PERTH-raised artist and author Shaun Tan has won the Picture Book category at the 2019 Book of the Year awards.
Tan’s book Cicada, which looks at bullying, took the honours, while Alison Lester won the Early Childhood category, which received the largest ever number of entries this year.
The Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) announced its top picks in Melbourne on Friday, applauding the variety of contemporary and “gritty” themes tackled by those who won and made the honours list.
Lester’s book Tricky Bad Day used humour to tackle health issues facing kids, while other themes included consumerism and the environment (The All New Must Have Orange 430 by Michael Speechley), the plight of refugees (The Mediterranean by Armin Greder) and reconciliation (Sorry Day by Coral Vass).
“The authors recognised in this year’s awards handle these themes unapologetically but with compassion and sensitivity through vibrant characters, compelling storylines and in the case of picture books, stunning illustrations in a range of artistic media and styles,” CBCA National Chair Professor Margot Hillel said.
A record 488 books were entered, including more than 100 entries from first-time creators.
Tasmanian illustrator Daniel Gray-Barnett was one of the newcomers to receive a top gong, taking out the CBCA Award for New Illustrator for his book Grandma Z about a grandmother who rocks into a quiet town on a motorcycle, changing the life of a little boy called Albert.
The awards mark the start of CBCA Book Week on August 17-23.
LIST OF WINNERS:
Book of the Year: Older Readers – Between Us by Claire Atkins
Book of the Year: Younger Readers – His Name Was Walter by Emily Rodda
Book of the Year: Early Childhood – Tricky’s Bad Day by Alison Lester
Picture Book of the Year – Cicada by Shaun Tan
Eve Pownall Award – Sorry Day by Coral Vass
CBCA Award for New Illustrator – Grandma Z by Daniel Gray-Barnett