Yay! It’s nearly time for our CBCA Short Lists to be announced. That will happen Tuesday 9th April and it’s always a day lots of people look forward to. The announcement will be made in Canberra and the results will be posted on the CBCA website – www.cbca.org.au -- at midday. Don’t be too impatient though otherwise the site might crash because of demand. It’s always an exciting time – to see what has been included or what hasn’t captured the judges’ minds.
There have been a couple of recent articles reflecting on the strengths and weaknesses of creating a short list, as many book Awards do. We all think about what has been included or not – and celebrate inclusions or mourn omissions. Michael Cart says that this is one of the strengths of the short list system, whether it is created behind closed doors (as we do with CBCA short list) or more openly. If you’d like to read his most interesting article the link is at the bottom of this blog.
Many CBCA branches hold a Clayton’s short list night or similar event where prominent community members or avid readers predict what this year’s judges might choose. These contributors don’t have the advantage of having read every entry. And though this makes for an enormous work load for each judge, it is one of the great strengths of our CBCA system. It also makes it hard to find committed judges.
But, over the next 2 blogs, Nella and Maureen are going to suggest what the short lists might contain. Sadly, we haven’t always been able to reduce our lists to just 6 titles! At least, we have the freedom to do this. The judges don’t!
The Eve Pownall Award for Information Books
Christopher Cheng & Lindsay Knight Australia’s Greatest Inventions & Innovations Random House
Each invention from the Powerhouse Museum shows the original problem e.g. how to replace a body part lost through an accident or to attach a new one if it is missing at birth. The reader learns who was involved as well as easy to read information about the invention/innovation.
Martin Flanagan & Ainsley Walters Archie’s letter One Hill Publisher
This is the story of an ordinary man, his experience during World War II and his life afterwards. It includes his memories of mates who didn’t return. We all need stories like this to remind us what is important. A major drawback is the density of text on the page.
Jackie French & Mark Wilson A Day to remember Angus & Robertson
Through a mixture of fact and story this book traces the Anzac legend and the development of the day which now serves to remember all the men and women who served in war, and all who have been affected by war.
Maggie Hamilton Secret Girls’ Business Viking
Craft, stories, fashion tips, recipes and helpful advice about being happy with yourself, and finding your 'style'. It includes stories about women who volunteer or have interesting jobs. An antidote to the rampant commercialism young women face daily.
Catriona Hoy & Andrew Plant The Little Dinosaur Working Title Press
Recreates a truthful and poignant story of a dinosaur that lived and died millions of years ago in Gondwanaland and explains how the resulting fossil has helped scientists learn more about the dinosaur.
Jackie Kerin & Peter Gouldthorpe Lyrebird Museum Victoria
Set in the 1930s, this retells a story of the friendship between a gardener and an unusual bird in its native habitat, and explains the fascinating characteristics of the lyrebird.
Kristin Weidenbach & Timothy Ide Tom The Outback Mailman Lothian
Tom Kruse drove a seven-day one-way journey from Marree to Birdsville each fortnight to deliver the mail from 1936 until 1957. It’s a fascinating story which needs more editorial input. The book includes a map, and biographical information.
Early Childhood. These are books written for children aged 2-6, who are at the pre-reading stage, or the early stage of reading.
Emma Allen & Freya Blackwood The Terrible Suitcase Omnibus
A delightful story about starting school, friendship and the power of imagination beautifully illustrated in typical Freya Blackwood mode. The reader learns that sometimes we can benefit from not getting exactly what we want.
Ursula Dubosarsky & Andrew Joyner Too Many Elephants in This House Puffin
Eric just loves elephants and his mum finally tires of them all cluttering up each room in the house, even though they help to entertain her son. They have to go! Eric’s solution is a joy. My 5 year old grandson loves sharing this one on Skype.
Showcasing days of the week and the many activities that families have over the working week, this book will have meaning for many readers. But unlike most, this family manages to have a recovery day on Sundays when they can slow down and notice the small things. Words and pictures complement each other beautifully. Great endpapers.
Christine Harris & Ann James It’s a Mirocool Little Hare
When she has to leave home for a short time, a young girl worries whether the tooth fairy can find her and creates a path to help. Ann James’ muted illustrations perfectly portray the Australian bush.
Doug McLeod & Craig Smith Heather Fell into the Water Allen & Unwin
Heather is attracted to water even when she is not supposed to be swimming. She even wears water wings to bed! She develops a fear of water but her worry (and the reader’s) is reduced through McLeod’s subtle turn of phrase and Smith’s ability to show humour in pictures.
Amanda Niland & Christina Booth I Wish There Were Dinosaurs Windy Hollow
A young boy wants the zoo to replace its current animals with dinosaurs but then has second thoughts. The story’s drama and humour are enriched by Christina Booth’s illustrations – just look at the suitcase animals.
Sally Odgers & Lisa Stewart Bushland Lullaby Scholastic
Briony Stewart The Red Wheelbarrow UQP
This wordless picture book has two alternating stories - the right-hand pages depict two little girls’ discovery of a red wheelbarrow (and the rivalry over a bag of lollies) while on the left-hand pages, big chicken and little chicken fight it out over a worm.
Our Notables. Don’t miss these either – they are some great books for sharing, but they are just not our very most favourite!
Karen Blair Baby Animal Farm Walker Books
Tania Cox & David Miller Millie’s Special Something Working Title Press
Sue De Gennaro The Pros & Cons of Being a Frog Scholastic
Corinne Fenton Hey Baby Black Dog Books
Jackie French & Bruce Whatley Queen Victoria’s Christmas HarperCollins
Phillip Gwynne & Bruce Whatley The Queen with the Wobbly Bottom Hardie Grant
Catriona Hoy & Annie White Isla Lu Where Are You? Windy Hollow
Kim Kane & Sara Acton The Unexpected Crocodile Allen & Unwin
Penny Matthews & Martin McKenna The Gift Omnibus
Penny Matthews & Andrew McLean Show Day Scholastic
Jane Tanner Lily and the Fairy House Penguin
Michelle Worthington and Sophie Norsa Yellow Dress Day New Frontier
Older Readers. These books are for mature readers, up to 18 years old, and may contain confronting themes and language. Some of the titles we have chosen are for the upper limits of the age range.
Isobelle Carmody Metro Winds Allen & Unwin
6 short stories that redefine the meaning of fairy tale for young adult and adult readers. However some of the writing is variable which may make it Notable rather than Short list.
Pip Harry I’ll tell you mine UQP
Fifteen-year-old Kate Elliot has done something so terrible that her family has banished her to the local boarding school so they don't have to deal with her. Realistic contemporary multi-layered Australian teenagers. A brilliant debut.
Margo Lanagan Sea Hearts Allen & Unwin
This atmospheric selkie tale is a story of human weakness, rejection, revenge, love and courage which may challenge some readers’ conceptions. Excellent crossover literary fiction for those looking for a dark yet captivating read.
Julia Lawrinson Losing It Penguin
Four girls in Year 12 make a bet: to lose it before schoolies week – and preferably in a romantic, sober way that they won't regret. Graphic, embarrassing and hilarious, it’s a serious story about choices and relationships.
Neil Grant Ink Bridge Allen & Unwin
Omed and Hec are two people on the edges of society for very different reasons, and their turbulent lives collide briefly but with impact. This multi-themed novel has three structural sections, one devoted to each of the boys with the final part showing Hec’s search, as an adult, for closure of his boyhood traumas.
James Roy City UQP
These are linked short stories, with a few characters reappearing with new friendships and incidents. It’s a companion book to his prize-winning Town, but doesn’t maintain consistency throughout.
Jaclyn Moriarty A Corner of white Pan Macmillan
Two separate worlds and stories come together, via the rare event of a crack, through the correspondence between Madeleine in Cambridge, England and Elliot in the Kingdom of Cello. There are mysteries to solve, science to understand and colours to absorb, combined with lots of world history. The cover, with its lightning-like crack, is great.
Vikki Wakefield Friday Brown Text
Friday Brown tries to escape the death of her mother and the family curse but life on the streets makes her quickly discovers her own strengths and weakness through her interactions with a broad range of (often troubled) characters and some nail-bitingly scary situations.
Myke Bartlett Fire in the Sea Text --The ending is a little weak, but this is an author to watch.
Judith Clarke Three Summers Allen & Unwin
Rose Foster Industry HarperCollins (1st in series)
Jackie French Girl from Snowy River HarperCollins
Maureen McCarthy Convent Allen & Unwin
Shirley Marr Preloved Black Dog Books
James Moloney Silvermay HarperCollins (2nd in series)
Garth Nix Confusion of Princes Allen & Unwin
Karen Tayleur Love Notes from Vinegar House Black Dog Books
Kirsty Eagar Night Beach Penguin -- scary Australian Gothic romance
Andrew McGahan Voyage of the Unquiet Ice Allen & Unwin