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NZ Post Childrens Book Awards Finalists Announced

Finalists Announced In New Zealand Post Book Awards For Children & Young Adults 2006

A brave new world emerges in writing for children as finalists in the 10th annual New Zealand Post Book Awards are announced

If the finalist books in the tenth annual New Zealand Post Book Awards are pointers to the future of local writing for children, New Zealand writers are tackling a brave new world in terms of content, style and issues covered in their new works.

“This year’s finalists demonstrate a pride in our country and heritage, from the natural world to our recent history,” said Julie Harper, manager of Jabberwocky Children’s Bookshop and convenor of this year’s judging panel. Harper and her fellow judges, TV3’s Carol Hirschfeld and writer Graeme Lay spent the summer reading books written by New Zealand authors that included tales of cannibalism, Māori land and environmental issues, and smart young characters taking on international corporations.

Harper commented on the quality and strength of the fiction writing evident in this year’s submissions for the awards. “It is apparent,” she said, “that the age of political correctness is over with our children’s writers becoming more confident in writing about, in particular, issues related to race and Māori land. Some people might be concerned with the content and language used in some of the novels, but it seems writers and publishers are really beginning to ask what, exactly, our young people want to read about.”

The finalists were selected from over 120 children’s books published in New Zealand in 2005 and submitted for the awards. Judging is across four categories. The judges were asked to consider points such as creative writing, use of language, impact, integrity, design and production values. Additional criteria for the Picture Book category include harmony between text and illustration. For the Non Fiction category they were also asked to take into account integration of text, graphics, how illustrations were used to engage interest and enhance understanding plus accuracy of data.

The finalists in the New Zealand Post Book Awards 2006 are:

Picture Book

A Booming in the Night by Ben Brown, illustrated by Helen Taylor (Reed Publishing)

Haere – Farewell, Jack, farewell by Tim Tipene, illustrated by Huhana Smith (Huia Publishers)

Nobody’s Dog by Jennifer Beck, illustrated by Lindy Fisher (Scholastic New Zealand)

*The Waka by Jean Prior, illustrated by Gavin Bishop (Scholastic New Zealand)

*Te Waka by Kāterina Te Heikōkō Mataira and Jean Prior, illustrated by Gavin Bishop (Scholastic New Zealand)

Where’s the Gold? by Pamela Allen (Penguin Viking)

* The Waka and Te Waka are selected as joint finalists in English and Te Reo editions

Junior Fiction

Hunter by Joy Cowley (Puffin)

Maddigan’s Fantasia by Margaret Mahy (HarperCollins Publishers)

My Story: Chinatown Girl – The Diary of Silvey Chan, Auckland, 1942 by Eva Wong Ng (Scholastic New Zealand)

Sil by Jill Harris (Longacre Press)

Super Freak by Brian Falkner (Mallinson Rendel)

Young Adult

Deep Fried by Bernard Beckett and Clare Knighton (Longacre Press)

Kaitangata Twitch by Margaret Mahy (Allen & Unwin)

Running Hot by David Hill (Mallinson Rendel)

The Unknown Zone by Phil Smith (Random House New Zealand)

With Lots of Love from Georgia by Brigid Lowry (Allen & Unwin)

Non Fiction

Blue New Zealand: Plants, Animals, Environments – A Visual Guide by Glenys Stace (Puffin)

Cameras in Narnia: How The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe came to life by Ian Brodie (HarperCollins Publishers)

Frontier of Dreams: The Story of New Zealand – The Weight of World Wars 1897 - 1949 by John Parker (Scholastic New Zealand)

Peter Blake Sailor, Adventurer: The Story of a New Zealand Hero by Alan Sefton (Puffin)

Scarecrow Army: The Anzacs at Gallipoli by Leon Davidson (Black Dog Books)

Finalists will be on the road from Monday 8 May, participating in a nationwide festival of children’s books and literature in celebration of the tenth annual New Zealand Post Book Awards. They will be visiting schools and libraries around the country in the lead up to the awards night on Wednesday 17 May when the winners will be announced. A full list of touring writers will be announced at the end of February.

Voting for the Children’s Choice Award begins today. For the first time children will be able to vote online at Children and young adults nationwide have the opportunity over the next few months to vote for their favourite book, selecting from the twenty finalists. Last year’s winner was The Other Ark written and illustrated by one New Zealand’s biggest selling children’s authors, Lynley Dodd.

New Zealand Post has been a steadfast sponsor of the New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults since 1997. Their partnership has seen the awards flourish, growing from strength to strength over the last decade. New Zealand Post’s support of these awards reflects their deep commitment to promoting literacy and literature throughout the country. Working closely with Booksellers New Zealand, New Zealand Post and other dedicated segments of the community actively encourage New Zealand children to read and enjoy books. For those with limited access to new works, New Zealand Post also purchases and distributes books by the New Zealand Post Book Awards finalists by supporting the Books in Homes programme each year.

The New Zealand Post Book Awards are also supported by Creative New Zealand and Book Tokens (NZ) Ltd and are administered by Booksellers New Zealand.

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Key Dates 2006

Wednesday 8 February Children’s Choice Award voting begins

Tuesday 2 May Children’s Choice Award voting closes

Monday 8 May Festival week begins with finalists on tour

Wednesday 17 May Awards ceremony in Wellington – winners announced

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