Anzac Heroes by Maria Gill Wins Margaret Mahy Book of the Year
8 Aug 2016
“Simply stunning, with gold-standard production values,” say the judges of the winner of this year’s Margaret Mahy Book of the Year Award in the prestigious New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults. ANZAC Heroes is also the winner of the Elsie Locke Award for the Best Book in the Non-Fiction category.
Maria Gill’s book ANZAC Heroes, illustrated by Marco Ivancic and published by Scholastic New Zealand, is a collaboration between writer and illustrator at its best. From nurse and pilot to soldier and spy, this book offers a beautifully arranged cast of ANZAC heroes from World War I and World War 2, and includes lifelike illustrations with maps, a medal room, fact boxes, index and a glossary. Each hero has a personal story and timeline.
Fiona Mackie, convenor of the judging panel says, “ANZAC Heroes was impossible to put down. The book brings to life the people who risked everything, left everything and lost everything as they participated in World Wars 1 and 2. There’s carefully chosen material, never overwhelming the reader, but not skimping on detail either. The meticulous research brings these heroes to life creating the perfect book package. Readers will learn an amazing amount about the people who represented, fought and, sometimes, died for us.”
The 2016 judging panel was convened by teacher-librarian, Fiona Mackie; librarian, Kathy Aloniu; and author Melinda Szymanik. In addition, English academic, Professor Martin Salisbury was the advisor for the Russell Clark Illustration Award. Professor Salisbury is the Professor of Illustration at Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge, UK; he leads its MA Children’s Book Illustration programme that he established in 2000. He has been a member of the international jury for a number of illustration and picture book awards.
The te reo Māori entries were judged by librarians Te Rangi Tangohau and Lawren Matrix, and Auckland Museum’s Senior Outreach Programmer, Mereana Taungapeau. The convenor of the te reo Māori panel was University of Auckland Kaitiaki Māori librarian Riki-Lee Saua.
The winners of the 2016 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults and HELL Children’s Choice Awards were announced at a ceremony at Wellington’s Circa Theatre on the evening of Monday, 8 August. The Awards are a unique celebration of the contribution New Zealand’s children’s authors and illustrators make to build national identity and cultural heritage.
The Best First Book Award winners are Sophie Siers and Helen Kerridge for Allis the little tractor. A perfect blend of text and illustration, the judges thought this book had a nostalgic feel without being old-fashioned. “The book is understated, gentle and warm.”
Patricia Grace wins the Te Kura Pounamu Award for the best book in te reo Māori with Whiti te ra! Translated by Kawata Teepa, this book shares the history behind New Zealand’s most famous haka, Ka Mate. The judges acclaimed this book: “Its stunning artwork and simple language are used to convey an inspiring message of overcoming challenges. Suitable for all ages, this book is a riveting read that will capture hearts and minds.”
The Little Kiwi’s Matariki, written and illustrated by Nikki Slade Robinson, is the winner of the Picture Book Award. Little Kiwi takes the reader on a rapid journey, rousing the forest creatures from their slumber as she urges them to come and see the most wonderful sight. English and te reo Māori are blended together naturally and comfortably in this winning book.
Wellington author Kate De Goldi wins the Esther Glen Award for Junior Fiction with From the Cutting Room of Barney Kettle. “Surprising, gripping, heart-breaking and ultimately incredibly moving, this novel stood out right from the start. This book is packed with warmth, wonderful language, rich and witty observations, compelling characters and layers of message and meaning,” the judges commented.
Brian Falkner’s Battlesaurus: Rampage at Waterloo is the winner of the Young Adult Fiction Award. This book draws the reader into a world both familiar and unfamiliar – a battle between England and France, at Waterloo, with a plot-altering twist – dinosaurs as weaponry! The judges said that the convincing plot made them believe that Napoleon actually had saurs at the battle of Waterloo, and the cliff-hanger ending left them desperate to find out more.
Taupo illustrator Donovan Bixley wins the Russell Clark Award for Illustration in Much Ado About Shakespeare. The judges commended this book for its tremendous achievement. “Each illustration tells a story that rewards close examination, providing a rich experience for readers, with the added bonus of a lovingly curated lesson in art history. These illustrations are a technical tour de force.”
The full list of winners of the 2016 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults is:
Margaret Mahy Book of the Year and winner of the Elsie Locke Award for Non-Fiction Prizes: $7,500 for the Margaret Mahy Book of the Year and $7,500 for the Non-Fiction Award ANZAC Heroes, by Maria Gill, illustrated by Marco Ivancic (Scholastic New Zealand)
Best First Book Award: Prize $2,000 Allis the little tractor, by Sophie Siers, illustrated by Helen Kerridge (Millwood-Heritage Productions)
Te Kura Pounamu Award for the best book in te reo Māori: Prize $7,500 Whiti te rā! by Patricia Grace, translated by Kawata Teepa, illustrated by Andrew Burdan (Huia Publishers)
Picture Book Award: Prize $7,500 The Little Kiwi’s Matariki, written and illustrated by Nikki Slade Robinson; David Ling Publishing (Duck Creek Press)
Esther Glen Award for Junior Fiction: Prize $7,500 From the Cutting Room of Barney Kettle, by Kate De Goldi; Penguin Random House (Longacre)
Young Adult Fiction Award: Prize $7,500 Battlesaurus: Rampage at Waterloo, by Brian Falkner; Pan Macmillan Australia (Farrar Straus Giroux)
Russell Clark Award for Illustration: Prize $7,500 Much Ado About Shakespeare, illustrated by Donovan Bixley; Upstart Press
New Zealand children enthusiastically voted for their own specially selected finalists’ list for this year’s HELL Children’s Choice Awards. Each book wins $1,000. The winners are:
Te reo Māori Te Hua Tuatahi a Kuwi, written and illustrated by Kat Merewether, and translated by Pānia Papa (Illustrated Publishing)
Picture Book The House on the Hill, by Kyle Mewburn, illustrated by Sarah Davis (Scholastic New Zealand)
Junior Fiction The Girl Who Rode the Wind, by Stacy Gregg (Harper Collins)
Non-Fiction First to the Top, by David Hill, illustrated by Phoebe Morris; Penguin Random House (Puffin)
Young Adult Fiction Stray, by Rachael Craw (Walker Books)
HELL general manager Ben Cumming says HELL is delighted at the response to this year’s HELL Children’s Choice. “As sponsors of the Children’s Choice Awards, and champions of child literacy, we are really encouraged to see how invested young readers are in Kiwi literature. Getting kids excited about books is exactly why we’ve been involved with the Awards for the past three years, and why we continue to drive our Reading Challenge through schools and libraries across the country.
“We’d like to thank everyone who voted this year, and to congratulate the winners picked from what was a rich and varied group of shortlisted titles. Creativity is at the heart of what HELL stands for and, more importantly, it is what drives young readers to keep picking up books and be inspired.”
Fiona Mackie says the judges were heartened by high quality of books, and the number of first-time authors and illustrators who submitted their books for the awards. “We were also impressed with the high standards of publication from smaller or niche publishers who are creating material that rivals the well-established publishers. On behalf of the judges, I want to say that being able to read, appreciate and enjoy the best literature in New Zealand for children and young adults is an amazing privilege. With increasing sales of books for children and young adults over the past year, the New Zealand book industry is in fine fettle.”
The New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults could not exist without the generosity, commitment and vision of its sponsors. The New Zealand Book Award Trust is grateful to all these organisations for their support: Creative New Zealand, HELL Pizza, Copyright Licensing Limited, Book Tokens (NZ) Ltd, Wellington City Council, Nielsen Book Services and the Fernyhough Education Foundation.
The New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults are administered by the New Zealand Book Council on behalf of the New Zealand Book Awards Trust.
For more information, please contact Adrienne Olsen, publicist for the awards: