oak communities with Christobel Mattingley. In the words of the Indigenous people who are the traditional owners of Maralinga (a region used for atomic testing in the 1950s?),  "The Anangu Story is our story. We have told it for our children, our grandchildren and their children. We have told it for you."  In words and pictures Yalata and Oak Valley community members, with author Christobel Mattingley, describe what happened in the Maralinga Tjarutja lands of South Australia before the bombs and after. This is an important and tragic account of human folly and its consequence for a people who were there first, but whose needs counted for little.

'Polar Eyes: A Journey to Antarctica', written by Tanya Patrick and illustrated by Nicholas Hutcheson (CSIRO)

"Where do penguins go to dance? What is it like to sleep in an igloo? And have you ever wondered how ancient ice can be used as a time machine? Discover the answers and more in Polar Eyes, a new interactive children’s book about Antarctica from CSIRO. Polar Eyes illustrates author Tanya Patrick’s journey through the scenes and science of one of the most fascinating parts of the planet."

Related Posts

You can read my review of the complete Shortlist and Notable Books lists HERE

All previous posts on awards (HERE)


ally said...

Hi Trevor,
Remi and I were very disappointed that Tensy Farlow and the school for mislaid children by Jen Storer didn't win in it's category
It was an enjoyable and interesting read. We will have to check out the others.... they must be even better.
Ally <'v'>

Trevor Cairney said...

Hi Ally,

The standard was very high in the category. The winner and honour books are all very strong. I think you'll like the others too. There are so many good books that don't win (or even make the shortlist). That's why I do a post on the shortlist and also make sure that I mention the list of 100+ notable books each year.

Nice to hear from you.