The 2019 CBCA Book of the Year winners are here!

by |August 16, 2019

The winners of the 2019 CBCA Book of the Year awards have just been announced!

At a ceremony held in Melbourne’s Federation Square and hosted by children’s author Tony Wilson, hundreds of authors, readers, booksellers, and teachers joined The Children’s Book Council of Australia to see which books would snag the top prize in their category.

Considered to be Australia’s most prestigious literary award for children’s books, the CBCA Book of the Year is presented in six categories: Older Readers, Younger Readers, Early Childhood, Picture Books, Eve Pownall Award and CBCA Award for New Illustrator (formerly the Crichton Award).

The 2019 Nan Chauncy Award also went to author James Moloney for his outstanding contribution to the field of Australian children’s literature.

Scroll down to see all of the winners!


Book of the Year: Older Readers

Between Us by Clare Atkins

Between Us - 2019 CBCA

Is it possible for two very different teenagers to fall in love despite high barbed-wire fences and a political wilderness between them?

Anahita is passionate, curious and determined. She is also an Iranian asylum seeker who is only allowed out of detention to attend school. On weekdays, during school hours, she can be a ‘regular Australian girl’. Jono needs the distraction of an infatuation. In the past year his mum has walked out, he’s been dumped and his sister has moved away. Lost and depressed, Jono feels as if he’s been left behind with his Vietnamese single father, Kenny.

Kenny is struggling to work out the rules in his new job; he recently started work as a guard at the Wickham Point Detention Centre. He tells Anahita to look out for Jono at school, but quickly comes to regret this, spiralling into suspicion and mistrust. Who is this girl, really? What is her story? Is she a genuine refugee or a queue jumper? As Jono and Anahita grow closer, Kenny starts snooping behind the scenes…

See the 2019 shortlist for Older Readers here.


Book of the Year: Younger Readers

His Name Was Walter by Emily Rodda

His Name Was Walter - 2019 CBCA

From Australia’s favourite storyteller comes a story, within a story, that shows us the extraordinary power of true love and solves a decades-old mystery.

‘Once upon a time, in a dark city far away, there lived a boy called Walter, who had nothing but his name to call his own…’ The handwritten book, with its strangely vivid illustrations, has been hidden in the old house for a long, long time. Tonight, four kids and their teacher will find it. Tonight, at last, the haunting story of Walter and the mysterious, tragic girl called Sparrow will be read – right to the very end…

See the 2019 shortlist for Younger Readers here.


Book of the Year: Early Childhood

Tricky’s Bad Day by Alison Lester

Tricky's Bad Day - 2019 CBCA

Poor Tricky! Nothing is going right for him. Milk spills, pyjama buttons won’t work, his little sister wrecks their game, and when he tries to help out, everything gets worse.

Tricky’s having a very bad day! Then Dad has an idea. Outside it’s wild, but there’s a lot to explore…

From Australia’s favourite picture-book creator comes a warm and funny story about the very recognisable mess, muddle and love that is the life of a young family – and the freedom of an outside adventure.

See the 2019 shortlist for Early Childhood here.


Picture Book of the Year

Cicada by Shaun Tan

Cicada - 2019 CBCA

Cicada work in tall building.
Data entry clerk. Seventeen year.
No sick day. No mistake.
ok Tok Tok!

Cicada works in an office, dutifully toiling day after day for unappreciative bosses and being bullied by his coworkers. But one day, Cicada goes to the roof of the building, and something truly extraordinary happens…

A story for anyone who has ever felt unappreciated, overlooked or overworked, from Australia’s most acclaimed picture book creator.

See the 2019 shortlist for Picture Books here.


Eve Pownall Award

Sorry Day by Coral Vass and Dub Leffler (Illustrator)

Sorry Day - 2019 CBCA

There was a hum of excitement.
Flags flickered in the breeze as Maggie’s heart danced with delight.
‘This is a very special day!’ her mother said.

Maggie holds tight to her mother as they await the long anticipated apology to show a willingness to reconcile the past for future generations. In the excitement of the crowd Maggie loses touch of her mother’s hand and is lost.

In a time ‘long ago and not so long ago’ children were taken from their parents, their ‘sorrow echoing across the land’.

As the Prime Minister’s speech unfolds Maggie is reunited with her mother. But the faces and memories of the stolen generation are all around them.

Two stories entwine in this captivating retelling of the momentous day when the then Prime Minister of Australia, Kevin Rudd, acknowledged the sorrows of past and said ‘Sorry’ to the generation of children who were taken from their homes.

See the 2019 shortlist for the Eve Pownall Award here.


Award for New Illustrators

Grandma Z by Daniel Gray-Barnett

Grandma Z - 2019 CBCA

On an ordinary day, in an even more ordinary town, it was Albert’s birthday.

When Grandma Z roars into town on her motorcycle, Albert is swept up in a very extraordinary adventure.

This glorious debut from Daniel Gray-Barnett is filled with wonder, imagination, and a wild, magical spirit that will thrill young and old.

See the 2019 shortlist for the New Illustrators Award here.


Congratulations to all of the winners!

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About the Contributor

Olivia Fricot is the Editor of the Booktopian Blog. After finishing a soul-crushing law degree, she decided that life was much better with one's nose in a book and quickly defected to the world of Austen and Woolf. You can usually find her reading (obviously), baking, writing questionable tweets, and completing a Master's degree in English literature. Just don't ask about her thesis. Olivia is on Twitter and Instagram @livfricot - follow at your own risk.

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