The Children’s Book Council of Australia today (February 23) kicked off its quest for Book of the Year by announcing the Notables List.
CBCA National Chair Wendy Rapee said it was a year when we needed stories more than ever, and our storytellers came through with a record-breaking number of tales offering touchstones of comfort and stepping stones to guide young Australians through tumultuous times.
“Our creators and publishers also had a difficult year, and I’m thrilled the CBCA Book of the Year received 526 entries – once again breaking records and demonstrating the continuing strength of the Australian children’s book industry,” Ms Rapee said.
“In keeping with the CBCA Book Week theme for 2021, ‘Old Worlds, New Worlds, Other Worlds’, our 95 Notable books offer beautiful and challenging representations of Australia’s people, landscapes and histories. They feature contemporary and ancient themes told in many different voices, including the voices of our Indigenous peoples.
“This year’s entries show a real depth of understanding about young Australians and the way they think. As well as food and talking animals, which will always be at the heart of younger children’s books, the Notables celebrate ways of exploring new realities – the after-effects of the bushfires, homelessness and non-traditional families, for example.”
Ms Rapee had special advice for parents and teachers of young adults.
“If you’d like to know what concerns, or provokes passion, within your high school child or student, then we encourage you to share a book from the Older Reader category with them. They are the perfect vehicle to start a conversation, share insights, and ultimately, reach an understanding of the challenges, fears and joys of our young minds. Pick one for your book club and you will be rewarded with a rich reading experience.”
Mother and daughter authors Pamela and Allison Rushby have separate titles in this year’s Younger Readers Notables List, joining a standout group of dedicated and experienced writers in the category including former CBCA Book of the Year winners Kate Constable, Bren MacDibble and Sally Murphy.
Also on the 2021 Notables List are former CBCA Book of the Year Award winners Bronwyn Bancroft, Freya Blackwood, Jackie French, Bob Graham, Libby Hathorn, Dub Leffler, Alison Lester, Garth Nix, Jaclyn Moriarty, and Margaret Wild. Debut novelists include Anna Whateley and Julianne Negri.
Many of this year’s Early Childhood books departed from the fantastical settings of previous years and are positioned in the real world. This year, a particular strength has been bold and quirky designs and illustrations that invite young readers to reach out and touch the pages. Written to be read aloud and performed, these books encourage the growth of visual literacy in the very young while giving adult readers a lot of joy.
The CBCA is a not-for-profit, volunteer-run organisation which aims to engage the community with literature for young Australians.
Regarded as Australia’s most prestigious children’s literature award, the CBCA Book of the Year was established in 1946 and is now presented in six categories: Older Readers, Younger Readers, Early Childhood, Picture Book, Eve Pownall Award and CBCA Award for New Illustrator.
Head to our Notables page for the full list.
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