Old Hu-Hu Takes Out Top Children’s Literature Prize
19 May 2010
Central Otago writer Kyle Mewburn and Wellington illustrator Rachel Driscoll have won the country’s highest accolade in children’s literature, the New Zealand Post Children’s Book of the Year Award for their picture book, Old Hu-Hu.
The work, which is also published in te reo as Hū-Hū Koroheke translated by Kāterina Te Heikōkō Mataira, is described by New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards judges’ convenor, Rosemary Tisdall as a beautifully and sensitively told story of the loss of a special friend, which helps to explain death and will reassure young children that the spirit of someone can still live on.
‘From the endpapers to the specially created font, this book is the complete package. It is a tender story that focuses on the positive aspects of growing old without succumbing to sentimentality.
‘Driscoll has also performed the amazing feat of making one of New Zealand’s ugliest insects into heroic and loveable ﬁgures,’ says Mrs Tisdall.
The Awards’ Te Reo Advisor, Paora Tibble said the text in Hū-Hū Koroheke was descriptive and rich in terms of the kupu (words), reflecting the original English version.
‘Dr Mataira could have written a ‘straight translation’, but she has created beautiful word pictures to complement the illustrations.’
Old Hu-Hu also took the Picture Book Category prize at a gala ceremony held in the Auckland Town Hall this evening.
The judging panel, which also included reviewer Trevor Agnew, and former journalist, now children’s bookshop co-owner, Ruth McIntyre collectively stated that it was a real privilege to have read such a wide cross-section of New Zealand books and commented that they were excited by the obvious effort made to raise the quality of publication.
‘New Zealand children’s writing is going from strength to strength with writers continuing to come up with original, challenging ideas. Several writers pulled out all the stops to create a real step up from their previous writing.
‘One sixth of the submissions were from new writers – and many of these first books were brilliant, showing enormous promise. We look forward to seeing many of them represented in the finalist list in future.’
Another picture book, The Wonky Donkey won the coveted 2010 Children’s Choice Award. This prize is much sought-after by authors as a true mark of their audience’s opinion. The hilarious, rhythmical story about a bad-tempered, braying mule, written by Craig Smith and illustrated by Katz Cowley, won by a clear majority this year.
The full list of Category Award winners and the Honour Award recipient in the 2010 New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards are:
Picture Book Category Award and New Zealand Post Book of the Year
Old Hu-Hu by Kyle Mewburn, illustrated by Rachel Driscoll (Scholastic New Zealand)
Te reo edition: Hū-Hū Koroheke, translated by Kāterina Te Heikōkō Mataira (Scholastic New Zealand)
The Word Witch by Margaret Mahy, illustrated by David Elliot and edited by Tessa Duder (HarperCollins Publishers)
Non-fiction Category Award
E3 Call Home by Janet Hunt (Random House New Zealand)
Junior Fiction Category Award
The Loblolly Boy by James Norcliffe (Longacre Press)
Young Adult Fiction Category Award
Blood of the Lamb: The Crossing by Mandy Hager (Random House New Zealand)
Best First Book Award
The Bone Tiki by David Hair (HarperCollins Publishers)
Children’s Choice Award
The Wonky Donkey by Craig Smith, illustrated by Katz Cowley (Scholastic New Zealand)
Each Category Award winner received $7,500. The winner of the New Zealand Post Children’s Book of the Year Award took home an extra $7,500. The winner of the Best First Book Award and the Children’s Choice Award received prize money of $2,000 each.
An Honour Award was presented in the Picture Book Category this year. This Award is discretionary and is awarded in recognition of particular features in a book. The Honour Award recipient received $500.
New Zealand Post has been supporting the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards since 1997 to help promote literacy and literature throughout the country. The partnership has seen the Awards flourish, growing from strength to strength over the last decade. Working closely with Booksellers NZ, New Zealand Post and other dedicated segments of the community actively encourage New Zealand children to read and enjoy books. For those with limited access to new works, New Zealand Post also purchases and distributes books by the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards finalists through the Books in Homes programme each year.
The New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards are also supported by Creative New Zealand and Book Tokens (NZ) Ltd and are administered by Booksellers NZ.
• Authors and illustrators are available for interview
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