Judges for 2019 NZ Book Awards for Children and Young Adults share a passion for the transformative power of books

By NZ Book Awards | Posted: Thursday November 29, 2018

A panel of judges combining deep knowledge of the children’s literature community with youthful wisdom and a shared passion for the transformative power of books has been selected to deliberate over entries to the 2019 New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults.

Highly respected reviewer and librarian Crissi Blair will convene the English language panel, which will also include poet and co-founding editor of The Sapling Jane Arthur, author and editor Raymond Huber, teacher and award-winning writer Tania Roxborogh, and librarian Simie Simpson, previously a popular children’s publisher sales manager.

Te Rōpū Whakahau, the national body representing Māori within the library and information profession, has reappointed the experienced panel of Moana Munro (convenor), Anahera Morehu and Jacqueline Joyce Snee to judge the Wright Family Foundation Te Kura Pounamu Award, which recognises and celebrates books written or translated into te reo Māori.

The English language judges will read and appraise an expected 150 or so entries in five categories: Picture Book, Junior Fiction (the Wright Family Foundation Esther Glen Award), Young Adult Fiction, Non-fiction (the Elsie Locke Award) and Illustration (the Russell Clark Award). They will select five finalists in each category, as well as up to five finalists for a Best First Book Award and then a winner in each category. The overall winner, the Margaret Mahy Award for Book of the Year, will be decided by both panels.

Also a judge in the 2018 awards, Crissi Blair said she was delighted to have been invited back as the 2019 convener and honoured to be working alongside such an experienced group of passionate children’s literature advocates. "We are fortunate to have a judging panel from diverse backgrounds and many different aspects of the children's book world. I look forward to combining our skills as we explore this year's submissions."

The 2019 judges will once again seek input on each category during their deliberations from school advisory panels. “We found this not only to be an illuminating exercise in terms of what books interest children as opposed to adults, but it also created an opportunity for education in getting the groups to understand the criteria and to look at each book with a critical eye,” says Crissi of the 2018 process.

Submissions for the 2019 awards are now open to books published between 1 April 2018 and 30 March 2019. The first deadline, for books published up to 30 November 2018, is 13 December 2018. More details about how to enter can be found here.

Category finalists will be announced on Thursday 6 June 2019 and the awards ceremony will be held in Wellington in early August 2019, preceded by a series of large-scale finalist author events in at least three centres around New Zealand.

The New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults are made possible through the generosity, commitment and vision of funders and sponsors Creative New Zealand, HELL Pizza, Wright Family Foundation, LIANZA, Wellington City Council, Te Papa and Nielsen Book. They are supported by Booksellers NZ.

For more information about the 2019 judges, go here.

Any queries about the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults should be directed to Awards Administrator Joy Sellen at childrensawards@nzbookawards.org.nz


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