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Recently I’ve been reading and enjoying finalists in the New Zealand Book Awards for Children & Young Adults.
There is a growing number of amazing children’s authors and illustrators in New Zealand. I absolutely loved the originality and honesty of Selina Tusitala Marsh’s book “Mophead”. It was no surprise that this won the book of the year.
Dozer the Fire Cat by Robyn Prokop, illustrated by Jenny Cooper
Finalist “Russell Clark Award for Illustration”.
This picture book is inspired by True events from the 2019 Pigeon Bay Wildfires. Dozer’s family have to pack, and quickly leave to escape the fast approaching fire but can’t find Dozer. Will Dozer survive? Illustrator Jenny Cooper connects the reader to this story in her beautiful soft tone illustrations. The warmth of the illustrations reflects the families love for the family cat and wins over the fierceness of the fire. The expressions on the cats face are priceless
There is a two page fact sheet of the event at the end of the book.
Mophead written and illustrated by Selina Tusitala Marsh
Winner “Elsie Locke Award for Non-fiction”.
A graphic memoir by New Zealand’s bestselling Poet Laureate Selina Tusitala Marsh. The wild and crazy illustrations are a contrast to those in Dozer the Fire Cat and are a perfect match to this story of a Pasifika child growing up in New Zealand. As a child Selina was teased for the frizzy hair she inherited from her Pasifika heritage. The turning point in the story, and Selena’s life, is when poet Sam Hunt visits her school and the influence this has on her. Selina learns to embrace her heritage, let her wild hair and individuality out, and fall in love with poetry.
Congratulations to Selina for winning the Elsie Lock Award for Non-fiction and for taking out the well-deserved Margaret Mahy Book of the Year award.
Tio Tiamu written by Kurahau and illustrated by Laya Mutton
Winner “Wright Family Foundation Te Kuka Pounamu Award for Te Reo Maōri”
The Smelly Giant (English version of Tio Tiamu)
Finalist “Best First Book Award English translated version”
Toe Jam is a giant with smelly feet. The more he grows, the smellier his feet become. So smelly his people do not want him anywhere near. The lonely Tom Jam never gives up on his people and returns to the village on several occasions to save them from disaster. Will they ever see the goodness in his heart? Written and illustrated like a true legend.