Friday, May 21, 2010

Hanging out with the literati...

I was rapt to be invited to the New Zealand Post Children's Book Awards Ceremony. Apart from being in the same space as all those literary greats - Margaret Mahy, Joy Cowley, Tessa Duder, Gavin Bishop, amongst others - and the newcomers - Craig Smith, Rachel Driscoll and others - one of the coolest things about going to events like this is the loot. The loot last night was so good, I had to take a picture - so, bubble-blowing mixture and cookies! PS - click on the pix to open it bigger so you can see the fab-ness of the cookies.

The venue - Auckland's Town Hall - was fab, and decorated like an 'ice cave' (according to Dr John Angus, the Children's Commissioner). The speeches were inspiring. And then there were the awards themselves. Some surprises and lots of applause.

First up: Non-fiction category. The winner was E3 call home by Janet Hunt. Yay, we lucked out by having her visit recently as part of the New Zealand Post Festival.

Then Junior Fiction: The Loblolly boy by James Norcliffe. Must read for all fantasy readers, aged 9 and over.

Then - Young Adult Fiction: The crossing by Mandy Hager.

Picture Book: first up - an honour award for The Word Witch - poems by Margaret Mahy, illustrations by David Elliot, and edited by Tessa Duder. The winner was Old Hu-Hu by Kyle Mewburn, and illustrated by Rachel Driscoll. An emotional read for all ages about death, grief, and friendship.

The Children's Choice Awards - this year there were prizes for each category winner, as well as the overall Children's Choice winner.

Children's Choice Non-fiction: Dear Alison edited by Simon Pollard. This is amazing - diary of a New Zealand soldier while a prisoner of war during World War II. Children's Choice Junior Fiction: Friends: Snake and Lizard by Joy Cowley and Gavin Bishop. Great fun by two of New Zealand's greatest children's book creators. Children's Choice Young Adult Fiction: Brainjack by Brian Falkner. Edge-of-your-seat techno-thriller. Children's Choice Picture Book: The wonky donkey by Chris Smith, illustrated by Katz Cowley. The overall winner was The wonky donkey.

The Best First Book was The bone tiki by David Hair. Māori mythology in a contemporary setting.

And... finally... the New Zealand Post Children's Book of the Year 2010 is... Old Hu-hu.

Then it was more mixing and mingling. And another highlight for me - being hugged by the, understandably, very bouncy Kyle Mewburn. If you, too, want opportunities to meet such great people, join and/or volunteer for Storylines.

~ Annie, teens team

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