#10: Marcus Zusak. Best known, these days, for The Book Thief, which has been translated into forty languages and been turned into a very good movie. But he has been on the CBCA shortlist for other books and that one works fine as a YA novel. I remember hearing him speak at a school library conference once, years ago, before he became an international bestselling author. He'd written his first novel and I swear, he looked about sixteen! He was young, though not quite that young, and I bought he book to support a new local author. He's come a long way since then. I doubt a local library conference could afford him these days.
#9 Andy Griffiths. When I started my school library career, the big name in funny children's books was Paul Jennings. Paul was our Roald Dahl, but nicer. Nowadays, he has been more or less replaced by Andy Griffiths, who writes the Treehouse books, the Schooling Around series, the Just series and the series that began with The Day My Bum Went Psycho. (In the U.S., that's "Butt", as "bum" has a different meaning in American slang). He understands what makes kids laugh out loud and is rewarded every year when kids vote him their favourite in the Young Australian Best Book Awards. A delightful writer - and such a nice man! I have been lucky enough to meet him a couple of times. Once, when I mentioned my disadvantaged school, he gave me a signed set of the new edition of Schooling Around for the library, which was great, because the individual novels were always going missing.
#6. Anh Do. We have several of his funny WeirDo novels for children. His autobiography, The Happiest Refugee, is the class text for Year 9, and the kids actually like it. Given how many refugees we have at my school, I think they can relate. But in general, they enjoy it, even the EAL kids.
#5. John Marsden. Best known for the YA series, Tomorrow When The War Began, but has written quite a lot more. There was a film made of the first one and one of the cast later went on to play the role of Phryne Fisher's maid Dot. It's a powerful series and at one time it was hardly ever on the shelves. Not as popular now, but a few years ago, when I took some students to the local launch of the National Year Of Reasing, he was the guest speaker and there were plenty of kids there. The author actually gave away copies of his books and signed them. Nice!
#3. This one is for my American librarian friend Pamela, who is a fan - Mem Fox! Mem is the author of the classic Possum Magic, about a little possum who has been turned invisible and who has to eat his way through Australian foods in various states to recover his visibility.
#2. Tim Winton. Best known for his adult books, but also the author of the classic Lockie Leonard YA novels, set in Western Australia, with a surfing theme. The first was on our Year 8 list at one stage. A mother objected, because there is a scene where the hero has a wet dream. She withdrew her objection after one of our staff had a chat with her, explaining about the book. It is funny and sad and sweet and the sea is almost a character.
#1. Matthew Reilly. I probably don't need to explain him. He is tremendously well known and popular for all those extremely violent books. I must admit, I'm no fan of his; I managed to get through about 250 pages of Temple. People were getting killed and things blown up on every page - and no one cared. When a character sacrificed himself for another character and she didn't even blink let alone mourn him, I threw my copy against the wall and never read anything else of his again. But teenage boys enjoy his work. The ones at my school who want to read his books tend to have their own copies, though I'd buy them on request. I am in a minority here, I confess. But this year, he is Australia's most popular author. Congratulations, Matthew!