Did I say “a bit of a frenzy” last night?
The Children’s Book Council of Australia Awards were announced at noon today, and at 12:12 pm I was breathlessly delivering the decrees of the CBCA judges to our K-6 school assembly. Breathlessly because I took the opportunity to jog back to the library, at about 12:02, to see if I could gain access to the CBCA website… and then when I found that I could, I also had to retrieve one of the titles from a classroom on the opposite side of the school. Whew!
Talk about enthusiastic responses! The students were cheering wildly for all of the winning titles, author and illustrators. (I remember a previous principal, of a previous school, saying, “I’ve never seen these children cheer for a book before”; and about a week later I suddenly had a library budget to spend on new books, where there’d been no such budget for many years! Not bad for about seven months work as a fledgling teacher-librarian, trying to win over a community.) it was certainly rewarding to see the students respond with passion and interest, especially since their opinions held no sway in which books wore these particular medals. The CBCA Awards aren’t a “popular choice” selection process, and the panel of judges is made up of adult “experts”.
So how well did we predict in 2008?
Picture Book of the Year? Gold went to “Requiem for a beast” by Matt Ottley, our prediction. So well-deserved! And no surprises with the silvers for “Dust” and “The Peasant Prince”.
Books for Younger Readers category saw gold go to “Dragon moon” by Carole Wilkinson, and silvers to “Sixth grade style queen (not!)” and “Amelia Dee and the peacock lamp”. This was a hard category to pick simply because our library sessions don’t allow much time to serialise six novels. Nonetheless, the students were thrilled to see their favourite, “Sixth grade style queen (not!)”, get silver.
Books for Early Childhood category: the group of Kindergarten students who did a poster display for Aaron Blabey’s “Pearl Barley and Charlie Parsley” were ecstatic that “their book” won the gold! And no surprises with silvers for the wonderfully warm “Lucy Goosey” and the amusing “Cat”.
And no surprise at all with Information book: gold for “Parsley Rabbit’s book about books” by Frances Watts & David Legge. What a thrill! Harder to pick were the silvers – for “Girl stuff: your full-on guide to the teenage years” and “Kokoda Track: 101 days” – but the students seemed pleased with the results. I know I’ll have to do some consultations as to how I might allow the Year 6 girls and their parents to borrow out “Girl stuff” through the library without causing any ripples. The book certainly doesn’t hold back on too much so it won’t be on the open shelves; it has a very wide range of “stuff” of interest to teenaged girls. A potential for… controversy, especially in a primary school.
I joked to myself in recent weeks that the artist to win the Creighton Award (for first time illustrators) would likely be Anna Walker of “Santa’s Aussie Holiday” (text by Maria Farrer) because – being a Christmas book – it was the only Creighton Award nominee which hadn’t been reprinted yet. Well, I should have had money on it. It certainly had some very stiff competition this year.
Look out: Book Week is upon us!