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Children & Young Adults 2007

History, heroes, and 'how-to' feature amongst a diverse list of finalists in the New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children & Young Adults 2007

History, heroes and 'how to' books feature amongst the finalists in the celebrated New Zealand Post Book Awards, announced today.

This year's judging panel of three children's book experts, convened by illustrator, writer and teacher, Keith Olsen, was impressed with the diversity of subject matter across all four categories. Olsen said that, in the non-fiction category, history and biography were strongly represented with an emphasis on war and war-heroes, while on the other hand, there is even a finalist book about 'how to' make up your own jokes!

"As well as contemporary novels with their drugs, death and divorce, we had science fiction, fantasy and a strong representation from historical fiction with subjects ranging from life on a whaling station, to teenage angst during the New Zealand land wars. It was pleasing to see our mountains, bush, marae and other aspects of the New Zealand environment and culture featuring strongly in the picture book category."

Olsen was joined on the judging panel by Ainslie Heather and Dylan Owen, with backgrounds in children's book retailing and librarianship.

The finalists in the New Zealand Post Book Awards 2007 are:

Picture Book
Kiss! Kiss! Yuck! Yuck! by Kyle Mewburn, illustrated by Ali Teo & John O'Reilly (Scholastic NZ Ltd) Matatuhi written and illustrated by Robyn Kahukiwa (Puffin) Matatuhi (Te Reo edition) written and illustrated by Robyn Kahukiwa The Three Fishing Bothers Gruff written and illustrated by Ben Galbraith (Hodder Children's Books) Riding the Waves written and illustrated by Gavin Bishop (Random House New Zealand) Whakaeke i ng? Ngaru (Te Reo edition of Riding the Waves) written and illustrated by Gavin Bishop, translated by K?terina Te Heik?k? Mata ira (Random House New Zealand) A Present from the Past by Jennifer Beck, illustrated by Lindy Fisher (Scholastic NZ Ltd)

Non Fiction
Winging It: The Adventures of Tim Wallis by Neville Peat (Longacre Press) Red Haze: Australians and New Zealanders in Vietnam by Leon Davidson (Black Dog Books) Soldier in the Yellow Socks by Janice Marriott (HarperCollins New Zealand) Illustrated History of the South Pacific by Marcia Stenson (Random House New Zealand) It's True! You Can Make Your Own Jokes by Sharon Holt, illustrated by Ross Kinnaird (Allen & Unwin)

Junior Fiction Thor's Tale by Janice Marriott (HarperCollins New Zealand) My Story: Castaway - The Diary of Samuel Abraham Clark, Disappointment Island, 1907 by Bill O'Brien (Scholastic NZ Ltd) Frog Whistle Mine by Des Hunt (HarperCollins New Zealand) And Did Those Feet… by Ted Dawe (Longacre Press) Boyznbikes by Vince Ford (Scholastic NZ Ltd)

Young Adult A Respectable Girl by Fleur Beale (Random House New Zealand) Genesis by Bernard Beckett (Longacre Press) Shooting the Moon by V M. Jones (HarperCollins New Zealand) Single Fin by Aaron Topp (Random House New Zealand) Thieves by Ella West (Longacre Press)

The finalists were selected from more than 120 children's books published in New Zealand in 2006 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 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 www.nzpostbooksawards or by using the special voting card available from bookshops, libraries or schools.

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 7 May and continue through to the awards on Wednesday 16 May when the winners will be announced. A full list of touring writers will be announced at the end of February.

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.

ENDS

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