Imagine my surprise when I came back from a couple of days away to find 3 big boxes of books waiting for me. Ever since the announcement that I’m going to be a judge for the 2014 New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards, I’ve been wondering which books will be chosen to be considered for the awards. There have been so many wonderful New Zealand books published in the last year and I’ve had quite a few favourites.
When I couldn’t wait any longer I opened the boxes to find 104 beauties (only the first lot of submissions) waiting for me to open their covers and discover the stories and information that await inside. I was glad to find my favourites, those stories that have stuck in my mind, as well as some I had really wanted to read but hadn’t got around to, and some books that I hadn’t even heard of. There are some whose covers and design jump right out at you and beg to be read, and others whose poor design and production will be barriers for some readers discovering the story within the pages.
I sorted the books into those that I have read and those that I haven’t, and as you can see by the photo there is quite a difference. My first goal is to go back through those I have read so far this year and remind myself what it was that I liked/didn’t like about them, then start some serious reading of my ‘to-be-read pile.’
My mountain of books awaits me so I must get started. I’ll report back soon on how the reading is going and what gems I have discovered.
I’m thrilled to finally be able to announce that I’ll be joining Barbara Else and Ant Sang as a judge for the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards next year. I’m incredibly honoured to be a part of the awards and it’s very exciting.
I’ve been a part of the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Festival for the last 3 years, as the coordinator for the Canterbury Festival. This is a role that I have loved as it has given me the chance to take the finalist books out to my region and share them with children of all ages. The roadshow that our Canterbury committee did this year for the Festival was one of the best experiences I’ve had as a librarian, as we got to talk about the finalist books and read them to so many children in our region. Having the opportunity to actually be one of the three people choosing which books are the best books in New Zealand over the past year feels absolutely incredible. We have so many talented authors and illustrators in New Zealand who create some magical, captivating, adventure-filled and even heart-breaking books, so it is going to be a huge task to choose the best.
I’m going to have lots of reading ahead of me – approximately 120 books! I’m certainly looking forward to receiving my first box of books and starting my reading. There will be books that I’ve already read and loved, but there are sure to be some treasures that I’m yet to discover. I hope to share some thoughts on my life as a judge here on the blog and talk about some of the books I’m reading.
How exciting is it to be a judge? Let Kermit show you:
To find out more about the 2014 judges check out the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards website.
Henry is a very particular sort of pig, who believes there’s ‘a place for everything and everything in its place.’ But when he looks out the window, he’s troubled. The farm is a mess! How will anybody find anything? Henry comes up with a plan. He’ll draw a map! Follow Henry and his friends through the farm as he draws the map. Will this sort everything out?
Henry’s Map is a very funny picture book that’s full of surprises. I started reading it thinking it was going to be a pretty straight-forward story, but David Elliot had me laughing out loud as the story took an unexpected turn. It’s so much fun to read aloud, because you naturally speed-up the second part of the story as the animals are all rushing around.
The animals all have quite unique personalities so you can’t help but do different voices for each one. Henry the very organised pig is a cute wee guy who kids will love. He proudly clutches his map and shows it off to the other animals on the farm, but he gets quite flustered when he thinks that it’s all wrong.
David’s illustrations are superb and his characters are very animated. The sheep are bursting with energy, the chickens are all in a flap, and the horse is galloping full-pelt down the hill. One moment they full of delight and the next they’re full of worry.
Grab a copy of Henry’s Map by one of our most talented author/illustrators, David Elliot.
Rachael King’s Red Rocks was my favourite for the 2013 New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards. Although it didn’t win the award, it’s a winning book in my opinion. As part of the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Festival in Canterbury we gave away copies of Red Rocks to children at every school we visited.
Luckily for you, we had a few copies left over at the end of the week so I’m giving away 3 signed copies of Red Rocks here on the blog. All you have to do to get in the draw is enter your name and email address in the form below. Competition closes Wednesday 10 July (NZ only).
Thanks to everyone who entered. The winners are Stephanie, Joy and Sandra.