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The Bomb goes off at this year's NZ kids' book awards

Josh Morgan and Sacha Cotter. Photo/Supplied
The Bomb is a kids’ book about making the biggest splash and it’s done just that at the 2019 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults. The book written by Sacha Cotter and illustrated by Josh Morgan has won the highest prize – The Margaret Mahy Book of the Year – as well as the Picture Book Award.

The Bomb is the story of a boy searching for the secret of how to do the perfect bomb, who gets help in his high-diving quest from his grandmother, a former champion of the pursuit.

“Joy and humour permeate the story and illustrations of The Bomb, and the reader is rewarded with each encounter – they see a new layer, another detail is revealed, fresh energy bubbles up,” said convenor of judges Crissi Blair. The judges also commended the book for its use of te reo Māori and illustrations of a multicultural community.

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The author-illustrator duo of Cotter and Morgan, who recently became engaged and had their first child, won two $7500 prizes with their awards.

Among the other awards announced at a ceremony at Te Papa in Wellington was a win for a book based on the works of another major gallery. Art-tastic, Sarah Pepperle’s educational work based on the collection of the Christchurch Art Gallery, won the Elsie Locke Award for Non-Fiction. It also won Pepperle the Best First Book Award.

Melbourne-based Bren MacDibble won the Wright Family Foundation Esther Glen Award for Junior Fiction for the second year running with eco-drama The Dog Runner, a story set in a rural Australia where a fungus has killed all the crops.

Playwright and novelist Whiti Hereaka won the Young Adult Fiction Award for Legacy, a book about life as a WWI Māori soldier.

The full list of winners for the 2019 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults:

Margaret Mahy Book of the Year Award $7500

The Bomb, Sacha Cotter, illustrated by Josh Morgan (Huia Publishers)

Picture Book Award $7500

The Bomb, Sacha Cotter, illustrated by Josh Morgan (Huia Publishers)

Wright Family Foundation Esther Glen Award for Junior Fiction $7500

The Dog Runner, Bren MacDibble (Allen & Unwin)

Young Adult Fiction Award $7500

Legacy, Whiti Hereaka (Huia Publishers)

Elsie Locke Award for Non-Fiction $7500

Art-tastic, Sarah Pepperle (Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū)

Russell Clark Award for Illustration $7500

Puffin the Architect, written and illustrated by Kimberly Andrews (Penguin Random House)

Wright Family Foundation Te Kura Pounamu Award for te reo Māori $7500

Te Haka a Tānerore, Reina Kahukiwa, illustrated by Robyn Kahukiwa, translated by Kiwa Hammond (Mauri Tū)

Best First Book Award $2000

Art-tastic, Sarah Pepperle (Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetū)