Many of us have fond memories of Book Week but do you know the story behind it? There’s a lot more to it than character costumes and parades, most notably the awards which are highly regarded as the most influential awards in Australian children’s literature.
It all started with The Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA).
Established in 1945, the Children’s Book Council of Australia was founded at a time when Australian children’s books were few, and Australian authors and illustrators were virtually unknown. In 1946 the CBCA established annual book awards to promote books of high literary and artistic quality. The awards fostered growth in publishing Australian stories, about Australian lives, told with Australian voices.
The CBCA awards are presented to books of literary merit, for outstanding contribution to Australian children’s literature. It is not a popularity contest and there is no public voting. A panel of experts selects three types of books:
- The notables – highly regarded titles selected from the very long list of entries. Announced on Feb 25 2020. There were over 500 entries! See the list here
- The shortlist – these titles go into the running for the CBCA Book of the Year Awards. Announced on March 31 2020. See the list here
- The CBCA Book of the Year Awards – there are six categories covering different types of books. Here are the winners for 2020:
BOOK OF THE YEAR: OLDER READERS This is How We Change the Ending by Vikki Wakefield, published by Text Publishing
BOOK OF THE YEAR: YOUNGER READERS The Little Wave by Pip Harry, published by University of Queensland Press
BOOK OF THE YEAR: EARLY CHILDHOOD My Friend Fred by Frances Watts, illustrated by Ann Yi, published by Allen and Unwin
BOOK OF THE YEAR: PICTURE BOOK I Need a Parrot by Chris McKimmie, published by Ford Street Publishing
EVE POWNALL AWARD Young Dark Emu: A Truer History by Bruce Pascoe, published by Magabala Books
CBCA AWARD FOR NEW ILLUSTRATOR Baby Business illustrated by Jasmine Seymour, published by Magabala Books
Congratulations to all the winners! As Bruce Pascoe said, these awards are the children’s equivalent of the Miles Franklin Award.
Each year, across Australia, the CBCA brings children and books together celebrating CBCA Book Week. This is the part that really engages children through a program of activities in schools and libraries all around the nation. Almost every parent has a Book Week costume story to share: the last-minute panic, the tears and the triumphs!
Throughout the year, the CBCA works in partnership with authors, illustrators, publishers, booksellers and other organisations in the children’s book world to bring words, images and stories into the hearts and minds of children and adults.
Australian children’s literature enriches our nation and reaches children across the world through international editions.
The CBCA Vision: Creating a community that celebrates quality Australian literature for young people.
The CBCA Mission: Promoting and advocating for the sharing of quality literature for young people across Australia. We showcase Australian creators and collaborate widely to foster a love of reading