The Children's Book Council Awards shortlisted and notable lists were announced yesterday. These awards are the big kahuna in Australia in terms of all categories in children's literature.
Book of the Year: Older Readers Shortlist - 2009
CORNISH, D. M. - Monster Blood Tattoo Book Two: Lamplighter (Omnibus Books/Scholastic)
EATON, Anthony - Into White Silence (Woolshed Press / Random House)
FRENCH, Jackie - A Rose for the Anzac Boys (HarperCollins)
MARCHETTA, Melina - Finnikin of the Rock (Viking / Penguin)
MOLONEY, James - Kill the Possum (Penguin)
TAN, Shaun - Tales from Outer Suburbia (Allen & Unwin)
Book of the Year: Younger Readers Shortlist - 2009
BATESON, Catherine - The Wish Pony (Woolshed Press / Random House)
FUSSELL, Sandy - Polar Boy (Walker Books)
GLEITZMAN, Morris - Then (Viking / Penguin)
HARRIS, Christine Illus: JAMES, Ann - Audrey of the Outback (Little Hare Books)
MILLARD, GlendaIllus: KING, Stephen Michael - Perry Angel's Suitcase (ABC Books)
RODDA, Emily - The Wizard of Rondo (Omnibus Books)
I have had three of the nominated and notable authors on my site as blogging phenoms! Melina Marchetta's up for Finnikin of the Rock. She is continuing her history of being short listed in these awards. YAY MM!
Sandy Fussell, who you might remember from the Author Spotlight about her series, Samurai Kids, was shortlisted in the Younger Readers category. To which I say, congrats Sandy, you deserve it, mon ami!
Lastly, my friend Mo Johnson. She that shares her name with another prolific YA author, hence the 'Mo' - although there should be room for two Maureen Johnsons, shouldn't there? Mo was deemed 'notable' in the Older Reader's category for her debut novel, Boofheads. Boofheads has been the Aussie novel that has really grasped most of your attention here on PSnark so obviously the CBCA judging panel is somewhat in accord with us (she should be on the main list). Take a bow, Mrs J!
And now for some of my gripes:
I have felt, as a person in daily contact with the core audience (aka kids), that the awards have been a little wobbly in the last few years. Kids, more often than not, like the winner the least. (I am saying this from my experience in country and city schools.) While this may not be much of a factor in the novels that I have just listed, this is very much the case with the Picture Books.
I also think it's problematic that a core group of 4-6 judges decide the shortlist and winners for all categories:
- Older Readers
- Younger Reader
- Early Childhood
- Picture Books
- Eve Pownall Award for Information Books
I read a lot of YA novels...a lot... but I don't pretend to know anything near to everything about them. I just don't recognise many of the books on the lists. I don't mean that the winner should be popular, although recognition would be nice, but there has to be a better way. It also means that I should be reading more...but I don't know how that is humanly possible.
It makes much more sense that five groups of 4-6 judges read everything produced for a specific category and decide. I am sitting here, typing away and I really have no right to complain.
I haven't joined the CBCA.
I don't know the people on the judging panel. They are from all states in Australia, which is great. But do they represent all age brackets? Do they represent the scope of Australian readers?
I just know that teachers, in staff rooms, have been complaining furiously over the Picture Book choices the last few years as the selections aren't in touch with the core audience. My point is - these awards are about books for kids - how many of them are actually liked by kids. Metaphors and social issues are great but if they fly over the heads of the core audience, are they really fitting the criteria of being the book of the year for writers of kid-centric work?
My sincerest congratulations to the ladies that are kicking butt on these lists. I love your work and am very glad they have been recognised. Crossing my fingers for a win.