Monday, August 20, 2018

Children's Literature CBCA Award Winners 2018

The Children’s Book Council of Australia announced the 2018 CBCA Book of the Year Awards on Friday 17th August. Each year across Australia, the CBCA brings children, teachers, families and books together to celebrate CBCA Book Week. Generally, Book Week commences the day after the awards are announced. The theme in 2018 is 'Find Your Treasure'.

The awards given in six categories. This post has descriptions of all winners and honour books.

1. Picture Book of the Year

Entries in this category should be outstanding picture books in which the author and illustrator achieve artistic and literary unity or, in wordless picture books, where the story, theme or concept is unified through illustrations. Ages 0-18 years [NB: this wide age range reflects the fact that picture books can be enjoyed at many levels. As well, at times picture books are written for older readers and include mature adult concepts and themes]


'A Walk in the Bush', by Gwyn Perkins (Affirm Press)

Little Iggy doesn’t want to leave the house, but Grandad insists – they always have fun together.

What follows is a wonderful journey in the great Australian outdoors with singing birds, wallaby surprises, secret caterpillar messages and oodles of grandad humour.

Here is a story about the wonders of nature, the funny side of life and spending time with the ones we love.

This is a wonderful picture book from a new entrant to the field.

Honour Books

'The Great Rabbit Chase' by Freya Blackwood (Scholastic)

Gumboots is a soft and beautiful pet rabbit. He has very sharp claws for scratching and very strong teeth for chewing. But what he does best is . . . escape. Everyone joins in on the great rabbit chase. A story that celebrates what it means to live in a community and a reminder that life is full of surprises.

Freya Blackwood is a well-known illustrator of many wonderful acclaimed books. This stunning book has been both written and illustrated by Freya.

'Mopoke' by Philip Bunting (Omnibus Books)

Philip Bunting has written a number of special picture books for young readers. 'Mopoke' will not disappoint. In Philip's words:

‘Mopoke’ is the Australian nickname for the Southern Boobook, our smallest and most common species of owl. They are known for a love of peace and quiet, and their eponymous “mo-poke” call.

My first picture book tells the story of one little owl’s struggle to find peace. With a deliberately dry and clipped tone, Mopoke is designed to sound like Australian banter, channel the look of a Glenn Murcutt house, and feel as warm as a midsummer night out in the bush.

2. The Eve Pownell Award 

Entries in this category should be books which have the prime intention of documenting factual material with consideration given to imaginative presentation, interpretation and variation of style.
Ages 0-18 years


'Do Not Lick this Book' by Idan Ben-Barak. Illustrated by Julian Frost (Allen & Unwin)

Min is a microbe. She is small. Very small. In fact, so small that you'd need to look through a microscope to see her. Or you can simply open this book and take Min on an adventure to amazing places she's never seen before—like the icy glaciers of your tooth or the twisted, tangled jungle that is your shirt. The perfect book for anyone who wants to take a closer look at the world.

Honour Books

'Left & Right' by Lorna Hendry (Wild Dog Books)

Left and right are all around us. From our hands and feet to our eyes and ears, the notion of left and right is inescapable. Left and right control how we travel and play sport, and even how we eat. The vast extent of how this deceptively simple subject shapes our lives is revealed in the Left And Right book!

'Koala' by Claire Saxby. Illustrated by Julie Vivas (Walker Books Australia)

When a young male koala outgrows his mother's pouch, it's time to find a new home for himself — braving perils and adventures along the way.

In a high tree fork, a grey ball unfurls. Koala seeks his mother's milk, but for the first time, she won't let him into her pouch. It's time for Koala to make his own way in the world. Rival koalas, fierce storms, and frightening snakes force Koala to keep moving — until he finds a safe place to call his own. 

This is a wonderful book from a great Australian author and a legendary illustrator. 

At one level, this a wonderful story about a young koala growing up in the world. However, at the same time readers can learn a lot about this rare marsupial. A wonderful book for readers (or 'listeners') aged 4-7 years.

3. Early Childhood

Entries in this category may be fiction, drama or poetry and should be appropriate in style and content for children who are at the prereading or early stages of reading. Ages 0-7 years


'Rodney Loses It!' by Michael Gerard Bauer. Illustrated by Chrissie Krebs (Omnibus)

Rodney was a rabbit who loved nothing more than drawing. He never found it tiresome, tedious or boring. But then one day, disaster struck, the one thing Rodney feared, while working at his drawing desk his pen just...DISAPPEARED! A truly hysterical search for a missing pen, by award-winning author Michael Gerard Bauer.

Honour Books

'The Very Noisy Baby' by Alison Lester (Affirm Press)
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Here is the story of a very noisy baby. She could bellow like a buffalo, And roar like a lion, And howl like a wolf for a very long time.

The baby loves to make all kinds of sounds. She's really very loud. But when some animals in the town go missing, can the very noisy baby help? Find out in this wonderfully boisterous story, full of action, fun (and noise!).

Alison Lester is one of Australia's most accomplished and popular writer/illustrators who has been awarded many prizes. Fans will love this book.

'Hark, It's Me, Ruby Lee!' by Lisa Shanahan. Illustrated Binny (Hatchette Australia) Lee is a little girl with a very big imagination. Every week Ruby's teacher, Mrs Majestic-Jones, asks special people to do special jobs in her class. Ruby would do anything to be the messenger, as she's the best in her class at announcing. But will her wild imagination get in the way?

A delightful story about an adorable and irrepressible heroine.

4. The Book of the Year: Younger Readers

Entries in this category may be fiction, drama or poetry and should be appropriate in style and content for readers from the middle to upper primary years.
Ages 8-12 years.


'How to Bee' by Bren MacDibble (Allen & Unwin)

Peony lives with her sister and grandfather on a fruit farm outside the city. In a world where real bees are extinct, the quickest, bravest kids climb the fruit trees and pollinate the flowers by hand. Will Peony's grit and quick thinking be enough to keep her safe? 

A story about family, loyalty, kindness and bravery, set against an all-too possible future where climate change has forever.

 Suitable for readers 8-12 years.

Honour Books

'Henrietta and the Perfect Night' by Martine Murray (Allen & Unwin)

"Hello everybody, it's me. Henrietta the Great Go-Getter, and I'm having a big think. Right now I'm thinking I'd like a baby sister, so I can dress her up in different sorts of hats. But Mum says we'll have to wait and see. I'm terrible at waiting. Meanwhile, I'm an explorer of life, and that includes trees, bugs, animals and all mysteries. I'm going to school for the very first time, which means I might have to go as a spy so that I can have a secret peep inside."

When Henrietta sees Olive Higgie crying in the classroom, she goes on a rescue mission and finds that you only need one friend in a room full of strangers to feel perfectly happy. Henrietta's stories are full of funny thoughts and discoveries, and maybe the best are the ones that take a long time to come.

'Marsh and Me' by Martine Murray (Text Publishing)

There’s a hill out the back of Joey’s house. Hardly anyone goes there—it’s not a beautiful place, just a covered-over old rubbish tip. But Joey likes it up there. It’s his hill—somewhere he likes to go to wonder about life. He longs to be the best at something, to be a famous astronaut, or mountain climber, to stand out.

Marsh and Me is a story about friendship and trust and learning to believe in yourself and what makes you special.

The fact that Martine managed 2 honour books from separate publishers is impressive!

5. Book of the Year: Older Readers

Entries in this category may be fiction, drama or poetry and should be appropriate in style and content for readers in their secondary years of schooling. Ages 13-18 years. These books are for mature readers, so guidance is desirable for readers in their early teens.


'Take Three Girls' by Cath Crowley, Simone Howell & Fiona Wood (Pan Macmillan Australia)

This is a story about three girls which readers in their early teens will understand and enjoy.

Ady - not the confident A-Lister she appears to be.
Kate - brainy boarder taking risks to pursue the music she loves.
Clem - disenchanted swim-star losing her heart to the wrong boy.

All are targeted by PSST, a toxic website that deals in gossip and lies. St Hilda's antidote to the cyber-bullying? The Year 10 Wellness program. Nice try - but sometimes all it takes is three girls.

Honour Books

'Mallee Boys' by Charlie Archbold (Wakefield Press)

"Sometimes I feel like I'm neither one thing nor another. I live in the Mallee but I don't like the desert. I live on a farm but I get hay fever and I'm scared of goats. I like school but my best mates don't. I'm stuck between stuff. It's like I'm not meant to be here but I am." 

Sandy Douglas knows that life at fifteen is hard, but it's even harder when your mother died a year ago and nothing's gone right since. His brother Red, on the other hand, is eighteen now and working the farm. He's amped up on rage and always looking for a fight. And then there's their dad Tom. He does his best, but - really - he doesn't have a clue. As Sandy and Red deal with girls, dirt biking, footy and friendship, both boys have to work out who they want to be, without their mum around. The Mallee, where they live, may seem like the middle of nowhere, but it turns out this is going to be one hell of a year.

'In the Dark Spaces' by Cally Black (Hardie Grant Egmont)

This is a genre-smashing hostage drama about 14-year-old Tamara, who's faced with an impossible choice when she falls for her kidnappers. Yet this is no ordinary kidnapping. Tamara has been living on a star freighter in deep space, and her kidnappers are terrifying Crowpeople – the only aliens humanity has ever encountered. No-one has ever survived a Crowpeople attack, until now – and Tamara must use everything she has just to stay alive. But survival always comes at a price, and there’s no handbook for this hostage crisis.

This excellent debut novel is a wonderful SCFI that will engage teenage readers.

6. Crichton Award for New Illustrators

The Crichton Award aims to recognise and encourage new talent in the field of Australian children's book illustration. Ages 0-18 years.


'Tintinnabula', by Margo Lanagan. Illustrated by Rovina Cai (Little Hare)

In wild times and in wartime, in times of fear and illness, I go to Tintinnabula, where soft rains fall.

Tintinnabula is a story about moving from discomfort to peace, from violence and uncertainty to a still, sure place. It reminds us that our best friend in hard times can often be ourselves.

This is a wonderful book about resilience. The book is a powerful contribution to the exploration of this theme that uses free verse and wonderfully evocative drawings to great effect.