At a fancy ceremony at Te Papa last night the winners of the 2018 New Zealand Children’s Book Awards were announced, and I am very happy with the results!
The Margaret Mahy Book of the Year
This is an absolutely stunning visual history of New Zealand, full of information and beautiful illustrations. We have several copies of this book and will be enjoyed by students for reading for pleasure, by teachers for use in the classroom, and as a wonderful book to own and dip into whenever you feel like it. A worthy addition to every home I believe, excellent present for anybody. Can I say any more?
Best Picture Book
A firm favourite with our youngest junior classes, I am Jellyfish tells the tale of this unassuming creature who simply lives in the ocean and keeps herself to herself, until a hungry swordfish forces her into the depths. Our children recognised the lovely flowing words that fit beautifully with the bright and engaging illustrations, with most scoring it 5/5, 10/5 and even 1,000,000/5. Granny McFlitter and her penguin pyjamas must have been a close second, but I’m glad our junior favourite won the prize. Here’s our bar chart of results from their vote:
Best Junior Fiction
A plucky lead female character leads us through a tricky time in her life when she is desperate to become a Bee on her farm, a prestigious position where fruit trees are physically pollinated by children in lieu of the bees which have declined in numbers. A change in circumstance sees her working alongside her mother in the dreary and divided city, where an unlikely friendship keeps her on track. A look into the future of New Zealand without bees, this book has an ecological message but is actually mostly about grit and loyalty. A fantastic book for year 5-8.
Other award winners:
It has been a lot of fun reading the picture books with all of our junior classes and having interesting discussions about what makes one picture book better than another. I have handed some of the other finalists in the junior fiction category to year 5 and 6 students to read and shared the YA finalists around a great group of year 8 students who were willing to give them a go. All of the finalists and winners will be enjoyed in our library, in the classrooms and at home.