Barbara Else

Children’s Books for Christmas – the best gift

I am probably not alone in this industry in saying the single most exciting present I unwrapped from beneath the Christmas tree each year was the rectangular one: especially if it looked like it had more than one book in it. Mum was a bit iffy with her clothes choices for my Christmas gifts, but she was pretty spot on with books that would appeal to me. My very first Terry Pratchett was a Christmas present, age 14, which made me aware of a whole different branch of publishing. Imagine how excited I was when I realised that Maskerade was book 18 of a whole, and ongoing, series.

University of Otago announces their Arts fellowships for 2016

University of Otago Vice-Chancellor Professor Harlene Hayne has yesterday announced the recipients of the University’s prestigious Arts fellowships for 2016.
The Robert Burns Fellow is Victor Rodger, of Auckland; the Frances Hodgkins Fellow is Miranda Parkes, of Christchurch; the Mozart Fellow, Dr Chris Gendall, of Wellington; and the College of Education/Creative New Zealand Writer in Residence is Barbara Else, of Lower Hutt. The Caroline Plummer Fellow in Community Dance is Val Smith, of Auckland.

The LIANZA Children’s and Young Adult’s Book Awards Winners for 2015

On Tuesday night the children's literary world came together at the National Library in Wellington to celebrate the New Zealand writers, illustrators and translators who made it into the finals of the LIANZA Children’s and Young Adult Book Awards. With Hell Pizza as the main sponsor, and Hataitai School Year 7 & 8 students on hand to deliver over 50 pizzas to the 150 guests, attendees were well fed before the ceremonies began.

Storylines 2015 Notable Books List

The 2015 list is for books published in 2014.
Storylines Notable Picture Books List 2015
Recognising books for children and/ or young adult where the narrative is carried equally by pictures and story
  • Blackie the Fisher Cat by Janet Pereira, illustrated by Gabriella Klepatski (Craig Potton Publishing)
  • Have You Seen a Monster by Raymond McGrath (Penguin)

Vasanti Unka's The Boring Book wins the New Zealand Post Margaret Mahy Book of the Year

It can’t be a boring book when The Boring Book wins a prestigious New Zealand prize for children and young adult books – the New Zealand Post Margaret Mahy Book of the Year. The Boring Book is also the winner in the Awards’ Picture Book category.

Biographies of the judges of the 2014 New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults

Barbara Else, author, convenor of judges for the 2014 awards

Barbara Else has written four novels for children and six for adults starting with her best-selling adult novel The Warrior Queen. Her latest children’s novels, The Travelling Restaurant and The Queen and the Nobody Boy in the Tales of Fontania sequence, have won several awards including the coveted Esther Glen Medal (LIANZA) and the prestigious IBBY and White Raven Awards. She has also edited several well-received anthologies for children. She is co-director of a small Wellington literary agency and manuscript assessment service.

She was a judge of the 2004 New Zealand Post Book Awards for Children and Young Adults. In 1999, she was the Victoria University of Wellington Writer in Residence and has been awarded an MNZM for Services to Literature. Barbara is pleased with the timing that has allowed her to be a judge this year, “Neither I or any of our agency clients have a book out this year so it was the perfect opportunity for me to put my name forward as a judge.”

Winners announced for New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards

A teen novel that begins its dramatic journey on New Zealand’s East Coast has picked up the top prize at this year’s New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards.

Ted Dawe’s book Into the River won the New Zealand Post Margaret Mahy Book of the Year and was also the winner of the Young Adult Fiction category.  This engaging coming of age novel follows its main protagonist from his childhood in small town rural New Zealand to an elite Auckland boarding school where he must forge his own way – including battling with his cultural identity.

Into the River was the book that stood out for us,” says Chief Judge and author Bernard Beckett.

“Traditionally, books aimed at the top end of the young adult market [ages 15+] have not been a strength of ours here in New Zealand, with most books aimed nearer the junior fiction boundary. We were delighted to see a book that both engaged and respected older readers, with material as subtle as it is honest and provocative.

“We congratulate Ted for his superb book, as well as the other winners and finalists who have shown the calibre of children’s books in New Zealand to be well above par.

“It was great to see new talent emerging to line up alongside more established authors and illustrators,” Bernard Beckett said.

The judging panel also comprised children’s literature expert and author Eirlys Hunter and presenter of Radio New Zealand’s Arts on Sunday programme, Lynn Freeman. Together, the panel handpicked 19 finalists from a field of more than a hundred children’s book entries.

The New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards promote excellence and provide recognition for the best written and illustrated children’s books published by New Zealand authors each year.

As the winner of both the Young Adult Fiction category and the New Zealand Post Margaret Mahy Book of the Year, Mr Dawe received a total of $15,000 in cash prizes.

The New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards winners for 2013 are:

Best Young Adult Fiction and New Zealand Post Margaret Mahy Book of the Year

Into the River*
by Ted Dawe
Mangakino University Press
ISBN 9780473205089

Best Non-Fiction

100 Amazing Tales from Aotearoa
by Simon Morton & Riria Hotere
Te Papa Press
ISBN 9781877385797

Best Junior Fiction

My Brother's War
by David Hill
Penguin Group NZ
ISBN 9780143307174 (paperback)
ISBN 9781742532653 (e-book)

Honour award, Junior Fiction

The Queen and the Nobody Boy: A Tale of Fontania series
by Barbara Else
Gecko Press
ISBN 9781877579493

Best Picture Book

Mister Whistler
by Margaret Mahy & Gavin Bishop
Gecko Press
ISBN 9781877467929

Best First Book

by Hugh Brown
ISBN 9781869509569

Children’s Choice

by Kyle Mewburn, Ali Teo & John O’Reilly, Scholastic NZ
ISBN 9781775430278

NB. Into the River by Ted Dawe is aimed at young adult readers. Given that the book contains some explicit material we advise parental discretion.