2019 Winners of the NZ Book Awards for Children and Young Adults Announced

Published: 22-Aug-2019

The winners of the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults have been announced.

NZ Book Awards Press Release:

The New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults are a unique celebration of the contribution that New Zealand’s children’s authors and illustrators make to building national identity and cultural heritage.

To hear what the judges had to say about these fantastic books, visit NZ Book Awards.

Image(s) via New Zealand Book Awards Trust.

If you would like to put any of these books on hold, just click the book jacket and it will take you straight to our catalogue!

All descriptions below are from the NZ Book Awards winners' announcement.

Margaret Mahy Book of the Year:

the bomb picture book
The Bomb - Sacha Cotter, illustrated by Josh Morgan

"No matter who we are or where we're from, we can all see ourselves reflected in this timeless and sparkling story of courage and transformation. Joy and humour permeate the story and illustrations of The Bomb, and we're rewarded with each encounter – we see a new layer, another detail is revealed, fresh energy bubbles up. The rhythm and journey towards expectation, the interactivity as your perspective changes; the shaping of the central character and his omnipresent supportive Nan, packaged together with language that naturally incorporates te reo and illustrations which celebrate our multicultural community. Together they make this the very worthy winner of the Margaret Mahy Book of the Year."

Picture Book Award:

the bomb picture book
The Bomb - Sacha Cotter, illustrated by Josh Morgan

"The judges were all equally captivated by the spell this book cast. It’s a summery, waterlogged story about a child growing in self-confidence while striving to perfect the perfect “bomb”, supported every step of the way by the reassuring presence of Nan. Every reread has you seeing something different in the illustrations, and there is still anticipation and concern for the protagonist even when the outcome is known. The joyful rhythm and perfect pacing of the text combined with risk-taking design and movement takes this book to the next level. It is magic, and in short it is most definitely THE BOMB."

Wright Family Foundation Esther Glen Award for Junior Fiction:

the dog runner cover
The Dog Runner
- Bren MacDibble

"This enthralling eco-drama transports us to a future without grasses, leaving the population starving and desperate. Siblings, Ella and Emery, flee the crumbling city with their magnificent doggos, in the hope of reaching their destination where family and indigenous knowledge are the key to a hopeful future. The unique voice and characterisation ensure the reader is emotionally invested, debating alternatives to the sometimes-violent measures taken to ensure survival. The action-packed storyline and convincing scenario will have you cheering on our young heroes and their mission."

Young Adult Fiction Award:

Legacy cover
- Whiti Hereaka

"The judges were unanimous in their appreciation for this book: the writing is assured, the story structure cleverly constructed (and a second reading rewards with clues hidden in plain sight). The hard and terrible truth of war is perfectly balanced with the hopes, dreams and antics of a young man who finds himself living in the world of his ancestor. Riki’s voice is authentic as he navigates this paradox of going back into his past. There is much to learn about life as a WW1 Māori soldier, but these gems of historical detail only enhance the adventures. The historical rendering is pitch perfect and this novel is definitely one that teens will love."

Elsie Locke Award for Non-Fiction:

art tastic cover

-  Sarah Pepperle

"This is a rare book that makes art – in this case the iconic works in the Christchurch Art Gallery – accessible and fun for young readers and shows how it can touch all aspects of our lives. It has so many wonderful design features: generous format and layout, bold images, and funky graphics. And the writing is outstanding: instantly engaging, slyly educational, and peppered with a sense of humour that sometimes (to quote one of the judges) “just goes full dork”. It’s a wonderful hands-on book which will inspire self-expression for all ages. Art-tastic is a work of art."

Russell Clark Award for Illustrations:

Puffin the architect cover

Puffin the Architect
- Kimberly Andrews

"Puffin the Architect combines cute animal characters, architecture and a nod to Renaissance composition. The remarkable rendering of the light means that the pictures appear to glow. These illustrations show a deep understanding of a number of crucial elements: scale and perspective, colour and characterisation, the print process, and the audience. The art in this exceptional picture book manages to be both classic and modern at the same time. Kimberly Andrews is an early-career treasure trove of talent, and New Zealand children are lucky to have the rest of her career to look forward to."

Wright Family Foundation Te Kura Pounamu Award for Te Reo Māori:

Te haka a tanerore cover

Te Haka a Tānerore
- Written by Reina Kahukiwa, translated by Kiwa Hammond and illustrated by Robyn Kahukiwa

"E tū a Tānerore i te tū. E haka a Tānerore i te haka. Kua tū a Tānerore i te haka.

Māori legend tells us that the sun god Tamanuiterā (Rā) had two wives: Hine Takurua and Hine Raumati. Rā and Hine Raumati had a son named Tānerore, who became the atua of haka. Te Haka a Tānerore tells the story of the origins of haka, capturing the mauri (essence) with te reo Māori, clearly narrated within each page: kia mau te ihi, te wehi, te wana. It enhances readers’ understanding of Māori performing arts, and its close connection to identity and heritage is illustrated with exceptional artwork."

Best First Book Award:

art tastic cover
-  Sarah Pepperle

"Art-tastic makes learning about art effortless – and celebrates the creative potential in everyone, so that you are left feeling that you too can be an artist. Even in a less visually stunning setting, the writing here would shine. The author has an out-of-this-world talent for presenting information – both factual and abstract – in a digestible, hilarious, approachable way. She’s ticking all the boxes for non-fiction writing and breaking all the rules at the same time – there’s a rare instinct on show here for how children work. This writing is addictive and the judges can’t wait to read more work from this highly talented writer."