Rising Talent to the Fore Among Awards Finalists

Emerging authors and illustrators have made every category of the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards this year – competing alongside well-known names for top honours.

Finalists were announced today by Gillian Candler, convenor of judges for the Awards. “The judges were excited to see the emergence of talented new writers and illustrators, with each category having at least one new author or illustrator short-listed.”

In selecting the finalists, the judges consider not just the content, the story and illustrations, but also the quality of production.

“We’re looking for great quality books that will grab children and make them want to read and the judging panel unanimously agree each of this year’s finalists do exactly that.”

For the first time this year, a Young Adult Graphic Novel – Shaolin Burning by Ant Sang – is a finalist in the Picture Book category which is generally dominated by books for the very young.

Ms Candler stated that the judging criteria mean that illustrated books are judged in either the Picture Book or Non-Fiction categories.

The finalists were selected from more than 130 children’s books published in New Zealand in 2011 and submitted for the awards.

Winners will be announced at a ceremony in Wellington on Wednesday 16 May.

Ms Candler, an independent publishing and education consultant is joined on the judging panel by two other children’s literature experts: school curriculum advisor, librarian and bookseller Annemarie Florian and award-winning writer and illustrator Bob Kerr.

As well as winners in each category, the judges will also decide which author will earn the New Zealand Post Children’s Book of the Year prize.

The finalists in the 2012 New Zealand Post Book Awards are:

Picture book finalists
Non-Fiction finalists
Junior Fiction finalists
Young Adult finalists

Picture Book finalists

The Cat's Pyjamas
by Catherine Foreman
(Scholastic New Zealand)
ISBN 9781869439798 
Rāhui (Maori version)
by Chris Szekely and illustrated by Malcolm Ross
(Huia Publishers)
ISBN 9781869694715  
Rāhui (English version)
by Chris Szekely and illustrated by Malcolm Ross
(Huia Publishers)
ISBN 9781869694708
Shaolin Burning
by Ant Sang
(HarperCollins Publishers)
ISBN 9781869508135
By Ruth Paul
(Scholastic New Zealand)
ISBN 9781775430056
Waiting for Later
by Tina Matthews
(Walker Books Australia)
ISBN 9781921720055

Non-fiction finalists

Digging Up The Past: Archaeology For The Young & Curious
by David Veart
(Auckland University Press)
ISBN 9781869404659
Kimble Bent: Malcontent
by Chris Grosz
(Random House New Zealand)
ISBN 9781869795160  
The Life Cycle of the Tuatara
by Betty Brownlie
(Scholastic New Zealand)
ISBN 9781869439644

New Zealand Hall of Fame: 50 Remarkable Kiwis
by Maria Gill and illustrated by Bruce Potter
(New Holland Publishing)
ISBN 9781869663124

Nice Day for a War: Adventures of a Kiwi Soldier in World War l
by Matt Elliott and illustrated by Chris Slane
(HarperCollins Publishers)
ISBN 9781869509019

Junior Fiction finalists

The Flytrap Snaps
by Johanna Knox and illustrated by Sabrina Malcolm (Hinterland Press)
ISBN 9780473179960
Just Jack
by Adele Broadbent
(HarperCollins Publishers)
ISBN 9781869508869
The Loblolly Boy & the Sorcerer
by James Norcliffe
(Random House New Zealand)
ISBN 9781877460692
Super Finn
by Leonie Agnew
(Scholastic New Zealand)
ISBN 9781869439996    
The Travelling Restaurant
by Barbara Else
(Gecko Press)
ISBN 9781877467776

Young Adult Fiction

The Bridge                                                        
by Jane Higgins
(Text Publishing Company)
ISBN 9781921758331 
Calling the Gods
by Jack Lasenby
(HarperCollins Publishers)
ISBN 9781869509484
Dirt Bomb
by Fleur Beale
(Random House New Zealand)
ISBN 9781869795467
by Joanna Orwin
(HarperCollins Publishers)
ISBN 9781869509125
by Deborah Burnside
(HarperCollins Publishers)
ISBN 9781869509255

Children’s Choice Award
Voting for the Children’s Choice Award begins today.  Long considered one of the highest accolades a children’s author can receive, this award is voted on by children of school age from all over New Zealand.  Vote online at www.nzpostbookawards.co.nz or by using the special voting card available from bookshops, libraries or schools. Voting closes at 5.00pm, Friday 27 April.

New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards Festival
Finalists will participate in children’s book events around the country as part of a nationwide celebration of the New Zealand Post Book Awards. The festivities, which are a huge favourite with kids all over the country, begin on Monday 7 May and continue through to Wednesday 16 May.  

New Zealand Post is proud to be principal sponsor of the New Zealand Book Awards and the Children’s Book Awards.  New Zealand Post is committed to promoting and assisting literacy in our communities and supporting excellence in literature, and to actively encouraging New Zealanders to read and enjoy books.  Additional funding for the Awards is provided by Creative New Zealand.  

The Awards are overseen by the New Zealand Post Book Awards Governance Group, administered by Booksellers NZ and including representatives of the New Zealand Society of Authors, The Publishers Association of New Zealand, New Zealand Post and Creative New Zealand.

Key dates:
27 April 2012 Children’s Choice Award VOTING CLOSES

7-15 May 2012 New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards – FESTIVAL WEEK

16 May New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards – WINNERS ANNOUNCED