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An Exceptional Year For Children’s Book Publishing

An Exceptional Year For Children’s Book Publishing Provides Challenges For Judges

The finalists in the celebrated New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards 2003 were announced today. Selecting the best from a year that saw many of New Zealand’s top children’s authors publish new books, proved challenging for the judging panel - broadcaster Kim Hill, children’s bookshop owner Sheila Sinclair and graphic designer Philip Webb. To add to their difficulties, 2002 also proved a strong year for new children’s authors with several making the finalist list.

Commenting on the judging process Sheila Sinclair said, “The calibre of the submissions was outstanding. Both fiction and non-fiction showcased diverse aspects of life in New Zealand. I feel happy with our decisions, but sad that so many excellent books had to be eliminated.”

The Finalists for the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards 2003 are:

Junior Fiction: (books suitable for upper-primary or intermediate school-age children): Buddy by V M Jones (HarperCollins) A Friend in Paradise by Des Hunt (HarperCollins) The Dragon’s Apprentice by Linda McNabb (HarperCollins) Something Weird About Mr Foster by Ken Catran (Scholastic) When the Kehua Calls by Kingi McKinnon (Scholastic)

Non-Fiction: (non-fiction books for children of various ages): Which New Zealand Insect? by Andrew Crowe (Penguin Books) Weaving Earth And Sky: Myths & Legends of Aotearoa by Robert Sullivan with illustrations by Gavin Bishop (Random House) New Zealand Wild: The Shaping of New Zealand by Brian O’Flaherty (Reed) New Zealand Trees: The Kauri by Alina Arkins with photography by Len Doel (Reed) Weta: A Knight in Shining Armour by Joy Cowley with photography by Rod Morris (Scholastic)

Picture Book: (story books where text and illustration work together) The Immigrants by Alan Bagnall with illustrations by Sarah Wilkins (Mallinson Rendel) Pigtails the Pirate, written and illustrated by David Elliot (Random House) Why Do Dogs Sniff Bottoms? by Dawn McMillan and Bert Signal, with illustrations by Ross Kinnaird (Reed) Auntie Rosie and the Rabbit by Diana Noonan with illustrations by Christine Ross (Scholastic) The Christmas Caravan by Jennifer Beck with illustrations by Robyn Belton (Scholastic)

Senior Fiction: (books suitable for secondary school age readers) Alchemy by Margaret Mahy (HarperCollins) Tomorrow the Dark by Ken Catran (Lothian Books) Right Where it Hurts by David Hill (Mallinson Rendel) The Thin Line by V R Joseph (Mallinson Rendel) Letters From the Coffin-Trenches by Ken Catran (Random House)

The winners will be announced by the judges at an Awards ceremony to be hosted by the Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage, Judith Tizard, at Parliament on Tuesday 8 April. The winner of each category is awarded $5,000 and the opportunity to win New Zealand Post Book of the Year worth an extra $5,000.

Children also get to choose their favourite book from the finalist line-up in the coveted Children’s Choice Award. Voting has now begun. Schools and libraries throughout the country will be encouraging children to vote.

THE NEW ZEALAND POST CHILDREN’S BOOK FESTIVAL 2003 Children are gearing up for New Zealand’s biggest celebration of children’s books, The New Zealand Post Children’s Book Festival. The Festival gets underway on Monday 31 March, and with some of this country’s finest authors lining up to participate, it should be nine days to remember. Touring authors and illustrators already confirmed include New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards finalists David Hill, Ken Catran, Vivienne Joseph, Margaret Mahy, Vicky Jones, Kingi McKinnon, David Elliot, Andrew Crowe, Robert Sullivan, Diana Noonan and Robyn Belton.

The New Zealand Post Children’s Book Festival and Awards are sponsored by New Zealand Post, supported by Creative New Zealand and Book Tokens (NZ) Ltd are administered by Booksellers New Zealand. New Zealand Post has sponsored the New Zealand Post Children's Book Festival and Awards for six years, working closely with Booksellers New Zealand to encourage New Zealand children to read and enjoy books. New Zealand Post is committed to building literate communities through its sponsorship of the Festival and Awards.

KEY DATES: Friday 31 January: finalists in New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards announced Monday 31 March: New Zealand Post Children’s Book Festival begins Monday 31 March: voting for Children’s Choice Award closes Tuesday 8 April: New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards winners announced

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