This is a guest post by Megan Daley of Children’s Books Daily. She is a Teacher Librarian and the former National Vice President of the Children’s Book Council of Australia. Today she has is sharing a little about CBCA awards and some of the very best books for young children from this year’s shortlist.
The Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Book of the Year Short List and Notable books for 2014 were announced recently and as usual these lists have sparked conversation and controversy – and that can only be a good thing! Australia has an incredibly diverse, vibrant and fabulous children’s literary community which produces some of the best children’s books in the world and the CBCA Book of the Year Awards recognize some of this exceptional talent annually.
About the CBCA Awards
The Children’s Book Council of Australia awards are perhaps the most highly regarded within the industry and in the wider community. The CBCA stickers are widely recognized by parents and children alike as they select books from their public or school library, or at their local bookstore. The awards were established in 1946, with the first winners receiving a camellia flower, before generous donations ensured a monetary prize for each category. The CBCA Awards Foundation was established in 1995 and in excess of a million dollars has been raised to ensure the future and independence of these important awards.
With five categories of book awards, there is a book to suit children from birth to 18 years old, and their parents and teachers! The Short List and Notable books are announced in March-April each year, with a winner from each category being announced each year in August, as a kick-off of the annual Children’s Book Week celebrations around Australia.
The Short List and Notables for 2014 can be found here and these lists (and previous years lists) are an excellent starting point for parents and teachers looking to read the crème de la crème of children’s/YA literature in Australia. I often recommend parents print these lists and carry them around so they are handy for library and bookstore visits. The rigorous process of CBCA judging ensures the books on the Notables list are of a high literary standard. It is important to keep in mind that the CBCA Book of the Year Awards are based on the literary merit of each book and are not children’s choice/popular awards. Each category contains a large range of books, suitable for different age groups, and parents/teachers should assess the themes and content of an individual book before choosing it for their child or classroom.
13 Great Early Childhood Books from the 2014 CBCA Short List
And so to the 2014 Short List and Notables! Looking at the list with my early childhood teacher eyes, I have compiled a list below of books from the 2014 Short List which are great for children aged birth – 8 years (check individual titles for suitability). The full Short List can be found here and I would encourage parents and teachers to look further at the Notables lists here.
Violet Mackerel’s Possible Friend – written by Anna Branford and illustrated by Sarah Davis.
Words cannot adequately describe how much I love this series of books – Violet is just a gorgeous little girl – her strength of character and her quirkiness shines through in both the writing and the illustrations. You can read my full review of this series here.
I’m a Dirty Dinosaur – written by Janeen Brian and illustrated by Ann James.
What is not to love about a dirty dinosaur and illustrations which include mud as one of the art materials!
Baby Bedtime – written by Mem Fox and illustrated by Emma Quay.
Essential bedtime reading for babies and their parents/caregivers. Fox and Quay do not put a foot wrong in this gorgeous book which I have included in my list of ‘Top Twenty Baby Books.’
Kissed by the Moon – written and illustrated by Alison Lester.
This one is also in my Top Twenty Baby Books and it will bring a tear to many a parents eye.
The Swap – written by Andrew Joyner and illustrated by Jan Omerod.
I have been gifting this book to children with a new sibling for a little while now! It’s just a perfect little tale of the perils of having a younger brother or sister.
Banjo and Ruby Red – written by Libby Gleeson and illustrated by Freya Blackwood.
With this creative duo – this book was always going to be gorgeous. If you are a lover of dogs or chickens, this is a must have one for you. It is read very regularly in our house!
Granny Grommet and Me – written by Dianne Wolfer and illustrated by Karen Blair.
This book is just perfect for little ones about to visit the beach – and it has a surfing granny so it has to be excellent! I love it so much I have included it in my ‘Top Five Books about Learning to Swim.’
Silver Buttons – written and illustrated by Bob Graham.
I’ve never reviewed this one because I’ve never felt I could adequately do this beautiful picture book justice. It is a gorgeous tale of life and all of the things which can happen worldwide in just one minute. I’m going to stop there – go and read it.
Parachute – written by Danny Parker and illustrated by Matt Ottley.
I have a little Matt Ottley obsession so this one was always going to be a winner for me. It is a powerful story of childhood fears and growing confidence.
The Windy Farm – written by Doug MacLeod and illustrated by Craig Smith.
A fabulous story of living sustainably and the power of wind energy. In true Smith and Macleod style this is also totally madcap and hilarious.
Jeremy – written by Christopher Faille and illustrated by Danny Snell.
A fabulous introduction to non-fiction texts. Jeremy is a baby kookaburra who has fallen from his next and has to be hand reared.
King Pig – written and illustrated by Nick Bland.
Beautiful, rich illustrations and typical Nick Bland humour make this a fun read with a great message.
Meet Captain Cook – written by Rae Murdie and illustrated by Chris Nixon.
This ‘Meet’ series is my favourite non-fiction series of the past little while. It is the perfect blend of fact and story and my two and six year old children would read any of the titles in this series every single night if I’d let them! I’ve talked about them further in my ‘Australiana Books’ post.
Megan Daley blogs about all things literary at Children’s Books Daily. With a mother who is a teacher librarian and former CBCA Merchandise Manager, Megan grew up surrounded by books and spent much time in libraries and at literary functions, so it is not surprising that being a teacher librarian and CBCA devotee was always on the agenda for her!