Finding your Place: The 2022 Children’s Book of the Year Winners

The 2022 Children's Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Awards celebrate writers who give our children stories that connect them to today's modern Australian landscape.

With themes that capture a panorama of Australian life – including cultural heritage, our place in family or friendships, identity and finding your place – this year’s Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year winning authors have explored richness, variety, and quality, reflecting the hunger of our younger Australian readers for diverse stories of today’s modern landscape.

Author Shirley Marr won the Young Readers award for A Glasshouse of Stars. The book tells the story of a young girl, Meixing, and her family as they face the challenges of travelling to their new home in Australia. They must grapple with culture shock, loss and loneliness – common experiences for migrants when moving to a new country.

 ‘It makes me feel seen,’ says Shirley of the award, ‘and I hope that everyone out there who has or is currently struggling with the hardship of change and impermanence feels a light shine upon them too’.

The awards coincide with the start of Book Week, which runs from 20 – 26 August. This year’s theme is ‘Dreaming with eyes open…’, with schools and early learning centres across Australia celebrating throughout the week.

Here are the winners in the six categories, with comments from the Children’s Book Council Award judges:

Book of the Year: Older Readers

Tiger Daughter by Rebecca Lim, Allen & Unwin.

‘A beautifully written story of the challenges and injustices of culturally based domestic violence and the injustices and effects of migrant discrimination.’

Girls in Boys’ Cars by Felicity Castagna, Pan Macmillian Australia.
How to Repaint a Life by Steven Herrick, University of Queensland Press.

Book of the Year: Younger Readers

A Glasshouse of Stars by Shirley Marr, Penguin Random House Australia.

‘Using the rarely seen second person point of view … The subtle magic of both the house and the glasshouse serves as an extension of the protagonist’s emotions and provide her with hope.’

Dragon Skin by Karen Foxlee, Allen & Unwin.
Rabbit, Soldier, Angel, Thief by Katrina Nannestad, ABC: An Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

Book of the Year: Early Childhood

Jetty Jumping by Andrea Rowe illustrated by Hannah Sommerville, Hardie Grant’s Children Publishing.

‘A beautifully written and highly relatable book about overcoming fears. Time and place have been carefully created to depict an Australian beach town in summer. The language is rich and descriptive, using apt vocabulary and alliteration.’

Walk of the Whales by Nick Bland, Hardie Grant’s Children Publishing.
Amira’s Suitcase by Vikki Conley illustrated by Nicky Johnston, New Frontier Publishing.

Picture Book of the Year

Iceberg by Claire Saxby, illustrated by Jess Racklyeft, Allen & Unwin.

‘The use of many shades of blue beautifully reflects this icy environment and immerses readers in the Antarctic. A sense of wonder is created through transparent layers of water allowing readers to spot life above and the mysteries below the surface.’

Stellarphant by James Foley, Fremantle Press.
Just One Bee by Margrete Lamond and Anthony Bertini, illustrated by Christopher Nielsen, Dirt Lane Press and imprint of WestWords.

The Eve Pownall Award

Still Alive, Notes from Australia’s Immigration Detention System by Safdar Ahmed, Twelve Panels Press.

‘A confronting, raw and graphic account of the history and treatment of asylum seekers and refugees under successive Australian governments. The black and white drawings, well-integrated with the text, are detailed and the inclusion of artwork by the detainees is powerful. The language is direct, occasionally didactic, and emotive at times.’

Note: There is mature content such as self-harm, executions, sexual intimacy and assault, both in written and drawn examples.

The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Peculiar Pairs in Nature by Sami Bayly, Hachette Australia.
Heroes, Rebels and Innovators by Karen Wyld illustrated by Jaelyn Biumaiwai, Hachette Australia.

Award for New Illustrator

The Boy Who Tried to Shrink His Name illustrated by Michelle Pereira written Sandhya Parappukkaran by Hardie Grant Children’s Publishing.

‘An excellent production with high-quality, very appealing retro illustrations which have been created with a limited colour palette using bold strokes and ‘splattered’ detail. ’

Find out more

Visit the Children’s Book Council of Australia for more details. You can also watch the video of the awards presentation below.

The awards coincide with Book Week, 20 – 26 August 2022, with the theme Dreaming with eyes open…

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