What's exciting the judges in the NZ Post children's Book Awards
The finalists have been announced for the 2012 awards and they
represent the best books published in New Zealand in the past
In the picture book category - there are five books of interest
to the parents of preschoolers. The finalists are:
||Stomp! by Ruth Paul (Scholastic) a Dinosaur Follow-the-Leader
Story for one to two year olds. It features dinosaur mayhem in
bold, picturesque illustrations and it's perfect to be read
||The Cat's Pyjamas by Catherine Foreman (Scholastic) is a fun
story for two and three year olds and features cat whose pyjamas
give him delightful dreams until one night he wears his monster
pyjamas to bed…
||Waiting For Later by Tina Matthews (Walker Books), for slightly
older children, shows what kids can do if left to their own
devices. Nancy is always being told "not now, later" when she asks
for something so she goes off to find her own fun in a large, old
||Rahui by Chris Szekely and Malcolm Ross (Huia) is in fact two
entries - one in Maori and one in English. A potentially
controversial book for preschoolers about a family holiday gone
that goes wrong when a boy drowns at the beach.
Chris Szekely's book Rahui discusses the rahui (ritual
prohibition) that is put on the area as the family mourns the death
of a young boy. The illustrations are works of art in their own
right but is this a book suitable for preschoolers?
Gillian Candler, convenor of judges says this title could well
have appeal for six and seven year olds who will better understand
the subject matter. She doesn't see it as a controversial
"It's hard to pigeon-hole. Young children may see it as a story
about a holiday were something happens but then things come back to
some sort of normality. Older children will understand more what's
"It's a very evocative story."
Gillian and her fellow judges read all 130 submissions several
times over to come up with the 21 finalists across all
So what were the judges looking for?
For picture books in particular they chose books that would
benefit from being read aloud again and again. They wanted books
that children would find just as interesting on the second reading,
as they picked up more of the detail. And they also looked for a
good match between the text and illustration.
"A whole lot of things come together in a book to make it stand
out," says Gillian.
This year's finalists are not big names in children's literature
- some are first-time author, which, says Gillian, shows there's
heaps of emerging talent out there.
Winners will be announced on May 16.
Published: 3 March 2012