The 2014 Inky’s and YASLA Teens’ Top Ten

This week we had the announcement of some YA literature awards. First I was pleased to see the announcement of the winners of the Gold  and Silver Inky Awards. The Inkys are awards for teenage (or YA) novels and are co-ordinated by the Centre for Youth Literature at the State Library of Victoria via insideadog. This year we was the 8th year of the Awards that are voted for online by the readers (who are under 20) of who can be from anywhere in the world. You can look at the titles on this year’s long and short lists and also go back to previous years lists and there are links to previous lists from here.  There have been many wonderful titles that have made these lists so all are worth a look even if they are not the eventual winners. The 2014 winners: The First Third by Will Kostakis and   All the Truth That’s in Me by Julie Berry

  • Gold Inky Award (Australian book): The First Third by Will Kostakis The second novel from the author and it is this is both a funny and sad book about families and adolescence. The main character, part of a Greek-Australian family, is 17 year old  BillyTsiolkas.
    • Publisher’s website with teaching notes here.
    • Melina Marchetta interviews Will Kostakis here.
  • Will Kostakis tells us about his book ‘The First Third’ in the video below

  • Silver Inky Award (International book): All the Truth That’s in Me by Julie Berry  Abducted 4 years previously, Judith is back but  has been mutilated by her abductor, who also murdered her friend. Shunned by the people around her she has to decide if she can regain her voice even if it changes everything around her. A very powerful story.  In the video below, author Julie Berry introduces the novel, “All the Truth That’s In Me.”

We have both these books in our library. They have been read students at our school over the last few months and they would agree that they are great stories.

A few days ago the YALSA’s 2014 Teens’ Top Ten titles were also announced. This Teen Choice list engaged Teens’ Top Ten book groups in sixteen school and public libraries around the country in reading and voting. The selected titles will also be included on the  Teen Book Finder App. It is now available for Android as well as iOS devices and anything that helps encourages my students to read is something I encourage. This app also offers a way to broaden the reading lists of my students in Australia by publicizing and promoting a broader range of book titles than they might otherwise see in the local library.

CBCA 2014 Books of the Year – Winners and runners-up

Congratulations to the authors and illustrators of the books below. To their editors and publishers and also the CBCA judges.

The CBCA winning books for 2014 voted on by the judges, were announced this afternoon. The judges have a difficult job and I know that a lot of deliberation and discassion has gone on. The CBCA awards are given to works that are the benchmarks for quality in Australian children’s literature. The books that made to this short list are being read and enjoyed by the boys. I wrote a post about the older readers shortlist with links for follow-up earlier in the year.  As is usually the case the books chosen this year were quite varied in their styles and subject matter.

The 2014 CBCA Book of the Year awards have been given to the authors and illustrators in the following five categories from older readers to early childhood

Older readers

Winner: Wildlife by Fiona WoodShortlist

Honour Books

  • Fairytales for Wilde Girls by Allyse Near
  • The Sky so Heavy by Claire Zorn


Younger readers

City of Orphans - A very unusual pursuit -smlWinner: City of Orphans: A very unusual pursuit by Catherine Jinks. Catherine has an interesting page about the title, there are teaching notes and, from the Allen and Unwin site, there are Reviews by teachers (PDF) also.

Honour Books

 Early Childhood

Winner: The Swap by Jan Ormerod and Andrew Joyner.  Teacher notes here 

Honour Books:

 Picture book

Rules Of Summer-smlWinner: Rule of Summer by Shaun Tan. I am so pleased that another wonderful book by the brilliant author Shaun Tan won this section. There are some great resources  – my post with links including to videos, a teachers’ guide here and a podcast on The art of Shaun Tan.

Honour Books

 Eve Pownell Award for Information Books

Winner: Jeremy by Christopher Faille

Honour Books

CBCA 2013 Books of the Year: Winners and runners-up

After several months of speculation the CBCA award winners for 2013 have been announced. The CBCA awards are given to works that are the benchmarks for quality in Australian children’s literature. Even making the short list guarantees that there will be attention given to these works.  In two posts about the 2013 shortlists ( older readers and younger readers) I wrote about these books and offered links to follow up each of them. The books chosen this year were quite varied in their styles and subject matter.

The winners and honour books have a gold medallion put onto the covers and they will be bought by schools for their libraries and their use in classes, public libraries and parents (and relatives) of young people.

The 2013 CBCA Book of the Year awards have been given to the authors and illustrators in the following five categories from older readers to early childhood.



Winner: Sea Hearts  by Margo Lanagan 

Honour books: 


The_children_of_the_kingWinner: Children of the King    by Sonya Hartnett

Honour books: 


Winner: The Terrible Suitcase  by Emma Allen & Freya Blackwood (Illus)  Teacher’s notes have been written for this book

Honour books: 

  • With Nan by Tania Cox  and Karen Blair
  • Too Many Elephants in This House by Ursula Dubosarsky and Andrew Joyner


Winner: The Coat  by Ron Brooks (illus) and Julie Hunt. Also available: Teacher Notes and Teacher reviews 

Honour books:

  • Herman and Rosie by Gus Gordon
  • Sophie Scott Goes South by Alison Lester


Winner: Tom the Outback Mailman by Kristin Weidenbach and Timothy Ide. Also available: Teacher Notes 

Honour books:

  • Lyrebird! A True Story  by Jackie Kerin and Peter Gouldthrope
  • Topsy Turvy World: How Australian Animals Puzzled Early Explorers by Kirsty Murray

CBCA Book of the Year 2012 – Older Readers Winners & the others on the Shortlist

Over the weekend I reflected on the winners and the shortlist in general. They were books that had appealed to many of our boys but it was interesting that the winners were mainly male authors, Ursula Dubosarky being the exception. This seems to remind me of a criticism of some other writers awards. Does it mean anything, probably not, and the judges were all female this year – so would there be a bias? As always I suppose there will be some discussion about what missed out and what was declared the winner but I have no complaints and I will be able to “sell” all of them to our students.

My favourite, Goliath (part of the Leviathan series)by Scott Westerfeld didn’t make the shortlist but I do like to read Robert Newton (Runner – set in Richmond in the early 1900’s and The Black Dog Gang, early Sydney) and Scot Gardner (One Dead Seagull and White Ute Dreaming amongst others). Both these authors have done a lot to encourage our boys here to read. Scot Garner has also been to the school in the past to talk to bots about writing. Many were very impressed and his books flew off the shelves for the next few months. Bill Condon has written some very interesting books but a smaller number of our readers seem to like to read his works.

It was also interesting that the publisher who had the most success this year was Allen and Unwin. I seem to think that Penguin have been the dominant publisher in the past. Allen and Unwin have certainly  been very proactive in supporting some good Australian authors.

You can listen to a great podcast recorded by two judges, Trisha Buckley (2012 QLD judge) and Tehani Wessley (2012 WA judge), on the Book Nut Blog. They recorded their discussion on the shortlist for the 2012 CBCA Older Readers category a week before the winners were announced. They were very careful and there were no spoilers before the winners were announced. You can find the podcast on iTunes by searching The Book Nut or access via the Podbean website here

The Winner

Gardner, Scot  The Dead I Know

Find more information about Scot Gardner on the author’s homepage here. Read a review here. The publisher has downloadable notes for teachers and teacher reviews available on their site. Readingjay‘s review here and ReadPlus review

Honour Books

Newton, Robert

When We Were Two

The publisher’s page has some information. Read a review from the Fancy Goods site and a review from ReadPlus.

Condon, Bill  A Straight Line to my Heart

Find more information about Bill Condon on his website. Read a review here and another from Read Plus. The publisher has downloadable notes for teachers and teacher reviews available on their site.

Other shortlisted books:

Bauer, Michael Gerard  Ishmael and the Hoops of Steel

Find more information about on the author’s homepage. Reviewed on the Good Reads site here.

Dubosarsky, Ursula  The Golden Day

Find more information about the author on her website. Read a review here. The publisher has downloadable notes for teachers and teacher reviews available on their site. Listen to Ursula Dubosarsky discussing The Golden Day on ABC Radio National’s The Book Show. You can also watch the BookTrailer

McGahan, Andrew  Ship Kings: The Coming of the Whirlpool

The author has a “mini site” as part of the Allen&Unwin site. Review here There is a Radio National podcast of an author interview available to listen to and you can read an interview with Andrew McGahan about The Coming of the Whirlpool (the Fancy Goods blog). There is also a discussion by the author on the Readings site here. The publisher offers downloadable notes for teachers and teacher reviews available on their site.

The Inky Awards – 2011 long list

It is not long before the CBCA winners are announced and so it is also the time for this year’s Inky’s  awards to be considered. Friday saw the announcement of the long lists. The Inkys are international awards for teenage (or YA) novels and are co-ordinated by the Centre for Youth Literature via insideadog.

This year we will be celebrating the fifth year of the Awards that are voted for online by the readers (who are under 20) of from anywhere in the world. You can read about the history of the Inkys (the winners and the books that have made the long and short lists) here. There have been many wonderful titles that have made these lists so all are worth a look even if they are not the eventual winners.

If you have not read some of these books you can go to this part of the site to find out more about each of them. We will know which titles have made the final cut on September 1 with the online voting open until October 18.

The winners will be announced at the Inkyfest on October 25.

You can read about the 2011 judges with interviews and links on the insideadog site. Lucy Christopher is on the blog already and the other judges will be interviewed each day this week.

Gold Inky 2011 long list:

  • Pig Boy by  JC Burke. The “Tom Brennan” book was such a great story and a well read book in the library. It was also one of the books our VCAL boys had to read. They are boys who, on the whole, do not  usually like reading but it was one they could relate to.  This story is again one that has very strong Australian characters and it is a very honest story about boys, bullying and violence.
  • Good Oil by Laura Buzo. 
  • Just a Girl by Jane Caro.
  • The FitzOsbournes in Exile by Michelle Cooper.
  • Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley. A book whose characters were very recognisable to many of our students.
  • This is Shyness by Leanne Hall.
  • Black Painted Fingernails by Steven Herrick.
  • Silvermay by James Moloney. This one is new to us. We have all of James Moloney’s books for secondary school students. The fantasy ones have been very popular and this looks to be no exception.
  • The Comet Box by Adrian Stirling. Adrian Stirling’s first book Broken Glass was a very a contemporary story about rural Australian life. The Comet Box  is another look at Australian life. It is a suburban mystery that examines life in 1986  Geelong. Told through the stories of a number of different characters as they are touched by one family’s traumatic event but experienced by many within the community.
  • All I Ever Wanted by Vikki Wakefield. We only bought this book last week and another member of our staff has it for the holidays. It another first novel and what an achievement to make it to the Inky long list

Silver Inky 2011 long list:

We have some of these books, some we have not seen and some we have looked at but decided not to buy. As a school for teenage boys, we have to work out what to spend our money on to get the “best value” for our money. Books may be very well written and interesting but literature that looks to “girlie” on the cover will not get read. The boys all have to bring wider reading books to all English classes and the covers matter. Science fiction and fantasy can get away with certain symbols on the cover but in general the boys are very sensitive to how the book looks to the others.

This is the great thing about having books in e-book format. The boys who are interested in reading beyond the traditional “boys” literature, who are willing to give different stories a go, don’t have to worry about message the covers will give to their school mates.

There are others here that, after reading the on-line comments, I must get my hands on and read. I will also be encouraging our boys to vote for their favourites.

Useful sites (weekly)

in future metric of success may be if 10 by lynetter, on Flickr
Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 2.0 Generic License  by  lynetter 

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

CBCA Book of the Year 2010 Winners

I was very pleased that Jarvis 24 was the CBCA winner this year. This is a great book for the boys at our school. It is set in Melbourne, has Aussie Rules football as a background and a young man going through some easily  identifiable teenage concerns.

I wrote a post about a video interview with David Metzenthen. In it he talks about writing and about the novel earlier this year.

Older Readers Book of the Year

  • NB: These books may be for mature readers
  • WINNER: Metzenthen, David   Jarvis 24 (Penguin) Set in the Eastern suburbs of Melbourne there is already a “hook” for our boys. It is a love story but not the “girly” stories that sometimes get written. It is a good story for young men. Marc is a private school boy on work experience. He meets Elektra, an elite runner from Broome, who has been “bought” by another big Melbourne school. The story is about how two young people see their world and the love story is really doomed from the start. Mark realizes that Elektra will run away from him in the end. For all that I have said, the story is humorous and concerns friendship and what you can offer to others. Many of our boys could relate to the characters and situation. 
  • It is also nominated for the Prime Minister’s  Literary Award 2010                                
  • Honour:  Clarke, Judith The Winds of Heaven (Allen & Unwin) (Upper age level) From the point-of-view of an older woman as she looks back on her life and choices made. A retell by Clementine and an ccount by Fan (city and country) A very sad story.                           
  • Honour:  Millard, Glenda  A Small Free Kiss in the Dark (Allen & Unwin) The author uses beautiful lyrical prose. We are presented us with a grim scenario – the outbreak of war (and it comes to Melbourne) – but it is the story of hope and survival in post-apocalyptic world.       

Younger Readers Book of the Year

  • NB: These books are intended for independent younger readers
  • WINNER:  Hirsch, Odo  Darius Bell and the Glitter Pool       
  • Honour:  Lester, Alison  Running with the Horses                 
  • Honour:  Murphy, Sally Illus: Potter, Heather  Pearl Verses the World   

Early Childhood Book of the Year

  • NB: Intended for children in the pre-reading to early reading stages
  • WINNER:  Shanahan, Lisa Illus: Quay, Emma  Bear & Chook by the Sea  A new adventure for Bear and Chook. It is about the value of friendship. A beautful protrayal of a journey/trip to the seaside. Beautiful colours and illusrtation – esp showing movement Fearless: Lovely portrayal of the passage of time (with the children growing bigger)
  • Honour:  Booth, Christina  Kip Predicable and repetitive storylines that are great for small children. Very interesting use of the streetscape that continues right though the book.                                           
  • Honour: Gleeson, Libby Illus: Blackwood, Freya  Clancy & Millie and the Very Fine House Great use of illustration

Picture Book of the Year

  • NB: Intended for an audience ranging from birth to 18 years. Some books may be for mature readers
  • WINNER:  Rogers, Gregory  The Hero of Little Street Wordless picture book. We have met the boy before in the Boy, the Bear, the Baron, the Bard. The illustrations in the book range in size from small sequential frames, to frames of varying sizes on a page to a full page and there is one double-page spread.
  • Honour: Cool, Rebecca, Text: Millard, Glenda  Isabella’s Garden Eastern European fairytale-style used throughout the book. The story is a variant of ‘This is the House that Jack Built’ and it ebbs and flows as the seasons pass in the garden. A word in the rhyme also changes slightly. 
  • Honour:  Oliver, Narelle  Fox and Fine Feathers  Constructed like a fable, this book also has an environmental theme. The images extend beyond their frames and vary in size from page to page therefore visually interesting. There are wordless double-page spreads to some pages with small storyboard-like images. There is also a dramatic leaping fox page                                      

Eve Pownall Book of the Year

  • NB: Intended for an audience ranging from birth to 18 years. Some books may be for mature readers
  • WINNER:  Macinnis, Peter  Australian Backyard Explorer                  
  • Honour:  Patrick, Tanya, Illus: Hutcheson, Nicholas  Polar Eyes: a Journey to Antarctica
  • Honour: Yalata & Oak Communities with Mattingley, Christobel  Maralinga: The Anangu Story

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