On Friday, 19th August 2016, The Children’s Book Council of Australia presented its Book of the Year Awards in 6 traditional categories: picture book, early childhood book, book for younger readers, older readers, information book and award for book illustration for an emerging artist.
This year the CBCA Book of the Year Awards celebrate its 70th anniversary. The 2016 Awards Ceremony has been organised with the assistance of the CBCA NSW branch headed by the woman of extraordinary passion for children’s literature and books Gail Erskine. The CBCA Patron, the Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove attended the Awards Ceremony and presented the Book of the Year awards to all winners.
In her heartfelt talk the CBCA Deputy Chair Margaret Hamilton spoke of the early days of the Awards, when in the late 1940’s female winners were presented with a camellia bloom whereas male winners were given a handshake. The CBCA and the Book of the Year Awards have since gone from strength to strength. Today, thanks to the CBCA’s Awards Foundation efforts the winners receive the monetary award as well as the well-deserved recognition; the $70,000 cash prize pool this year is the highest in the Awards’ history (and a fitting figure to mark its anniversary).
Prior to launching into the announcement of the 2016 winners, the CBCA made another presentation, which fit this occasion perfectly: the Life-Time Achievement Award to Robert Ingpen.
In my world Robert Ingpen needs no introduction, but if you are just discovering this person and his creative powers please check out the gallery of artworks and the book reviews in this blog (I absolutely admire Robert Ingpen’s work and so it features prominently here).
Robert Ingpen turns 80 this year and the CBCA is not the only one recognising his extraordinary achievements. National Library of Australia is publishing “Wonderlands: The Illustration Art of Robert Ingpen” (out in October 2016), whereas The Metropolis Gallery in his hometown Geelong in Victoria organises the exhibition “Robert Ingpen’s Storybook Art” featuring about 80 original illustrations and paintings by the artist (15-29 October 2016).
Following the presentation of the Life-Time Achievement Award, the CBCA’s Patron the Governor-General Sir Peter Cosgrove announced and presented the Book of the Year Awards to the 2016 winners (full list of short-listed and honour books is at www.cbca.org.au/winners-2016):
- Picture Book
“Flight” by Nadia Wheatley, illustrated by Armin Greder
- Early Childhood
“Mr Huff” by Anna Walker
- Younger Readers
“Soon” by Morris Gleitzman
- Older Readers
“Cloudwish” by Fiona Wood
- The Eve Pownall Award for Information Book
“Lennie the Legend” by Stephanie Owen Reeder
- The Crichton Award for Illustration (emerging artists)
“The Underwater Fancy-Dress Parade” by Allison Colpoys
My personal favourite (and that of my son) that did not win but made it to the Honour List in the Eve Pownall Award category for information book is:
“Phasmid: Saving the Lord Howe Island Stick Insect” by Rohan Cleave, illustrated by Coral Tulloch
Congratulations to all the winners and happy reading to all of us who love a good children’s book!
Lastly, can not resist sharing this great moment in my life: meeting the Master, the man whose work, energy and passion I admire, whose books I love and hope to spread that love. Not only did he sign (a ton of!) my books with his illustrations but quizzed me a bit on the reading habits of Russians, curious about them as his Russian royalties are apparently biggest of them all, compared to the rest of the world. Yep, most of us (not just Russians but throughout the huge Soviet Union) were brought up as keen readers and many appreciate good illustrations and consequently are in love with Robert Ingpen’s art.
One of my dreams come true (as this ear-to-ear grin of mine clearly attests to):
To read more about Robert Ingpen and see his other books see here.