Inspire young minds: Australia’s best children’s books of 2016 have been announced.

by |August 21, 2016

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The winners for the 2016 Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Book of the Year Awards have been announced.

Professor Margot Hillel, Chair of the CBCA National Board says, “It’s wonderful for our much-loved authors and illustrators to be acknowledged for their work, and we’re thrilled to see new writers in the mix across all categories.”

This year marked the 70th anniversary of the awards, and they continue to reflect the strength and diversity of Australian authors and illustrators. Prizes for the winning and honour books are funded by the CBCA Awards Foundation.

Robert Ingpen was acknowledged with a Lifetime Achievement Award. He has written and illustrated more than 100 books. Look at his beautifully illustrated classics here.

With the winners now announced, Children’s Book Week begins, with activities ensuing across the country in libraries, schools and communities. This year’s theme is Australia! Story Country.



by Fiona Wood

“For Van Uoc Phan, fantasies fell into two categories: nourishing, or pointless. Daydreaming about Billy Gardiner, for example? Pointless. It always left her feeling sick, as though she’d eaten too much sugar. And there was zero chance of a pay-off, because it was a truth universally acknowledged that he only ever went out with girls like Pippa or Tiff or Ava.”

At sixteen, Van Uoc Phan, a scholarship student, has always believed in keeping a low profile: real life will start when school finishes. But when she attracts the attention of popular Billy Gardiner, she finds herself in an unwelcome spotlight. As she struggles to reconcile fantasy Billy with real Billy, she is also grappling with the growing suspicion that… Read more here.


SingleStoneA Single Stone
by Meg McKinlay

Every girl dreams of being part of the line – the chosen seven who tunnel deep into the mountain to find the harvest. No work is more important. Jena is the leader of the line – strong, respected, reliable. And – as all girls must be – she is small; her years of training have seen to that. It is not always easy but it is the way of the things. And so a girl must wrap her limbs, lie still, deny herself a second bowl of stew. Or a first. But what happens when one tiny discovery makes Jena question everything she has ever known? What happens when moving a single stone changes everything? Read more here.




Inbetween DaysInbetween Days
by Vikki Wakefield

At seventeen, Jacklin Bates is all grown up. She’s dropped out of school. She’s living with her runaway sister, Trudy, and she’s in secret, obsessive love with Luke, who doesn’t love her back. She’s stuck in Mobius – a dying town with the macabre suicide forest its only attraction – stuck working in the roadhouse and babysitting her boss’s demented father.

A stranger sets up camp in the forest and the boy next door returns; Jack’s father moves into the shed and her mother steps up her campaign to punish Jack for leaving, too. Trudy’s brilliant façade is cracking and Jack’s only friend, Astrid, has done something unforgivable… Read more here.




by Morris Gleitzman

I hoped the Nazis would be defeated.
And they were.

I hoped the war would be over.
And it was.

I hoped we would be safe.
But we aren’t.

Soon continues the incredibly moving story of Felix, a Jewish boy still struggling to survive in the wake of the liberation of Poland after the end of World War Two… Read more here.


SisterHeartSister Heart
by Sally Morgan

A young Aboriginal girl is taken from the north of Australia and sent to an institution in the distant south. There, she slowly makes a new life for herself and, in the face of tragedy, finds strength in new friendships.

Poignantly told from the child’s perspective, Sister Heart affirms the power of family and kinship… Read more here.







Shadows of the Master
by Emily Rodda

Britta has always wanted to be a trader like her father, sailing the nine seas and bringing precious cargo home to Del harbour.

Her dreams seemed safe until her fathers quest to find the fabled Staff of Tier ended in blood and horror. Now his shamed family is in hiding, and his ship, the Star of Deltora, belongs to the powerful Rosalyn fleet. But Brittas ambition burns as fiercely as ever.

When she suddenly gets the chance to win back her future she knows she has to take it whatever the cost. She has no idea that shadows from a distant, haunted isle are watching her every move… Read more here.




MrHuffMr Huff
by Anna Walker

Bill is having a bad day.

Mr Huff is following him around and making everything seem difficult.

Bill tries to get rid of him, but Mr Huff just gets bigger and bigger!

Then they both stop, and a surprising thing happens… Read more here.


by Danny Parker and Freya Blackwood

On a perfect day, the hours stretch endlessly ahead. Scribbling with chalk, running with kites, digging for shells … paddling, climbing, dreaming. Hour unfolds upon hour, with reassuring comfort and sleep beckoning at the end… 

Danny Parker captures the simplicity, spontaneity and freedom of an idyllic childhood. Kate Greenaway and multiple CBCA winner Freya Blackwood’s paintings of three children roaming a rolling beachside idyll capture the light – and even the smell and feel – of a perfect summer day.

Perfect is balm for the soul… Read more here.


CowTrippedOvertheMoonThe Cow Tripped Over the Moon
by Tony Wilson and Laura Wood

‘Hey diddle diddle, You all know the riddle, A cow jumps over the moon…’

But the moon is very high in the sky. How many attempts will it take before Cow makes her famous high-flying leap? Read more here.




by Nadia Wheatley and Armin Greder (illustrator)

Set in biblical times, a small family sets off across a desert in search of refuge from persecution in their own country, and an ancient story becomes a fable for our times.

Their journey is beset by heat and thirst, threatening tanks and the loss of their donkey, but eventually they reach a refugee camp where they can wait in safety for asylum in another country… Read more here.


Ride RicardoRide, Ricardo, Ride
by Phil Cummings and Shane Devries (illustrator)

Ricardo loved to ride his bike through the village. He rode under endless skies, quiet and clear. He rode every day … But then the shadows came.

Author Phil Cummings is the youngest of eight children and grew up in Port Broughton, South Australia. Life as a kid was full of fabulous adventures and the many stories in his Danny Allen series draw from his experiences growing up on a farm. David Cox is an award-winning author and illustrator. He grew up in outback Queensland but went England to study art at St Martins School of Art… Read more here.


OneStepAtaTimeOne Step at a Time
by Jane Jolly and Sally Heinrich (illustrator)

One Step at a Time is an exquisite picture book which tells a touching story about the relationship between a young boy, Luk, and his elephant, Mali.

On the border of Thailand and Burma, Mali steps on a landmine. Luk supports her during her recovery. Mali is eventually fitted with a prosthesis and gets a second chance at life. One Step at a Time is a groundbreaking story. Heinrich’s beautiful illustrations match Jolly’s light touch when it comes to writing about the sensitive subject of landmines. It is a story about love and friendship that will enthral children around… Read more here.



LennietheLegendLennie the Legend: Solo to Sydney by Pony
by Stephanie Owen Reeder

This is the inspiring true story of nine-year-old Lennie Gwyther who, at the height of the Great Depression in 1932, rode his pony from his home town of Leongatha in rural Victoria to Sydney to witness the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.

Lennie’s 1,000-kilometre solo journey captured the imagination of the nation, and his determination and courage provided hope to many at a difficult time in Australia’s history… Read more here.


PhasmidPhasmid: Saving the Lord Howe Island Stick Insect
by Rohan Cleave

“Sometimes a story of animal survival in the wild is so unbelievable that you couldn’t possibly think it was true. This is one such story, of how a few dedicated people rediscovered a lost species, and others are working together to save it from extinction.” … Read more here.



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Emily is an advocate for quiet reading time - all the time. She spends every spare moment with her nose in a book; there are too many books and not enough time for other hobbies!

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