Books for children can often get a little overlooked, but a closer examination of our 2014 Book of the Year for Younger Children (0-8 years) shortlist reveals this fascinating fact: in no other category are the nominees more diverse, nor the numbers more impressive.
Our shortlist features: artists, playwrights, illustrators and writers; a Pixar concept artist-slash-director of an Academy Award-winning short film; a punk singer-turned-expert on all things ‘bum’; and a former pterodactyl counsellor*. And we can’t say that about the Literary Fiction Book of the Year nominees.
Exciting debuts Hilary Bell and Antonia Pesenti keep excellent company in distinguished children’s book veteran Alison Lester. Meanwhile, Nick Bland’s VERY BRAVE BEAR goes head-to-head with boxing elephant THE TRUNKINATOR from Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton’s THE 39-STOREY TREEHOUSE. Shaun Tan’s RULES OF SUMMER illuminates the shadowy secrets of childhood friendship in Australia, while Kate Knapp’s glorious RUBY RED SHOES GOES TO PARIS takes us on a beautiful journey through the streets of the world’s most chic city. See? Gorgeous diversity everywhere you look.
And, finally, to the numbers. Another impressive fact about the shortlist for Book of the Year for Younger Children is that it contains the highest selling Australian book of 2013 in THE 39-STOREY TREEHOUSE. That’s the most copies sold across all age categories and genres. A note to literary fiction writers everywhere: if you’re shooting for the bestseller’s lists, it might be time to consider including that chocolate waterfall…
The shortlist for Book of the Year for Younger Children (0-8) is:
- THE VERY BRAVE BEAR by Nick Bland (Scholastic Press)
- RULES OF SUMMER by Shaun Tan (Lothian Children’s Books)
- THE 39-STOREY TREEHOUSE by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton (Pan Australia)
- RUBY RED SHOES GOES TO PARIS by Kate Knapp (HarperCollins Publishers)
- ALPHABETICAL SYDNEY by Hilary Bell and Antonia Pesenti (NewSouth Books)
- KISSED BY THE MOON by Alison Lester (Viking)
* NB: We think Terry Denton may have made this up.