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New Zealand Children’s Book Awards 2017

May 8, 2017

Finalists / Winners: New Zealand Book Awards for Children  & Young Adults 2017

Tararua District Library’s  annual quiz for children Year 7/8 will be based on the  ‘HELL Children’s Choice Award’ finalists below. Details about this hotly contested quiz were sent out to schools at the beginning of Term 3, and the quiz will be held 16 August 2017, at 6.30pm.  Registration is essential – please contact your local library for an entry form.

Young Adult titles will not be included in the quiz.  Only the first 10 physical pages of non-fiction books will be quizzed also.

For more information about the titles you can check this website



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    Fuzzy Doodle

    Written by Melinda Szymanik and illustrated by Donovan Bixley

    An uplifting story about imagination, and a rather wonderful caterpillar. It has magic and charm, evocative language and rhyme which echoes Margaret Mahy. Fuzzy’s character is built up by great illustrations from Donovan Bixley. With surprising, interesting design and illustrations, Fuzzy Doodle is a book you can read and read again, discovering something new each time.

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    Written by Juliette MacIver and illustrated by Terri Rose Baynton

    Gwendolyn the penguin has her niche — it just happens to be in the jungle, where she advises others about how to be happy. Her friends adore her, and immediately become concerned when Gwendolyn worries that she is missing out on frosty fun in Antarctica. She needs to find her place in the world, like all of us. The illustrations are a riot of colour and texture, and every page is surprising and fresh.

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    My Grandpa is a Dinosaur

    Written by Richard Fairgray, Terry Jones and illustrated by Richard Fairgray

    Every page of My Grandpa is a Dinosaur is laugh-out-loud good. The story of Wanda and her strange family — and the grandpa that nobody believes is a dinosaur — is a classic tale of assuming a narrator is unreliable just because they are a child. Readers will root for Wanda as she attempts to get her friends and family on board with her hypothesis, because of course he is a dinosaur! The illustrations are retro-cool, and the final pages are a hilarious triumph.


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    That’s Not a Hippopotamus!  WINNER

    Written by Juliette MacIver and illustrated by Sarah Davis

    From the opening rhyme to the closing line, this story is a flawless tale of a school trip gone awry. The quiet kid reigns supreme in the hippo-hunting stakes, despite the loud-mouths leading the pack. The story has been rhymed innovatively and the illustrations are diverse, three-dimensional, and interesting. The teacher is especially hilarious, as she gradually loses control.

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    The Singing Dolphin / Te Aihe i Waiata

    Written and illustrated by Mere Whaanga

    A truly New Zealand story, beautifully told in both English and te reo Māori, with the words placed side by side. A tale is woven of a family with a grandmother and three grandsons. Tahi and Rua are not kind to their odd-bird third brother, Pōtiki, who is a nature-speaker and who could help them if they accepted him. A trip to sea ends in a change of form, with white-background sketches pushing out the dream spirit world in a delicate, wistful way. This book takes you on a journey.


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    Helper and Helper

    Written by Joy Cowley and illustrated by Gavin Bishop

    Another powerful addition to the popular Snake and Lizard stories. These two characters continue to entertain as they tackle serious life issues such as ‘What is help?’ ‘Where do you draw the line?’ and ‘What does being a good friend mean?’ The wisdom contained in the stories is nicely balanced with wry humour. The characters are brilliant and Gavin Bishop’s illustrations are appealing and expressive throughout.

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    My New Zealand Story: Bastion Point  WINNER

    Written by Tania Roxborogh

    In this strongly crafted narrative, Tania Roxborogh compellingly documents the Bastion Point protests of the 1970s. The story is told from the viewpoint of Erica Tito, who is resourceful, independent and courageous. From her diary we can clearly hear and feel the conviction of those involved, the sacrifices made, and the opposition to this significant event in our history.

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    The Discombobulated Life of Summer Rain  BEST 1st BOOK AWARD

    Written by Julie Lamb

    Summer is a child of modern-day living. In this laugh-out-loud tale she sweeps us along as she juggles the craziness of living with her dad at weekends and her slightly odd grandfather during the week. In this voyage of discovery, Summer learns to define both who she is and what friendship is all about. The lessons of acceptance, unconditional love and belief in yourself are woven enchantingly into a mystery to be solved.

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    The Impossible Boy

    Written by Leonie Agnew

    This novel skilfully tackles the subject of orphaned children in a war zone, in a fresh and gripping style. The story is told from the viewpoint of Vincent, best friend of six-year-old Benjamin, who is alone, scared and in need of protection. So convincing is this tale that it takes the reader some pages to realise that Vincent is Ben’s imaginary friend. This story is addictive.

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    Sunken Forest

    Written by Des Hunt

    Des Hunt craftily weaves enviro-science issues into his stories, and they are always fresh, full of adventure and stimulating for the reader. In Sunken Forest, family issues mean Matt is faced with the challenges of moving to a new school and attending camp, where he is confronted by a number of physical, emotional and moral dilemmas. You can feel the tension building. Themes of friendship, bullying and fitting in make this a vital and rather exciting read.


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      From Moa to Dinosaurs: Explore & Discover Ancient New Zealand

      Written by Gillian Candler and illustrated by Ned Barraud

      What a treat lies in store for young explorers travelling back in time to ancient New Zealand! The complementary written and visual text will enthral the reader. From the outset, the silhouette endpapers and contents page stimulate curiosity. A question and answer format plus diagrams, glossary and index all contribute to the discoveries encountered.

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      Jack and Charlie: Boys of the Bush  WINNER

      Written by Jack Marcotte and Josh James Marcotte

      This book transports readers of all ages to life on New Zealand’s rugged West Coast. Through Jack’s perspective, we learn about the boys’ daily life and their hunting and fishing adventures with their father. The writing caters for a range of audiences, with blue strips of text enabling less fluent readers access to information.

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      The Cuckoo and the Warbler

      Written by Kennedy Warne and illustrated by Heather Hunt

      An eye-opening probe into one of the most perplexing relationships of New Zealand’s avian world. A compelling tale, underpinned by surprising facts, with strikingly detailed illustrations that complement the text vividly. The text invites interaction, incorporates te reo Māori, and uses a blend of narrative style to communicate factual information imaginatively.

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      The Genius of Bugs

      Written by Simon Pollard

      A book of genius in its ability to convey the intricate lives of creatures who have been on earth for almost 440 million years, pre-dating dinosaurs. This is an informative and interactive text. Photographs, diagrams, text boxes, captions, glossary and index, plus an engaging use of language, all enhance its wide appeal. The colour coding of categories such as weapons, engineering, deception and teamwork enhances discovery.

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      Torty and the Soldier

      Written by Jennifer Beck and illustrated by Fifi Colston

      The true story of a tortoise saved by a soldier in the First World War reveals insights into the impact of warfare, and offers a moving tribute to friendship and acts of kindness. The bond between animal and human is explored through a crisp yet moving account. The muted colour palette offers the young reader a rich visual encounter with information that reflects a high level of research.


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      Fuzzy Doodle

      Illustrated by Donovan Bixley

      The illustrator is clearly enjoying himself in this book. The illustrations are philosophical, simple and poetic. Donovan Bixley’s skill and talent shine through, with unique and clever illustrations that marry perfectly with the text. These are supported by beautiful design and production values, making it a tactile and well as a visual feast.

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      Gladys Goes to War

      Illustrated by Jenny Cooper

      Gladys Goes to War is a tribute to women in war, and Cooper brings Glyn Harper’s solid story to life with beautiful illustrations that capture the personality of Gladys Sandford with soaring landscapes and intricate details. The use of colour, perspective and light is particularly evocative. Gladys’s determined features are a joy to behold.

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      If I was a Banana

      Illustrated by Kieran Rynhart

      A story about figuring out who you are. The lush and humorous illustrations really bring the story to life, and each page brings a new surprise. The illustrations are vigorous and exciting, with a strong feeling of movement. The earthy colour palette gives a cohesive flow, the pictures capture both realism and a strong sense of magic, and the design and illustration work in perfect harmony.

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      Snark: Being a true history …  WINNER of illustration award

      AND Margaret Mahy Book of the Year Award


      Illustrated and written (after Lewis Carroll) by David Elliot

      A stunningly produced big, beautiful and brilliant book that is an imaginative retelling of Lewis Carroll’s famous poems. The text and illustrations work together with found images and photos to create something truly unique and endlessly fascinating. The watercolour sketches interact intimately with the text, bringing it to life with a sense of urgency.

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      The Day the Costumes Stuck

      Illustrated and written by Toby Morris

      This book stands out with its bold use of fluorescent colours and its simple lines. The illustrations work humorously with the text to tell the story of a boy who finds that all his friends’ costumes have stuck after a costume party and they have become a surgeon, a police officer and a rock star. The interaction between the shadowy adults and the bright child is delightful.



 The Young Adult Fiction and Te Reo Maori Awards can be viewed here but are not included in our children’s quiz.

The winners were:

“The Severed Land” by Maurice Gee / Award for Young Adult Fiction

“Te Kaihanga Mapere” by Sacha Cotter / Award for Te Reo Maori













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