Local writers named finalists in book awards

New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults convenor of judges, Pam Jones. Photo supplied

Two local authors are among 35 finalists in this year’s New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.

Leonie Agnew of Pakuranga and Jennifer Beck of Howick, both award-winning authors, have been named as finalists for their works (The Impossible Boy ) in the junior fiction and (Torty and the Soldier) non-fiction categories respectively.

“This year’s shortlist reminds us that books are powerful vehicles for helping children make sense of their world and gain a better understanding of themselves and others,” says convenor of judges, Pam Jones.

“At times, the vividly descriptive writing was brutal and heart-breaking, providing moving portrayals of life through the eyes of children and teenagers.

“All finalist titles are convincing in their realism, skilfully laced with honour and honesty throughout.”

Many of the books submitted dealt with serious issues. War featured highly, alongside other topical themes like teenage pregnancy, surveillance, abuse, homelessness, racial tensions and bullying.

“Coming-of-age stories and characters that are living with extended family members highlighted the meaning of family and love,” Ms Jones says.

There were 152 entries submitted for the 2017 awards.

The Esther Glen Award for Junior Fiction finalists will capture the imagination of every young reader, either immersing them in another world or reality, giving them a problem or mystery to solve or causing a laugh-out-loud response to witty conversations, say the judges.

“We’re pleased to see these books feature an equal mix of strong male and female characters from different races, ethnicities and backgrounds.”

The Elsie Locke Award for Non-Fiction category attracted a variety of entries with topics ranging from bugs to biographies, and history to habitats. The judges note that a clear integration of text, graphics and illustrations meant that all books in this category attained a high quality of overall design.

The winners of the 2017 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults will be announced on the evening of Monday, August 14 in Wellington.

The finalists for the 2017 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults are:

Picture Book Award

  • Fuzzy Doodle, Melinda Szymanik, illustrated by Donovan Bixley, Scholastic NZ
  • Gwendolyn! Juliette MacIver, illustrated by Terri Rose Baynton, HarperCollins Publishers (ABC)
  • My Grandpa is a Dinosaur, Richard Fairgray and Terry Jones, illustrated by Richard Fairgray, Penguin Random House (Puffin)
  • That’s Not a Hippopotamus! Juliette MacIver, illustrated by Sarah Davis, Gecko Press
  • The Singing Dolphin/Te Aihe i Waiata, Mere Whaanga, Scholastic NZ

Esther Glen Award for Junior Fiction

  • Helper and Helper, Joy Cowley, illustrated by Gavin Bishop, Gecko Press
  • My New Zealand Story: Bastion Point, Tania Roxborogh, Scholastic NZ
  • Sunken Forest, Des Hunt, Scholastic NZ
  • The Discombobulated Life of Summer Rain, Julie Lamb, Makaro Press (Submarine)
  • The Impossible Boy, Leonie Agnew, Penguin Random House (Puffin)

Copyright Licensing NZ Award for Young Adult Fiction

  • Coming Home to Roost, Mary-anne Scott, Penguin Random House (Longacre)
  • Kiwis at War 1916: Dig for victory, David Hair, Scholastic NZ
  • Like Nobody’s Watching, LJ Ritchie, Escalator Press
  • Shooting Stars, Brian Falkner, Scholastic NZ
  • The Severed Land, Maurice Gee, Penguin Random House (Penguin)

Elsie Locke Award for Non-Fiction

  • From Moa to Dinosaurs: Explore & discover ancient New Zealand, Gillian Candler, illustrated by Ned Barraud, Potton & Burton
  • Jack and Charlie: Boys of the bush, Josh James Marcotte and Jack Marcotte, Penguin Random House (Puffin)
  • The Cuckoo and the Warbler, Kennedy Warne, illustrated by Heather Hunt, Potton & Burton
  • The Genius of Bugs, Simon Pollard, Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa (Te Papa Press)
  • Torty and the Soldier, Jennifer Beck, illustrated by Fifi Colston, Scholastic NZ

Russell Clark Award for Illustration

  • Fuzzy Doodle, illustrated by Donovan Bixley, written by Melinda Szymanik, Scholastic NZ
  • Gladys Goes to War, illustrated by Jenny Cooper, written by Glyn Harper, Penguin Random House (Puffin)
  • If I Was a Banana, illustrated by Kieran Rynhart, written by Alexandra Tylee, Gecko Press
  • Snark: Being a true history of the expedition that discovered the Snark and the Jabberwock . . . and its tragic aftermath, illustrated and written by David Elliot (after Lewis Carroll), Otago University Press
  • The Day the Costumes Stuck, illustrated and written by Toby Morris, Beatnik Publishing

Te Kura Pounamu Award for books written completely in te reo Maori

  • Nga Manu Tukutuku e Whitu o Matariki, Calico McClintock, illustrated by Dominique Ford, translated by Ngaere Roberts, Scholastic NZ
  • Ngarara Huarau, Maxine Hemi, Illustrated by Andrew Burdan, Huia Publishers
  • Te Haerenga Maia a Riripata i Te Araroa, Maris O’Rourke, illustrated by Claudia Pond Eyley, translated by Ani Wainui, David Ling Publishing (Duck Creek Press)
  • Te Kaihanga Mapere, Sacha Cotter, illustrated by Josh Morgan, translated by Kawata Teepa, Huia Publishers
  • Tuna raua ko Hiriwa, Ripeka Takotowai Goddard, illustrated by Kimberly Andrews, Huia Publishers

Best First Book Award

  • Awatea’s Treasure, Fraser Smith, Huia Publishers
  • Like Nobody’s Watching, LJ Ritchie, Escalator Press
  • The Discombobulation of Summer Rain, Julie Lamb, Makaro Press (Submarine)
  • The Mouse and the Octopus, written and illustrated by Lisala Halapua, Talanoa Books
  • Wars in the Whitecloud: Wairau, 1843, written and illustrated by Matthew H McKinley, Kin Publishing

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