'A work of art' wins the top prize at the NZ children's book awards

by The Listener / 08 August, 2018

Gavin Bishop with his prize-winning book Aotearoa: The New Zealand Story.

Veteran Christchurch writer and illustrator Gavin Bishop has added yet more honours to his vast collection winning the top prize at the 2018 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults, which were announced tonight at Te Papa in Wellington.

His historical overview Aotearoa: The New Zealand Story was named the country’s best book for young readers, winning the coveted Margaret Mahy Book of the Year prize, as well as the Elsie Locke Award for Non-Fiction.

The judges describe it as a book for every home, school and library, which can be read and re-read by all ages.

“It’s masterful in its execution – a work of art that bears repeated and thoughtful reading and viewing of its vibrant and informative illustrations, a book of enduring significance in the canon of New Zealand children’s literature. We’ve seen nothing quite like it in New Zealand children’s publishing,” said convener of judges Jeannie Skinner.

Six other significant awards were also presented at the ceremony attended by the country’s top children’s authors, illustrators, translators and publishers.

The junior and young adult fiction awards went to the same person. Bren MacDibble’s How to Bee won the Wright Family Foundation Esther Glen Award for Junior Fiction. MacDibble also claimed the Copyright Licensing Award for Young Adult Fiction with In the Dark Spaces, written under the pseudonym Cally Black.

The winners:

Margaret Mahy Book of the Year Award ($7500)

Aotearoa: The New Zealand Story, Written and illustrated by Gavin Bishop (Penguin Random House)

Picture Book Award ($7500)

I Am Jellyfish, Written and illustrated by Ruth Paul (Penguin Random House)

Wright Family Foundation Esther Glen Award for Junior Fiction ($7500)

How to Bee, by Bren MacDibble (Allen & Unwin)

Copyright Licencing Award for Young Adult Fiction ($7500)

In the Dark Spaces, by Cally Black (Hardie Grant Egmont)

Elsie Locke Award for Non-Fiction ($7500)

Aotearoa: The New Zealand Story, Written and illustrated by Gavin Bishop (Penguin Random House)

Russell Clark Award for Illustration ($7500)

Giants, Trolls, Witches, Beasts Written and illustrated by Craig Phillips (Allen & Unwin)

Best First Book Award ($2000)

My New Zealand Story: Dawn Raid, by Pauline (Vaeluaga) Smith (Scholastic New Zealand)

Wright Family Foundation Te Kura Pounamu Award for the best book in te reo Māori ($7500)

Tu Meke Tūī!, by Malcolm Clarke, translated Evelyn Tobin, illustrated by FLOX (aka Hayley King) (Mary Egan Publishing)

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