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Hillary Book Finalist in Youth Literary Awards

Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Hillary Book Finalist in Youth Literary Awards

A book profiling the life of the famed Mountaineer Sir Edmund Hillary is a finalist in this year's New Zealand Post Book Awards.

The book, Reaching the Summit by Alexa Johnston with David Larsen, was selected as a finalist before Sir Edmund's death.

Battling emotions, braving the elements and blowing bubbles are just a few of the themes featured among the finalists of the 2008 New Zealand Post Book Award's For Children and Young Adults.

Announced today, Awards' judges convenor, Dylan Owen says many of the characters' journeys in the 20 finalist books saw them striving against the elements in parallel with their own emotional struggle.

'There is also a compelling range of writing styles with both female and male protagonists with a wide range of geographical variances from the Mid West to Everest.'

Mr Owen, who is national advisor for the National Library's schools collection joins writer and illustrator, Fifi Colston and award-winning novelist, Vince Ford on this year's judging panel.

Double nominees are also a feature in this year's New Zealand Post Book Awards.

Three of this year's finalists - Andrew Crowe, Gavin Bishop and Melanie Drewery - have more than one shortlisted book.

'This shows a full time commitment to writing,' says the judging panel.

The finalists in the 2008 New Zealand Post Book Awards are:

Picture Book

The King's Bubbles by Ruth Paul (Scholastic New Zealand)

Out of the Egg, written and illustrated by Tina Matthews (Walker Books)

Rats! Written and illustrated by Gavin Bishop (Random House New Zealand)

Tahi - One Lucky Kiwi by Melanie Drewery, illustrated by Ali Teo and John O'Reilly (Random House New Zealand)

To the Harbour, written and illustrated by Stanley Palmer (Lopdell House Gallery)

Non fiction

A Mini Guide to the Identification of New Zealand Land Birds by Andrew Crowe, illustrated by Dave Gunson (Penguin New Zealand)

Reaching the Summit by Alexa Johnston with David Larsen (Penguin New Zealand)

Weather Watch New Zealand by Sandra Carrod, illustrated by Karsten Schneider and Richard Gunther (Reed New Zealand)

What is a Fish? By Feana Tu'akoi, designed by Vasanti Unka (Scholastic New Zealand)

Which New Zealand Spider? By Andrew Crowe (Penguin New Zealand)

Junior Fiction

Dead Dan's Dee by Phyllis Johnston (Longacre Press)

The Dumpster Saga by Craig Harrison (Scholastic New Zealand)

The Mad Tadpole Adventure by Melanie Drewery, illustrated by Jenny Cooper (Scholastic New Zealand)

My Story Sitting on the Fence: The Diary of Martin Daly, Christchurch 1981 by Bill Nagelkerke (Scholastic New Zealand)

Snake and Lizard by Joy Cowley, illustrated by Gavin Bishop (Gecko Press)

Young Adult Fiction

Salt by Maurice Gee (Penguin New Zealand)

The Sea-wreck Stranger by Anna Mackenzie (Longacre Press)

Tomorrow All Will Be Beautiful by Brigid Lowry (Allen & Unwin)

The Transformation of Minna Hargreaves by Fleur Beale (Random House New Zealand)

Zillah by Penelope Todd (Longacre Press)

The finalists were selected from more than 130 children's books published in New Zealand in 2007 and submitted for the awards.

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 the judges 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.

Voting for the Children's Choice Award also begins today. Long considered one of the highest accolades a children's author can receive, this award is voted on by children of school age from all over New Zealand. Children are encouraged to read then place their vote, selecting from the twenty finalist titles in this year's awards. Voting can be carried out online at or by using the special voting card available from bookshops, libraries or schools. Voting closes at 5.00pm, Thursday, 1 May.

Finalists will be participating in children's book events as part of a nationwide celebration of the New Zealand Post Book Awards. The festivities begin on Monday 12 May and continue through to the awards on Wednesday 21 May when the winners will be announced. A full list of touring writers will be announced mid-March.

New Zealand Post has been a steadfast sponsor of the New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults since 1997. Its 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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