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Longest-running NZ book awards go from strength to strength

NZ’s longest-running book awards go from strength to strength

New Zealand’s current best children’s book authors and illustrators will be revealed in June 2015, as LIANZA (The Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa) turns a fresh page in the illustrious history of its Children’s Book Awards.

Submissions for the coveted LIANZA prizes open on 10 November, 2014 and, if past years are anything to go by, they will be of a very high standard.

What makes the awards so unique is that they are judged solely by New Zealand librarians, who see first-hand the impact these books have on their target audience.

LIANZA President Corin Haines said, being judged by librarians “is what makes the LIANZA Children’s Book Awards really special”. “Librarians interact with the readers of these books on a daily basis and are uniquely positioned to know what is really making a hit and what is likely to appeal.”

In 2014, the acclaimed Joy Cowley won LIANZA’s top award and NZ’s longest running literary accolade – the Esther Glen Prize for Junior Fiction. The award was first won by Stella Morice in 1945 and later by literary legends such as Margaret Mahy, Maurice Gee, Kate de Goldi and Fleur Beale.

“The main purpose of the LIANZA awards is to connect New Zealand communities with the best in New Zealand children’s and young people’s literature, and to get kids reading,” said Mr Haines. “Following the huge surge in participation we had from a new generation of readers last year, I am delighted to announce that Hell Pizza has renewed its sponsorship of the 2015 awards.”

In support of last year’s awards, Hell launched a major initiative to promote children’s reading. This included distributing 100,000 little devil horn bookmarks, 15,000 book bags and 100,000 ‘8-Book Pizza Wheels’ to schools and libraries nationwide. Kids needed to read eight books and have them recorded on their wheel by their librarian to be rewarded with a free, healthy ‘333 Kids’ Pizza’.

Young bookworms in some smaller towns that do not have a Hell Pizza store were able to redeem their pizza wheels at the Hell Pizza Caravan as it toured the North Island.

South Taranaki District Council librarian Pamela Jones couldn’t be more thrilled with the success of the campaign. “We were staggered by the response. Children and families we have never seen in the Hawera library before are spending hours here, reading, choosing books, doing our activities and getting to know the librarians. Then to have the caravan turn up, so they could redeem their vouchers, was just brilliant.”

John McIntyre, owner of the nationally renowned Children’s Bookshop in Wellington, said: “the collaboration with Hell turned out to be an inspired partnership. Hell was a generous and committed sponsor, and the Pizza Wheel reading challenge was a hugely successful campaign.”

A Hell Pizza caravan tour is planned for 2015 and LIANZA will be delivering fantastic new programmes in partnership with libraries. To find out more about the 2014 reading challenge and caravan tour visit

Submissions for the awards are open from 10 November, 2014 to 10 February, 2015. LIANZA is accepting books published in the 2014 calendar year.


About the Awards

The awards, encompassing New Zealand’s longest-running book prize, celebrate excellence in children’s books and the unique contribution New Zealand children’s authors and illustrators have made to building our national identity and cultural heritage.

The awards are organised by LIANZA and are uniquely judged by a panel of librarians, showcasing the knowledge and expertise of the library and information profession.

Award Categories

LIANZA Esther Glen Junior Fiction Award - For the most distinguished contribution to literature for children aged 0-15. Esther Glen was a journalist, children’s writer and community worker who lived in Christchurch. She died in 1940 and the Esther Glen award was established in her honour in 1945.

LIANZA Russell Clark Illustration Award – For the most distinguished illustrations in a children's book.

LIANZA Young Adult Fiction Award - Recognises the distinguished contribution to literature for children and young adults aged 13 years and above.

LIANZA Elsie Locke Non Fiction Award - For a work that is considered to be a distinguished contribution to non-fiction for young people.

Te Kura Pounamu (te reo Māori) - Recognises Māori authors, illustrators and translators who contribute to a work for children or young people written in Te Reo Māori.

Librarians’ Choice Award - Awarded to the most popular finalist across all categories, as judged by professional librarians.

Te Rōpū Whakahau Awards (national organisation representing Māori engaged in the Libraries and Information sector of Aotearoa New Zealand)

Te Tohu Taurapa - te wahanga pikitia (picture book)

Te Tohu Ngā Kete e toru - te wahanga pukapuka paki (fiction)

Te Tohu Pounamu - this award changes annually in order to recognize excellence that would not otherwise be recognized in the other award categories.

Te Tohu Hoani Te Whatuhoro Jury - te wahanga pukapuka pono (non- fiction)

For further information about the awards visit:

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