Category Archives: young adult

My Most Anticipated March New Releases

Timmy Failure: Now Look What You’ve Done by Stephan Pastis

“When you lose hope, find it.” – Timmy Failure He doesn t like to pull rank. To reveal that he s this guy: Timmy Failure, founder, president, and CEO of the greatest detective agency in town, perhaps the nation. But he is. And he s about to crack the biggest case of his generation: a school competition to find a stolen globe. It s his ticket to bringing home a $500 prize, which is guaranteed to set him up for life. But someone is clearly trying to game the system. Hoodwink. Con. Defraud. So it s up to Timmy Failure, with the dubious help of Total, his lazy polar-bear partner, and his unlikely new ally, eccentric Great Aunt Colander, to find a way to avenge these shenanigans. Defeat this injustice. If he can only get his entry form in on time.

What’s Your Favourite Animal? by Eric Carle

Bringing together some of the finest modern children s book illustrators of our time – Jon Klassen, Eric Carle, Lucy Cousins, Nick Bruel, Susan Jeffers, Steven Kellogg, Tom Litchtenheld, Peter McCarty, Chris Raschka, Peter S s, Lane Smith, Erin Stead, Rosemary Wells, Mo Willems – Eric Carle asks, “What s your favourite animal?” and the result is an astonishingly colourful parade of animals from giraffes with their heads in the clouds to fuzzy dogs to squishy snails. Some artists reveal their choices with a personal story, others with a comic turn, but all will undoubtedly inspire children to draw and tell a story about their own favourite animal!

Shhh! We Have a Plan by Chris Haughton

Four friends, three big and one little, are out for a walk. Suddenly, they spot it – a beautiful bird perched high in a tree! They simply MUST have it and – SHH! – they have a PLAN. So they tiptoe, tip-toe very slowly, nets poised – “Ready one … ready two … ready three … GO!” But, at the turn of the page, we find a ridiculous bunch of very tangled characters and a blissfully oblivious bird, flying away. One hilarious foiled plan after another and it s clear that this goofy trio CANNOT catch that elusive birdie! But the littlest of this group, a quiet spectator up until now, knows that a bit of kindness and sweetness can go a lot further than any elaborate scam. Will his three friends follow his gentle lead or will they get themselves into even more trouble?

Enders by Lissa Price

Someone is after Starters like Callie and Michael – teens with chips in their brains. They want to experiment on anyone left over from Prime Destinations –With the body bank destroyed, Callie no longer has to rent herself out to creepy Enders. But Enders can still get inside her mind and make her do things she doesn’t want to do. Like hurt someone she loves. Having the chip removed could save her life – but it could also silence the voice in her head that might belong to her father. Callie has flashes of her ex-renter Helena’s memories, too . . . and the Old Man is back, filling her with fear. Who is real and who is masquerading in a teen body?No one is ever who they appear to be, not even the Old Man. Determined to find out who he really is and grasping at the hope of a normal life for herself and her younger brother, Callie is ready to fight for the truth. Even if it kills her.
The Firebird Mystery: A Jack Mason Adventure by Darrell Pitt

Jack Mason has grown up as an acrobat in a circus. Now, after the tragic death of his parents, he must live inside the gloomy walls of Sunnyside Orphanage in London, a city of fog and snow, filled with airships, steam cars and metrotowers that stretch into space.

Luckily for Jack, he’s taken under the wing of the brilliant and eccentric detective Ignatius Doyle. Little does he know how dangerous life is about to become.

A girl named Scarlet Bell comes seeking the great detective’s help. Her father has been kidnapped, and the future of the world itself may be at stake. Is the evil hand of Professor M pulling all the strings? Mr Doyle and Jack know there is no time to lose.

Night of the Perigee Moon by Juliet Jacka

All Tilly Angelica wants for her thirteenth birthday is to be normal! But with her changeover party looming and her mad, magical family gathering from near and far, Tilly is set to inherit a terrifying or tantalising talent of her own. But what if she inherits Hortense’s talent of super smelling, with an oversize nose to match? As the enchanted Angelicas gather and Arial Manor becomes a madhouse, Tilly’s troubles are tripled by her creepy cousin Prosper, and his sinister plot to bewitch the family by harnessing the powers of the Perigee Moon.

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Winners of the 2014 ALA Youth Media Awards

The winners of the 2014 American Library Association (ALA) Youth Media Awards were announced yesterday in the US.  These awards, which include the prestigious Newbery, Caldecott and Printz awards, are presented to the top books, video and audio books for children and young adults.  Here is the list of the 2014 award winners:

  • John Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature:

Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures,” written by Kate DiCamillo.

Four Newbery Honor Books also were named: “Doll Bones,” written by Holly Black; “The Year of Billy Miller,” written by Kevin Henkes; “One Came Home,” written by Amy Timberlake; and “Paperboy,” written by Vince Vawter.

  • Randolph Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for children:

“Locomotive,”  by Brian Floca and illustrated by Brian Floca.

Three Caldecott Honor Books also were named: “Journey,” written and illustrated by Aaron Becker; “Flora and the Flamingo,” written and illustrated by Molly Idle; and “Mr. Wuffles!” written and illustrated by David Wiesner.

  • Michael L. Printz Award for excellence in literature written for young adults:

“Midwinterblood,” written by Marcus Sedgwick, is the 2014 Printz Award winner.

Four Printz Honor Books also were named: “Eleanor & Park,” written by Rainbow Rowell; “Kingdom of Little Wounds,” written by Susann Cokal; “Maggot Moon,” written by Sally Gardner, illustrated by Julian Crouch; and “Navigating Early,” written by Clare Vanderpool.

  • Margaret A. Edwards Award for lifetime achievement in writing for young adults:

Markus Zusak is the 2014 Edwards Award winner. His books include: “The Book Thief” and “I Am the Messenger,” and “Getting the Girl” and “Fighting Ruben Wolfe.”

  • May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture Award recognizing an author, critic, librarian, historian or teacher of children’s literature, who then presents a lecture at a winning host site:

Brian Selznick will deliver the 2015 lecture.

Author and illustrator Brian Selznick graduated from Rhode Island School of Design intending to be a set designer for the theater, but a stint at Eeyore’s children’s bookstore in New York City changed his mind and his first book was published while working there. He left to pursue a full-time career in children’s book illustration, but he still designs theater sets and is a professional puppeteer. Among his award-winning works are illustrations for two Sibert Honor Books and a Caldecott Honor Book. His groundbreaking “The Invention of Hugo Cabret” was awarded the 2008 Caldecott Medal.

  • Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award for most distinguished informational book for children:

“Parrots over Puerto Rico,” written by Susan L. Roth and Cindy Trumbore, and illustrated by Susan L. Roth, is the Sibert Award winner.

Four  Sibert Honor Books were named: “A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin,” written by Jen Bryant, illustrated by Melissa Sweet; “Look Up! Bird-Watching in Your Own Backyard,” written and illustrated by Annette LeBlanc Cate; “Locomotive,” written and illustrated by Brian Floca; and “The Mad Potter: George E. Ohr, Eccentric Genius,” written by Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan.

  • Theodor Seuss Geisel Award for the most distinguished book for beginning readers:

“The Watermelon Seed,” written and illustrated by Greg Pizzoli, is the Geisel Award winner.

Three Geisel Honor Books were named: “Ball,” written and illustrated by Mary Sullivan; “A Big Guy Took My Ball!” written and illustrated by Mo Willems ; and “Penny and Her Marble,” written and illustrated by Kevin Henkes.

  • YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults:

“The Nazi Hunters: How a Team of Spies and Survivors Captured the World’s Most Notorious Nazi,” written by Neal Bascomb, is the 2014 Excellence winner.

Four other books were finalists for the award: “Go: A Kidd’s Guide to Graphic Design,” written by Chip Kidd ; “Imprisoned: The Betrayal of Japanese Americans During World War II,” written by Martin W. Sandler; “Courage Has No Color: The True Story of the Triple Nickles, America’s First Black Paratroopers,” written by Tanya Lee Stone; and “The President Has Been Shot! The Assassination of John F. Kennedy,” written by James L. Swanson.

For the full list of ALA award winners you can read the press release on the ALA website.

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More Than This by Patrick Ness

If you’re a regular reader of my blog you’ll know that I’m a huge fan of Patrick Ness.  He’s one of my favourite authors and I love everything he writes, whether it’s for adults or teens.  It’s been a particularly good year for fans of Patrick this year, as he’s published two books, one for adults, called The Crane Wife and a Young Adult book called More Than This.  The thought of a new Patrick Ness book always gets me excited, because I never know quite what to expect.  When Patrick revealed the details about More Than This, he gave just enough to whet reader’s appetites but left you with a huge sense of mystery.  When I picked up my copy of the book, Patrick hooked me in straight away and it haunted me right until the end.

A boy named Seth drowns, desperate and alone in his final moments, losing his life as the pounding sea claims him. But then he wakes. He is naked, thirsty, starving. But alive. How is that possible? He remembers dying, his bones breaking, his skull dashed upon the rocks. So how is he here? And where is this place? It looks like the suburban English town where he lived as a child, before an unthinkable tragedy happened and his family moved to America. But the neighborhood around his old house is overgrown, covered in dust, and completely abandoned. What s going on? And why is it that whenever he closes his eyes, he falls prey to vivid, agonising memories that seem more real than the world around him? Seth begins a search for answers, hoping that he might not be alone, that this might not be the hell he fears it to be, that there might be more than just this.

More Than This is a tense, suspense-filled read that haunts you, so that every waking minute you are thinking about the story and trying to figure out what’s happening.  It’s one of those stories that is very difficult to explain to people without ruining the story for everyone.  I haven’t felt so obsessed with a book in a long time, wanting to just loose myself in the story and help Seth reveal the mystery of the world in which he finds himself.  Just when you think you’ve figured out what’s happening, the story takes a completely different turn.

Patrick Ness is brilliant at creating suspense (fans of his Chaos Walking Trilogy are familiar with this) and there are plenty of cliff-hangar endings in More Than This. There were so many times that I finished a chapter and had to immediately go onto the next to find out what happened.  I’m sure there were times when my colleagues wondered where I had disappeared to.  There were a couple of times where I cursed Patrick Ness out loud.  He really knows how to keep you addicted to a story!

Like his other books, Patrick has created very real characters who you feel for and are rooting for.  You follow Seth’s journey to find out what has happened to him, while at the same time, putting together the pieces of his life and discovering what led him here in the first place.

One of my favourite things about More Than This is the ending, which leaves the story open, but left me totally satisfied.

I can’t recommend Patrick Ness’ books highly enough and More Than This is one of his best.  He just keeps getting better and better.  Grab a copy of More Than This now. You won’t regret it!

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Allegiant Book Trailer

What if your whole world was a lie? What if a single revelation – like a single choice – changed everything? What if love and loyalty made you do things you never expected? The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered – fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she’s known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories. But Tris’s new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend the complexities of human nature – and of herself – while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice and love. Told from a riveting dual perspective, Allegiant, by #1 New York Times best-selling author Veronica Roth, brings the Divergent series to a powerful conclusion while revealing the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers in Divergent and Insurgent.

Allegiant, the final book in Veronica Roth’s Divergent Trilogy is out now.  I’ve been hearing good things about it and I’m curious to find out how the series ends.  I thought the second book, Insurgent, was a bit lacklustre, so hopefully Allegiant will be a satisfying conclusion to the series.

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Cover reveal – Shattered by Teri Terry

Shattered_cvr

Kyla’s memory was erased,
her personality wiped blank,
her memories lost for ever.

Or so she thought.

After the shocking events of SLATED and FRACTURED, we return to Kyla’s oppressive world as she tries to make sense of her lfe and everything around her.

I’m very pleased to reveal the cover for the final book in Teri Terry’s Slated trilogy, Shattered. I loved the first two books in the trilogy and I’m really looking forward to finding out how it all ends.  You can read my review of Slated here on the blog.

Shattered is due for release in the UK in March 2014, so we should get it in NZ around the same time.

 

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The Last Thirteen by James Phelan

Do your children love sinking their teeth into a new series? Do they love books like The 39 Clues, The Infinity Ring and Conspiracy 365?  Scholastic have just released a new series, called The Last Thirteen, that’s perfect for fans of these series and anyone who loves a fast-paced story full action, adventure, and mystery.

I click my fingers and everybody dies.

Sam wakes from his nightmare to discover the terrifying reality. It will come true.

Kidnapped from school and finding out his parents aren’t who he thinks they are, Sam is suddenly running from danger at every turn. Nothing will ever be the same again.

With his life and identity shattered, Sam’s salvation is tied to an ancient prophecy. He is in the final battle to save the world, up against an enemy plotting to destroy us all.

He alone can find the last 13.

Are you one of them?

The first book in The Last Thirteen series has just been released and James Phelan kicks it off with a bang.  The first book sets the scene for the rest of the series, so we find out snippets of information about Sam, the Last Thirteen, and the organisations that want to get their hands on them.  The Last Thirteen are a group of teenagers with a special ability that some people will kill to get their hands on – their dreams come true.  Sam is the first of the 13 and the race is on to find the other 12 in order to save the world.

The plot races along (especially in the second half of the book) and the chapters are short, so readers will gobble it up and be waiting for the second book.  Each of the books ends with a dramatic cliff-hanger, and the end of the first book certainly makes me want to read the next one to find out what happens.

Like similar series (39 Clues, Infinity Ring) there is a dedicated fan website, where fans can register online and gain VIP access to a range of exciting features.  There’s also the chance to enter the competition, with your chance to become famous.

The Last Thirteen is perfect for ages 10+ who love action, adventure and mystery.  Get your copy today and join the race to find the Last Thirteen.

Check out the book trailer and the video of James talking about the series:

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My Most Anticipated September New Releases

Skulduggery Pleasant: Last Stand of Dead Men by Derek Landy

War has finally come. But it’s not a war between good and evil, or light and dark – it’s a war between Sanctuaries. For too long, the Irish Sanctuary has teetered on the brink of world-ending disaster, and the other Sanctuaries around the world have had enough. Allies turn to enemies, friends turn to foes, and Skulduggery and Valkyrie must team up with the rest of the Dead Men if they’re going to have any chance at all of maintaining the balance of power and getting to the root of a vast conspiracy that has been years in the making. But while this war is only beginning, another war rages within Valkyrie herself. Her own dark side, the insanely powerful being known as Darquesse, is on the verge of rising to the surface. And if Valkyrie slips, even for a moment, then Darquesse will burn the world and everyone in it.

The Last Thirteen by James Phelan

I click my fingers and everybody dies.

Sam wakes from his nightmare to discover the terrifying reality. It will come true.

Kidnapped from school and finding out his parents aren’t who he thinks they are, Sam is suddenly running from danger at every turn. Nothing will ever be the same again.

With his life and identity shattered, Sam’s salvation is tied to an ancient prophecy. He is in the final battle to save the world, up against an enemy plotting to destroy us all.

He alone can find the last 13.

Are you one of them?

Lockwood and Co.: The Screaming Staircase by Jonathan Stroud

When the dead come back to haunt the living, Lockwood & Co. step in . . .

For more than fifty years, the country has been affected by a horrifying epidemic of ghosts. A number of Psychic Investigations Agencies have sprung up to destroy the dangerous apparitions.Lucy Carlyle, a talented young agent, arrives in London hoping for a notable career. Instead she finds herself joining the smallest most ramshackle agency in the city, run by the charismatic Anthony Lockwood. When one of their cases goes horribly wrong, Lockwood & Co. have one last chance of redemption. Unfortunately this involves spending the night in one of the most haunted houses in England, and trying to escape alive.

Set in a city stalked by spectres, The Screaming Staircase is the first in a chilling new series full of suspense, humour and truly terrifying ghosts. Your nights will never be the same again…

More Than This by Patrick Ness
A boy named Seth drowns, desperate and alone in his final moments, losing his life as the pounding sea claims him. But then he wakes. He is naked, thirsty, starving. But alive. How is that possible? He remembers dying, his bones breaking, his skull dashed upon the rocks. So how is he here? And where is this place? It looks like the suburban English town where he lived as a child, before an unthinkable tragedy happened and his family moved to America. But the neighborhood around his old house is overgrown, covered in dust, and completely abandoned. What s going on? And why is it that whenever he closes his eyes, he falls prey to vivid, agonising memories that seem more real than the world around him? Seth begins a search for answers, hoping that he might not be alone, that this might not be the hell he fears it to be, that there might be more than just this..

Speed Freak by Fleur Beale
Archie Barrington, fifteen, is the third generation of his family to drive karts competitively. He’s good, and this is the year he and his dad have decided he’ll have a shot at the Challenge series of six races. If he comes out the winner overall then he wins the chance to race in Europe.However, he’s not the only good driver after the prize. Craig is his main rival, and Craig’s father is wealthy and prepared to spend whatever it takes to help his son win the Challenge.

Archie doesn’t let Craig worry him, but Silver Adams is another matter. She’s come back into karting after a two-year break and her ambition seems to be to drive her kart like a weapon of destruction to others on the track, Archie in particular.

His life isn’t the smoothest at home either, thanks to Dad’s new girlfriend Erica who, in Archie’s opinion, is ridiculously overprotective of her seven-year-old son Felix. Karting is the last thing in the world she intends for him to do. However, shy, reserved Felix is fascinated by the whole world of karts.

Archie and Craig dice all year – first Archie wins at a Challenge meeting, but next time Craig does. Archie must win the sixth and last meeting if he’s to win the series. All is going well until disaster strikes in the pre-final, when he’s pushed off the track and breaks an axle. That’s it. Craig will go to Europe but he won’t. Then Silver comes to the rescue unexpectedly and Archie is able to drive the race of his life.

Meeting Cezanne by Michael Morpurgo
When Yannick learns that he is to stay with his Aunt Mathilde in the South of France, he cannot believe his luck. If the paintings of his mother s beloved Cezanne are to be believed, surely Provence is paradise itself. So begins an idyllic month for the young boy: roaming the gentle hills and rolling valleys of Aix-en-Provence, daydreaming about his beautiful cousin Amandine; helping in his aunt and uncle s bustling village inn in the evenings; feeling that he has come to the most wonderful place in the world. Then one evening the idyll is spoilt when an important local comes for dinner and Yannick accidentally destroys a precious drawing the man leaves behind. He could never have imagined that his mother s hero, the world-famous Cezanne, would come to his inn, and sit at one of his tables! Yannick is devastated by what he has done, and resolves to make things right. But in so doing he makes a surprising discovery.

Just So Stories, illustrated by Robert Ingpen
“Once upon a time, O my Best Beloved …” So begins this classic collection of gloriously fanciful tales of how things in the world came to be as they are. Here is the story of how the lazy camel found himself with a hump and how the insatiable curiosity of the elephant earned him his long trunk. Of how the whale was given a throat, and why every rhinoceros has great folds in his skin and a very bad temper. Here too, we fi nd out about the cunning cat that walked by itself, and how clever little Taffy and her Daddy Tegumai made the fi rst alphabet. Rudyard Kipling first entertained his own children with these delightful, warm and humorous stories, which he later wrote down for publication in 1902.  Conjuring up distant lands and exotic jungles, they are bewitching for both children and adults. In this sumptuous volume, which includes the often missing thirteenth story, “The Tabu Tale” (which Kipling added for the American edition in 1903). Kipling’s unforgettable cast of extraordinary animal characters is brought to life in stunning new illustrations by the award-winning illustrator Robert Ingpen.

Just Like Fate by Cat Patrick and Suzanne Young
Caroline is at a crossroads. Her grandmother is sick, maybe dying. Like the rest of her family, Caroline’s been at Gram’s bedside since her stroke. With the pressure building, all Caroline wants to do is escape – both her family and the reality of Gram’s failing health. So when Caroline’s best friend offers to take her to a party one fateful Friday night, she must choose: stay by Gram’s side, or go to the party and live her life. The consequence of this one decision will split Caroline’s fate into two separate paths – and she’s about to live them both. Though there are two distinct ways for her fate to unfold, there is only one happy ending…

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Introducing SmackFiction

SmackFictionI’m really excited to be able to introduce you all to SmackFiction.  SmackFiction is a brand-new mobile app, aimed at teens, that allows readers to discover upcoming novels, read free sample chapters, earn rewards and share what they’re reading with friends.  You can add reviews or comments about the books on the app and tell others about what you’re reading on Facebook.  It’s an awesome app for readers of all ages and I can’t recommend it highly enough.

You can download it for free from the AppStore or Google Play.  Libraries and schools can sign up to receive information on the use of the app by library users and students, and you can also receive a promotion pack with bookmarks and posters.

For more information about SmackFiction read the media release below.

A new mobile app aimed at getting younger adults reading has been launched by Wellington-based SmackFiction. The app features sample chapters for readers to browse when they are commuting or waiting for class, as well as entertaining articles about authors and their creations. People can see what their friends have been reading, and status points are awarded to readers who explore new books and share comments with friends.

Early interest in SmackFiction has come from The New Zealand Book Council and Hutt City Libraries who see the app as a way to divert a mobile focussed generation away from games and onto reading. Authors are interested because they can participate on the app community, allowing them to have direct contact with their fans.

Public Libraries of New Zealand Chair Paula Murdoch says “SmackFiction is to be congratulated in offering readers a new choice in the way they read and the added appeal of connecting with others in an online community to share their love of a good book.”

SmackFiction is supported by HarperCollins New Zealand and many other leading New Zealand publishers who have provided content such as Gecko Press, Steampress Books, Huia and Victoria University Press. SmackFiction particularly celebrates Kiwi fiction, but has attracted interest (and content) from quality publishers in Canada, Australia and the US, who are watching the New Zealand pilot with interest.

The SmackFiction app can be downloaded from the Apple™ App Store by anyone with an iPhone or iPod Touch and a Facebook™ account. An Android™ version will be released shortly.

Libraries and schools will be able to get aggregated reporting on their reader activity by signing up at www.smackfiction.com.

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How I Live Now movie trailer

How I Live Now was Meg Rosoff’s debut YA novel.  I fell in love with Meg’s writing as soon as I started How I Live Now and I’ve read all of her books since then.  Each one is incredibly unique and you never quite know what to expect when you pick up her next book.

How I Live Now is not due out until early 2014 in NZ but I can’t wait to see it.

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Winners of the 2013 LIANZA Children’s Book Awards

The winners of the 2013 LIANZA Children’s Book Awards were announced in Wellington last night.  The LIANZA Children’s Book Awards are awarded by librarians for outstanding children’s books by New Zealand authors and illustrators.  There were some wonderful books on the shortlist again this year, including some of my favourite books of 2012.

I was really glad to see two of my favourites in the shortlist.  Rachael King’s Red Rocks and Mandy Hager’s The Nature of Ash were the winners in their categories.  They are both amazing books and it’s so good to see them get the recognition and awards that they deserve.  Check out the full list of winners below.

LIANZA Junior Fiction Award – Esther Glen Medal
For the most distinguished contribution to literature for children aged 0-15.

Red Rocks by Rachael King, (Random House New Zealand)

LIANZA Young Adult Fiction Award
For the distinguished contribution to literature for children and young adults aged 13 years and above.

The Nature of Ash by Mandy Hager, (Random House New Zealand)

LIANZA Illustration Award – Russell Clark Award
For the most distinguished illustrations in a children’s book.

A Great Cake by Tina Matthews, (Walker Books Australia)

LIANZA Non Fiction Award – Elsie Locke Medal
For a work that is considered to be a distinguished contribution to non-fiction for young people.

At the Beach: Explore & Discover the New Zealand Seashore by Ned Barraud and Gillian Candler, (Craig Potton Publishing)

LIANZA Librarians’ Choice Award 2013
Awarded to the most popular finalist across all awards, as judged by professional librarians of LIANZA.

My Brother’s War by David Hill, (Penguin NZ)

Te Kura Pounamu (te reo Māori)
Awarded to the author of a work, written in Te Reo Māori, which makes a distinguished contribution to literature for children or young people.

Ko Meru by Kyle Mewburn, translated by Ngaere Roberts, illustrated by Ali Teo and John O’Reilly (Scholastic)

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