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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

This Year's CBCA Awards Go To...

And here they are. I only buy the Older and Younger Readers books for my library, and I confess I haven't read them all. Of the Older Readers winners this year, I have read two. The first is Sea Hearts, a beautiful book which has already won a swag of awards, including both Best Fantasy and Best YA in the Aurealis Awards for speculative fiction. Whether it's YA I don't know. I don't think it is, really, though good on Margo Lanagan for getting a fantasy novel winning in the CBCAs! I have had a copy in my library for some time. It has been borrowed once, and I don't think Paige, a very good, intelligent reader, liked it much. And I do promote it. The author herself grumbles a little about still being called a YA writer after all these years. Personally, I don't know why any writer would want to write for adults when they're good enough to write for kids, but there you are.

The second is The Ink Bridge, which is terribly sad, with a horrible scene in which one of the two young heroes gets his tongue torn out by the Taliban. One of my Year 8 students is reading it now, because she's bingeing on refugee fiction and she's already read the Morris Gleitzmans and the Deborah Ellis and such and the literacy co-ordinator thinks she's ready for something more advanced. Not sure what I'll find for her after this. I'll be interested to hear her opinion on it.

I have not finished Friday Brown, but have it in my bag as I travel to work.

There's something terribly depressing about most of the books in this year's shortlist, actually. And I don't like depressing. There's enough tragedy in the real world as it is without adding it to fiction. Granted, kids sometimes like depressing books - I can remember being asked for one by a student once: "Can you suggest a depressing book, Miss?" I looked at him and when I saw he meant it, I found him a copy of Margaret Clarke's Care Factor Zero. A suicide on the last page, you can't get much more depressing than that!

My students were disappointed that Morris Gleitzman's After didn't make even an Honour Book in the Younger Readers winners. Many of them come from primary school having read Once, Then and sometimes Now and grab this one eagerly to finish off the series; Gleitzman's books are sad, but not depressing. I have read and quite enjoyed Pennies For Hitler, but not, yet, The Children Of The King. One of our students borrowed it, so it's out. I have heard a bit about it, but not got around to reading it. I am sorry to say I'm not a fan of Sonya Hartnett, who is too depressing for my taste. The only book of hers I enjoyed was The Silver Donkey, and that was spoiled for me during a radio interview, when she said that the pilot who told those lovely stories to the children was probably shot for desertion when he got back to England. And she said this is what she tells children on her school visits! In other words, it has to be depressing, even if you don't have that bit in the book itself. And in case you read this, Sonya, and put in a comment, as writers with Google Alert do, there's nothing personal here. I just don't enjoy depressing books and I'm really not into literary fiction. You can't please everybody, eh? ;-)

I know that she has won about a million awards and good luck to her, wish I had even one! I just don't see why some folk can't understand that you can make a serious point using humour, for example Terry Pratchett. Surely we have some local equivalents?

I have known some of the CBCA judges and have nothing but respect for the job they do. I doubt if I could read hundreds of books in the time they get, write reports for them all and make a shortlist. And I can't deny their good taste in giving two of my books Notables. ;-) (Of course, I would have preferred a shortlisting...)But I don't often understand what they have in mind when they choose. Sometimes they get it beautifully right, others...I disagree with them. And the beautiful In The Beech Forest didn't make it for the Crichtons or even get a Notable. Why? There is a report, but you have to buy it and that's something I haven't had time to do; if it was available in a bookshop I would, but I was never even able to get it at the Children's Book Week Fair when it was going.

I haven't had time even to do my annual Book Week trivia quiz, as I have to finish applications for a student scholarship that has to be in this week, so I will have a small Book Club party at lunchtime today.

What do you think of this year's list?

Author Title Publisher
WINNER Lanagan, Margo Sea Hearts Allen & Unwin
HONOUR Grant, Neil The Ink Bridge Allen & Unwin
HONOUR Wakefield, Vikki Friday Brown Text Publishing
Younger Readers Book of the Year 2013

NOTE: These books are intended for independent younger readers
Author Title Publisher
WINNER Hartnett, Sonya The Children of the King Viking Books, Penguin Group (Australia)
HONOUR French, Jackie Pennies for Hitler Angus & Robertson Harper Collins Publishers
HONOUR Millard, Glenda
Ill. Stephen Michael King The Tender Moments of Saffron Silk ABC Books, HarperCollins
Early Childhood Book of the Year 2013

NOTE: Intended for children in the pre-reading to early reading stages
Author Title Publisher
WINNER Allen, Emma
Ill. Freya Blackwood The Terrible Suitcase Omnibus Books, Scholastic Press, Scholastic Australia
HONOUR Cox, Tania
Ill. Karen Blair With Nan Windy Hollow Books
HONOUR Dubosarsky, Ursula
Ill. Andrew Joyner Too Many Elephants in This House Viking Books, Penguin Group (Australia)
Picture Book of the Year 2013

NOTE: Intended for an audience ranging from birth to 18 years. Some books may be for mature readers
Author Title Publisher
WINNER Brooks, Ron
Julie Hunt The Coat Allen & Unwin
HONOUR Gordon, Gus Herman and Rosie Viking Books, Penguin Group (Australia)
HONOUR Lester, Alison Sophie Scott Goes South Viking Books, Penguin Group (Australia)
Eve Pownall Book of the Year 2013

NOTE: Intended for an audience ranging from birth to 18 years. Some books may be for mature readers
Author Title Publisher
WINNER Weidenbach, Kristin
Ill. Ide, Timothy Tom the Outback Mailman Lothian Children’s Books, Hachette Australia
HONOUR Kerin, Jackie
Ill. Gouldthorpe, Peter Lyrebird! A True Story Museum Victoria
HONOUR Murray, Kirsty Topsy-turvy World: How Australian Animals Puzzled Early Explorers National Library of Australia

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