About the CBCA Book of the Year

The annual CBCA Book of the Year Awards affirm the quality of some of Australia’s most creative people and provides a boost to their capacity to devote time to their craft.

Established with the first awards in 1946, the annual CBCA Book of the Year Awards aim to:

  • promote quality literature for young Australians
  • support and encourage a wide range of Australian writers and illustrators of children’s books
  • celebrate contributions to Australian children’s literature.


Throughout the life of the Awards, a number of valued sponsors assisted with funding the monetary prizes. However, in the financial climate in the 1990s it became increasingly difficult to attract sponsorship. So in its golden anniversary year, the CBCA established an Awards Foundation (AF) with a one million dollar goal which was realised in 2006. The future and independence of the Awards are now secure but diligent financial management and growth of the capital investment with further donations are vital, to ensure their ongoing viability. Prizes for the CBCA Book of the Year Awards are funded from the interest earned by the investments of the CBCA Awards Foundation. None of the principal is used for any purpose other than investment to earn the highest return. Read more about our awards foundation here


Printed books are assessed primarily for outstanding literary merit, including cohesiveness in significant literary elements; language chosen for its appropriateness to the theme and style of the work with proper regard to the aesthetic qualities of language; and originality in the treatment of literary elements as they apply to the form of the work.

The Children’s Book Council of Australia Awards are for books with an implied readership under the age of eighteen.

There are five categories in the CBCA Book of the Year Awards: 

CBCA Book of the Year: Older Readers

Entries in this category are for outstanding books for young people aged between 13 and 18 years (secondary school level). Readers require a degree of maturity to appreciate the themes and scope of emotional involvement. Books in this category may be fiction, drama, illustrated text, poetry or graphic novels. Judging takes into account the literary qualities of the text, editing and book production.


CBCA Book of the Year: Younger Readers

Entries in this category are for outstanding books published for children in the age range from 8 to 12 years (Primary school level). Books may be fiction, drama, graphic novels, illustrated text or poetry. Judging takes into account the literary qualities of the text, editing and book production.


CBCA Book of the Year: Early Childhood

Entries in this category are for outstanding books suitable in content and style for pre and beginning readers (Pre school and infants level). These include works of fiction, poetry, wordless, board and concept books. The illustration/s reflect/s all the text on the page and often do not add extra meaning to the storyline. The font size and style, rhythm and meter of the text are important. Clear design, layout and editing are also important.


CBCA Picture Book of the Year

Entries in this category should be outstanding books of the genre in which the text and illustrations achieve artistic and literary unity and the story, theme or concept is enhanced and unified through the illustrations. Picture Books can be for any age. A picture book can be written and illustrated by a sole creator or a collaborative effort between two or more creators. The text and illustrations work cohesively. The illustrations are an integral part of, or extend the action on the page. The illustrations are either as important as the text or more important and can be enjoyed separately from the text. Illustrator/s that have taken an existing piece of work and produced new illustrations that enhance that text can only be entered in this category.


The Eve Pownall Award for Information Books

Entries in this category should be books which have the prime purpose of documenting factual material with consideration given to imaginative presentation, interpretation and variation of style. Books are judged on the balance and harmony of language style and presentation, graphic excellence, clarity, appropriateness and aesthetic appeal of illustrations, and the overall design of the book. Referencing of sources are important, as are inclusion of a contents page, index, bibliography and glossary which enhance the reader’s experience. Autobiographies and biographies are entered in this category. Age range for this category is 0 to 18 years.

Awards Announcements


The list of CBCA Notable Australian Children’s Books is celebrated at the CBCA Night of the Notables in each CBCA Branch on the last Tuesday in February and published on the CBCA website at 7pm.

In 2018 the Notable books will be published on our website on 27 February at 7pm AEST. 

For more information about the Notables Announcement in 2018 visit the Branch website in your own State or Territory.           

Short List

The Short List is published on the CBCA website 12 noon AEST, the last Tuesday in March.

In 2018 the Short List will be announced on 27 March.

Winner and Honour Books

The Winner & Honour recipients receive their Awards at a public function organised by a Branch on the third Friday in August at 12 noon. The Winner & Honour books are published on the CBCA website at 12 noon AEST, the third Friday in August.

In 2017 the Winners will be announced on 18 August. 

In 2018 the Winners will be announced on 17 August.