Friday, August 15, 2008

Children's book honours kicks off children's book week

The Children's Book Council announced this year's winners of its annual children's book awards this afternoon. Melbourne author Sonja Hartnett won the award for book of the year for older readers for her latest work, The Ghost's Child (published by Penguin Australia).

This tops off a fantastic year for Hartnett, who earlier won the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, the world's richest award for literature for children and young adults.

I remember reading a press report of the awards ceremony in Sweden in May where Hartnett commented that children's writing, and children's authors, are not take as seriously in Australia as they are in Europe (despite hunting, I couldn't find the story online). I'm uncertain how telling an indicator of this it would be, but it would be interesting to see if The Age's Saturday arts, books and culture supplement, A2, will cover the Australian Children's Book Awards winners in its edition tomorrow. Or how much.

Bookwitch has a story on Hartnett's Swedish prize adventures and her writing.

Here are the other prize winners for this year's Children's Book Awards:
Carole Wilkinson’s Dragon Moon won the prize for Younger Readers, while Aaron Blabey’s Pearl Barley and Charlie Parsley won Early Childhood Book of the Year.

Meanwhile, Matt Ottley’s Requiem For A Beast won the Picture Book of the Year, an award Shaun Tan
won last year for The Arrival. The Children's Book Council (and various booksellers) have to keep reminding buyers that the Picture Book of the Year is not necessarily suitable for all age groups – as picture books are not just for young children!

What I found pretty interesting about this year's awards is that the winner of the Eve Pownall Award for Informational Books was a book about books – Parsley Rabbit’s Book About Books, by Frances Watts and illustrator David Legge.

I haven't come across it before, but the ABC Shop’s website describes it this way:
“Celebrate the joy of reading and begin a lifelong love of books with the delightful Parsley Rabbit and his pesky little brother, Basil. Lively and entertaining, it features a remarkably clever and handsome rabbit and is full of fun, flaps to flip and questions to share. Parsley introduces children to books - from the cover, to the imprint page to the title page, formats, style and more - and takes the reader on a hilarious and stimulating journey through the world of books. An absolute treasure of a book for children from 3 – 7 years."
What a wonderful way to introduce children to the art and process of making and enjoying books, and not just reading them (or having them read).

And a wonderful way to kick of this year's Children's Book Week (also a CBCA initiative), which starts tomorrow. It is a week of activities that lots of book stores, schools, libraries and authors and illustrators get into each year to encourage the joy and wonder of books in children and to celebrate books for children and young people. But this is not just something to be left to teachers, librarians,
authors and illustrators.

This year, I'm going to buy a couple of children's books for my two sons and add them to the long lists of books they enjoy reading/having read to them each evening.

What are you going to do for Children's Book Week this year?

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2 Comments:

At August 16, 2008 11:27 pm, Blogger Debstar said...

That was an interesting piece on Sonja Hartnett. Funny how she thought Thursdays Child was one of her best books. If I had read that one first I never would have read another book of hers. As it is I liked Devil Latch most.

 
At August 20, 2008 2:19 pm, Anonymous Degraves said...

What are we going to do?

Throw out all books with pull-out features until kidlet doesn't tear them out anymore, for a start...

 

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