Awards News

The New Zealand Book Awards for Children & Young Adults 2016

How to make the most of the Book Awards:

The Finalists in this year’s New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults have been announced! It’s time to get your displays up, order your stock and get these wonderful children’s books into your customers’ hands. Congratulations to all the finalists – it’s a great bunch of super books!

Find out who this year’s finalists are here

Venue and Date announced for 2016 NZ Book Awards for Children and Young Adults

The charming Circa Theatre on Wellington’s waterfront will be the venue for the Awards event for the 2016 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults. The date is set for 5.30pm on Monday, 8 August.
Entries in the awards close this week (week ending Friday, 26 February), and the judges’ shortlist of 30 titles across six categories will be announced on Tuesday, 7 June.

HELL to sponsor new-look Book Awards

HELL has reinforced its commitment to getting more kids hooked on books, by sponsoring the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.
The newly coined awards unite the LIANZA Children’s Book Awards and the New Zealand Book Awards Trust (NZBAT), to create a unique celebration of the contribution New Zealand’s children’s authors and illustrators make to building national identity and cultural heritage.

Leading New Zealand Children’s Book Awards Merge And Hell Pizza Encourages Reading Addiction

The New Zealand Book Awards Trust and the Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa (LIANZA) have announced today that they are merging their respective children’s book awards, setting the stage for even more activity and visibility around books for New Zealand children. Complementing the Awards, Hell Pizza has partnered with the New Zealand Book Awards Trust to sponsor the Hell New Zealand Reading Challenge.

New Zealand Book Council contracted to administer NZ Book Awards for Children and Young Adults

The New Zealand Book Awards Trust has today signed a contract with the New Zealand Book Council to administer the prestigious New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults in 2016.
The New Zealand Book Council will take over administration from Booksellers NZ, although the latter will remain involved through membership of the Book Awards Trust and by providing financial support.

2016 Call for Judges

Experts in children’s literature are once again being sought to help judge the prestigious New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults. The call for judges opens on October 15 2015 and closes on October 30 2015. The selected judges’ work will begin in November when the first submissions date has passed. 
A total of three judges are sought and the New Zealand Book Awards Trust, which governs the awards, is confident that terrific candidates will step forward and be selected. “We’ve always been delighted by the calibre and dedication of our judges,” says Trust chair Nicola Legat.
“It’s a very substantial job which involves hours of work, but they’ve always risen to the challenge because they believe in the power and importance of books and stories written by New Zealand writers for New Zealand children.”
Application forms and background information can be downloaded below, or by emailing

Judge's Report, New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults 2015

Introduction, by Bob Docherty, convening judge 
At the beginning of the judging process, I likened the process of judging to be like a vintner looking forward to tasting this year’s vintage. Having tasted, the judges were well-pleased with the quality of the writing entered in these awards this year.

Mandy Hager's Singing Home the Whale wins 2015 Margaret Mahy Book of the Year

A beautifully told story of hope and promise set in the tranquillity of the Marlborough Sounds, spanning issues of environment, conservation and relationships is the winner of this year’s Margaret Mahy Book of the Year Award, in the prestigious New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults. Singing Home the Whale is also the winner in the Awards’ Young Adult Fiction category.

Great Richness and Diversity in This Year’s Finalists in the NZ Book Awards For Children and Young Adults

Pirates, orcas and penguins leap from the pages of the 22 books picked as finalists in the 2015 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults. 
In the 25th year of these venerable awards, New Zealand authors have once again produced beautifully written and illustrated books that are wonderful to hold and read, showing that publishing for New Zealand children is in very good heart.
One hundred and forty-nine books were submitted for the Awards. A panel of three judges (judging convenor and children’s book reviewer and literary consultant Bob Docherty; author and children’s bookshop owner, Annemarie Florian; and teacher-librarian Fiona Mackie), with the assistance of Te Reo Māori language adviser, freelance Māori writer and editor Stephanie Pohe-Tibble, have spent months reading, analysing and enjoying all entries.
The finalists in the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults are selected across four categories: Picture Book, Non-Fiction, Junior Fiction and Young Adult Fiction, and there is an additional award for books written in Māori, for which there are finalists for the first time. 
Judging panel convenor Bob Docherty says the judges were very pleased with the high quality of this year’s writing. “We likened the process to a vintner looking forward to tasting this year’s vintage. Having tasted, we all were delighted with this year’s production of titles – not only in terms of the actual writing, but also the fantastic quality and style of the illustrations and the actual presentation of the books. It’s heartening to see that book production in New Zealand is getting better and better. We’re pleased that publishers continue to put as much emphasis on the look and feel – literally – of a book as well as its content. 
“The Picture Book category gave the judges the most difficulty – in the best possible way. With a whopping 75 entries, there was fierce competition to pare these down to five finalists. This indicates that New Zealand is producing its fair share of wonderfully strong visual stories – stories with simple integrity yet with expressive characters, where both author and illustrator work together to capture our interest on every page,” says Bob.
“All books submitted in the Non-Fiction category were particularly impressive - almost in defiance of the trend for some libraries to dispense with their non-fiction collections in favour of online sources. The judging panel believed all the Non-Fiction entries contained material that was far superior to any online source, and all entries deserved to be finalists, says Bob.
There were 35 entries in Junior Fiction category. “All these books were a delight to read. This year’s finalists have combined comic book illustrations with the traditional novel format, and four of the five books have an historical connection. Fantasy and adventure also figure, and there is a strong anti-bullying link within the finalists’ titles in this category.
The judges agreed that all 21 entries in the Young Adult Fiction category were stunning. The high standard of writing reflects the calibre of New Zealand’s world-class writers. The human condition and teenage relationships were intimately discussed, and dialogue was a strong feature of all of these novels.
Two finalists for the Māori language award
Seven books were submitted in the Māori language award, with two selected as finalists. Te Reo Māori language adviser, Stephanie Pohe-Tibble, says that all of this year’s entries had something for every reader - from beginning speakers of Māori to children and whānau involved in kōhanga reo and kura kaupapa Māori. The two finalists both stood out with their innovative approach to translation, wonderful text and illustrations, and creativity of storylines.

Stephanie says, “I hope that all parents wishing to enrich their children’s lives with the Māori language will get to spend some special time with their children reading and enjoying these books.”

New Children’s Choice finalists’ list now decided by children
Children’s choices rule in the newly revamped Children’s Choice Awards in 2015. This year, more than 6,500 children and young adults from 106 schools from throughout the country have selected their own finalists from the 149 books submitted for the Awards. In previous years, the Children’s Choice was made from the judges’ finalist list, rather than from the full number of submitted books.
Nicola Legat, chair of the New Zealand Book Awards Trust, says, ”We wanted to hand this section over to the children – for them to decide which books they engaged with and which books they loved, rather than making their choices based on the criteria the judges used to make their decisions. Of the 20 books chosen as Children’s Choice finalists, seven match those on the judges’ list, so we’re very much looking forward to seeing the results of round two of the children’s vote over the next seven weeks.”
Voting for the Children’s Choice opens on Tuesday, 9 June and closes on Friday, 31 July. This year there will be a winner in each category.
Prince George to receive Picture Book finalists
For the second year, the five Picture Book finalists books are about to be sent to Prince George of Cambridge and his newborn sister Princess Charlotte. Each of the five books has a personal message from its author to both children. 
“Each year the New Zealand Book Awards Trust is sending Prince George, and now his little sister, specially signed books from the authors of the Picture Book finalists. As they grow older the Cambridge family will receive the Non-Fiction finalists, then the Junior Fiction. When George is 13, we’ll send the autographed Young Adult Fiction books. By the time the Cambridge children have grown up, they’ll have a wonderful collection of New Zealand children’s and young adult literature – all personally inscribed,” says Nicola Legat.
The finalists for the 2015 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults are:
Picture Books
by Sally Sutton and Brian Lovelock
Walker Books Australia
I Am Not a Worm
by Scott Tulloch
Scholastic New Zealand
Jim’s Letters
by Glyn Harper and Jenny Cooper
Penguin Random House
by Sacha Cotter and Joshua Morgan
Huia Publishers
Little Red Riding Hood . . . Not Quite
by Yvonne Morrison and Donovan Bixley
Scholastic New Zealand
Ghoulish Get-Ups: How to Create Your Own Freaky Costumes
by Fifi Colston
Scholastic New Zealand
Māori Art for Kids
by Julie Noanoa and Norm Heke
Craig Potton Publishing
Mōtītī Blue and the Oil Spill
by Debbie McCauley
Mauao Publishing
The Book of Hat
by Harriet Rowland
Makaro Press/Submarine
Under the Ocean: explore & discover New Zealand’s sea life
by Gillian Candler and Ned Barraud
Craig Potton Publishing
Junior Fiction
Conrad Cooper’s Last Stand
by Leonie Agnew
Penguin Random House/Puffin
Dragon Knight: Fire!
by Kyle Mewburn and Donovan Bixley
Scholastic New Zealand
Monkey Boy
by Donovan Bixley
Scholastic New Zealand
The Island of Lost Horses
by Stacy Gregg
The Pirates and the Nightmaker
by James Norcliffe
Penguin Random House/Longacre Child
Young Adults
I Am Rebecca
by Fleur Beale
Penguin Random House
Night Vision
by Ella West
Allen & Unwin
Recon Team Angel: Vengeance
by Brian Falkner
Walker Books Australia
Singing Home the Whale
by  Mandy Hager
Penguin Random House
While We Run
by Karen Healey
Allen & Unwin
Māori Language Award
Hoiho Paku
by Stephanie Thatcher
Translated by Ngaere Roberts
Scholastic New Zealand
Ngā Ki
by Sacha Cotter and Joshua Morgan
Translated by Kawata Teepa
Huia Publishers
(translation of Keys, a finalist in the Picture Book category)