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Medal for illustration awarded to modern children’s classic

LIANZA Russell Clark medal for illustration awarded to a modern children’s classic

A celebration of children’s literature took place this evening at Caffe L’affare in Wellington. The prestigious Library & Information Association accolades pay tribute to some of New Zealand’s most famous writers and artists. Russell Clark was widely appreciated for his stunning illustrations in The Listener and School Journals in the 1940’s and 50’s and was hugely influential in the Canterbury art scene at that time. In his later work Russell Clark evolved towards modernist applications and LIANZA judge and Gisborne librarian Pene Walsh believes that he would have loved the style and application of the 2011 winner.

Hill and HoleHill and HoleHill and Hole by Kyle MewburnKyle Mewburn and Vasanti UnkaVasanti Unka, (Puffin Books)Puffin Books) is an inspiring treasure that conveys envy, affection and contentment of a hole and a hill. Vasanti Unka has an incredible style and was also a finalist for the LIANZA Elsie Locke award with two charming craft revival resources. The content and calibre of illustrations are stunning with multi layered original paintings and collage. Hill and HoleHill and HoleHill and Hole has been so carefully expressed by Vasanti UnkaVasanti Unka and is completely deserving of the 2011 Russell Clark medal. Pene Walsh said “this book has all the makings of a classic, one that will be treasured by today’s children in 50 years time”.

Northland based Diana MenefyDiana Menefy received the LIANZA Esther Glen medal, New Zealand’s oldest book prize for The Shadow of the Boyd, (The Shadow of the BoydThe Shadow of the Boyd, (HarperCollins Publishers (NZ) Ltd)HarperCollins Publishers (NZ) Ltd).

Esther Glen was a journalist and writer in the 1920’s, based in Christchurch. Through her best work she was undoubtedly one of New Zealand's finest writers for children. The Esther Glen medal is for only the most distinguished contributions to New Zealand literature for children.

Based on a true story The Shadow of the BoydThe Shadow of the BoydThe Shadow of the Boyd tells a powerful tale from our colonial past, the bitter clash of two cultures from the point of view of Thomas Davidson, an apprentice sailor who survived the infamous massacre of the Boyd. This classic adventure would also suit readers that usually prefer nonfiction. The background research and attention to detail is excellent.

The standard of the entries for the Young Adult category were exceptionally strong in this, the second year of the award presentation.

Fierce SeptemberFierce SeptemberFierce September by Wellingtonian Fleur BealeFleur Beale,(Random House New Zealand)Random House New Zealand) received the LIANZA Young Adult medal and poignantly deals with a community’s transition into life in New Zealand where they don’t know everyone, where life has changed fundamentally and they are living isolated like refugees. Fierce SeptemberFierce SeptemberFierce September can be read as a standalone novel but Belynda Smith, judge and panel convenor, is holding her breath for a third book in the Juno series. Juno of TarisJuno of TarisJuno of Taris received the LIANZA Esther Glen medal in 2009.

Elsie Locke was a peace activist, historian and successful author of children’s literature. Elsie Locke believed when writing nonfiction for children, it should stir a lively interest in finding out and knowing more. Wellington City librarian and judge Lily O’Donovan said “the 2011 finalists for the nonfiction category make learning fun, providing for both the recreational and educational need of our children and young people”.

The Kiwi Fossil Hunter’s HandbookThe Kiwi Fossil Hunter’s HandbookThe Kiwi Fossil Hunter’s Handbook by James CramptonJames Crampton and Marianna TerezowMarianna Terezow (Random House New ZealandRandom House New Zealand) is a first book by these GNS scientists and a delight, making science real and achievable. This is a fantastic resource for the whole family to share and be inspired by and Lily O’Donovan imagines the fantastic possibility of children pestering their parents to head out fossil hunting, something Elsie Locke would be very pleased about.

The Te Kura Pounamu was awarded for the first time to a graphic novel, Ngarimu: te tohu toa Ngarimu: te tohu toaNgarimu: te tohu toa researched and retold by Kawata Teepa Kawata Teepa and illustrated by Andrew BurdanAndrew Burdan, (Huia Publishers))Huia Publishers)

Te Kura Pounamu judge Alice Heather loved that this story of a well known Māori war hero, Moana-nui-a-Kiwa Ngarimu, has been brought to young readers in a graphic novel format.

“This story covers Ngarimu’s heroic leadership of his platoon resulting in his death and him subsequently becoming the first Māori recipient of the Victoria Cross”.

The language is rich with the use of idioms and proverbs, one double spread page showing the soldiers performing the haka following Ngarimu’s death in the foreground on one page trailing into the distance on the other page. You can virtually hear that haka being performed! You can also see and hear the 7000 strong crowd singing ‘ E te hokowhitu a tū, kia kaha rā’ on the double spread page of the posthumous award ceremony of the Victoria Cross to Ngarimu.

Four new awards re-introduced by Te Ropu Whakahau in 2009, the organisation uniting Māori librarians and information specialists, to enable the recognition of both nonfiction and fiction across all age levels as part of Te Kura Pounamu award were also presented.

Te Tohu Hoani WhatahoroTe Tohu Hoani Whatahoro donated by the whanau of Hoani Te Whatahoro Jury in memory of his work, for te waihanga pukapuka pono the nonfiction section was presented to the Kapa, Te Nui, Te Mata o Tuna, a Hina raua ko Mo’o Kuna Kapa, Te Nui, Te Mata o Tuna, a Hina raua ko Mo’o Kuna series(HANA LimitedHANA Limited).

Te Tohu PounamuTe Tohu Pounamu donated by Buddy Tainui of Ngai Tahu and Aoraki LIANZA for te wahanga Kaiwhakamaori was awarded to the graphic novel Haumi eHaumi e edited by Julian Arahanga, illustrated by Andrew Burdan (Huia PublishersHuia Publishers).

Te Tohu TaurapaTe Tohu Taurapa, donated by Palmerston North City Libraries, Te Ara Whanui o te Ao for te wahanga Pukapuka Pikitia – the picture book section was presented to Manu HaututuManu Haututu by June Peka, illustrated by Jo Thapa and translated by Kāterina Te Heikōkō Mataira (ScholasticScholastic)

Te Tohu Nga Kete e toru Te Tohu Nga Kete e toru was donated by the Wellington Region LIANZA Bicultural SIG. This award is for mo te waihanga pukapuka Pakimo te waihanga pukapuka Paki - the fiction section and was presented to He ora kupu seriesHe ora kupu series by Peti Nohotima (He Kupenga Hao I Te Reo).

The LIANZA Children’s Book Awards are uniquely judged by librarian’s and supported by Caffe L’affare, Fishpond Limited and The Children’s Bookshop, Wellington.

For a full list of finalists and information about the LIANZA Children’s Book Awards go to


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