2023 Book of the Year Awards announced

Announcing the Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Book of the Year Awards 2023 


The Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) today announced the winners of the CBCA 2023 Book of the Year Awards. These prestigious annual awards continue to celebrate and honour quality Australian literature for young people.  

Entries across the six categories presented powerful, polished, and professionally produced books that enrich the imaginations of readers. Our publishers also deserve this accolade.   

In 2023 the CBCA judges acknowledged powerful new voices, literary forms and artists presenting challenging themes including immigration, illness, and concern for our environment. This incredible array of talent ensures our quality award-winning books will create discussion and debate as much as it will be cause for celebration.  

CBCA National Chair Wendy Rapee said, "We are thrilled. In 2023 particularly we want to champion these powerful stories because they respect our young readers and the value they place on strong friendships and family bonds." 

Following the Book of the Year Award announcements, CBCA Book Week runs from 19-25 August. In 2023 the theme is "Read, Grow, Inspire". 

The CBCA Sun Project: Shadowers’ Choice Award winners, chosen by participating students will be announced on Friday 25th August. 

For the full list of CBCA Book of the Year 2023 Award and Honour books, please see below or visit the CBCA website here.  

To arrange an interview with winning authors and illustrators, or CBCA Chair Wendy Rapee 

please contact Debbie McInnes at DMCPR MEDIA on  

T: 02 9550 9207 E: debbie@dmcpr.com.au M: 0412 818 071  


Read some of the abbreviated comments that the judges had to say about some of the books. 

The CBCA Book of the Year: Older Readers

Neverlanders by Tom Taylor   

A contemporary "found family" tale embedded within the metatextuality of a Peter Pan narrative with a clever, action-oriented storyline and gloriously rich illustrations. Discerning readers will unpack the hints of the adults' destruction of the world, parental failure, gun violence and domestic violence to add a more serious dimension to the fantasy plot. A stunning book with a potent message wrapped up in a ripping good yarn package. 

The CBCA Book of the Year: Younger Readers

Runt by Craig Silvey  

The plot and characters are presented simply, yet they are complex, strong, witty, and evoke a reflection on life’s meaning, purpose and what is truly important. This book is about the struggles of country life but also about community. The use of language and humorously named villains have the reader cheering for Annie and Runt's success. This delightful story of human spirit, family love and communal support is perfect for the Younger Readers age group.  

The CBCA Book of the Year: Early Childhood

Where the Lyrebird Lives written by Vikki Conley and illustrated by Max Hamilton  

This book delights and entices from beginning to end. Lush green fills the pages, beautifully capturing the setting of cool climate forests. The sparse descriptive narrative sets a gentle pace and reads aloud well. Readers are encouraged to slow down, listen and look. Metaphors and similes add richness, and the enlarged text for action words and onomatopoeia increases engagement. A well-crafted narrative that encourages children to read aloud themselves.  

The CBCA Picture Book of the Year

My Strange Shrinking Parents by Zeno Sworder 

This book is a celebration and fresh perspective on love and self-denial, which many children of immigrant families may recognise, and for other children should help build empathy. Every part of this book has been crafted with enormous care. The artwork situates itself within an Eastern aesthetic, while still giving voice to a surreal reality of immigrant life. The metaphor of size is repeated in the images beautifully reflecting the sacrifices the parents have made so that their child can grow in a new place, with new opportunities. 

The Eve Pownall Award

DEEP: Dive into Hidden Worlds by Jess McGeachin 

This imaginatively presented hardback reference book seamlessly brings together a large variety of information about the unseen elements of Earth’s sea and land life, outer space and the human body. The integration of text and illustrations is very cleverly managed, and the layout of the content works both as a dip-in-dip-out resource, as well as a read-through narrative. The front cover is incredibly appealing, and overall, this non-stereotypical information book is of a very high quality that will sustain readers’ interest throughout. 

The CBCA Award for New Illustrator

This was won by Sally Soweol Han for her complimentary visual storytelling in Tiny Wonders. 

What's next for CBCA? 

Following the Book of the Year Award announcements, CBCA Book Week runs from 19-25 August. In 2023 the theme is "Read, grow, inspire" which has been beautifully brought to life through the illustrations of the amazingly talented Matt Ottley. 

For the full list of CBCA Book of the Year 2023 Award and Honour books, please visit the CBCA website (cbca.org.au/winners-2023). For details of the CBCA Awards Foundation and to make a donation, visit https://cbca.org.au/awards-foundation. 

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