New Zealand Book Awards Shortlists

The shortlists for the 2020 New Zealand Book Awards for children and young adults have been announced. The awards are given in a wide variety of categories. Here are the shortlisted titles:


Abigail and the birth of the sun

Abigail and the Birth of the Sun, Matthew Cunningham, illustrated by Sarah Wilkins

How Maui Slowed the Sun: Tales From Aotearoa

How Māui Slowed the Sun, written and illustrated by Donovan Bixley

Goody Four-Shoes (Mini Whinny, #2)

Mini Whinny: Goody Four Shoes, Stacy Gregg, illustrated by Ruth Paul

Santa's Worst Christmas

Santa’s Worst Christmas, Pania Tahau-Hodges and Bryony Walker, illustrated by Isobel Joy Te Aho-White

The Gobbledegook Book

The Gobbledegook Book, Joy Cowley, illustrated by Giselle Clarkson




#Tumeke!, Michael Petherick

Lizard's Tale

Lizard’s Tale, Weng Wai Chan

Moonlight The Unicorn's High Tea Hiccup (Miniwings, #6)

Miniwings Book 6 Moonlight the Unicorn’s High Tea Hiccup, Sally Sutton, illustrated by Kirsten Richards

Prince of Ponies

Prince of Ponies, Stacy Gregg

Time Machine and other stories

Time Machine and other stories, Melinda Szymanik



Afakasi Woman

Afakasi Woman, Lani Wendt Young


Aspiring, Damien Wilkins

The History Speech

The History Speech, Mark Sweet


Ursa, Tina Shaw

Wynter's Thief

Wynter’s Thief, Sherryl Jordan



Kuwi & Friends Maori Picture Dictionary

Kuwi & Friends Māori Picture Dictionary, written and illustrated by Kat Quin, translated by Pānia Papa


Mophead, Selina Tusitala Marsh

Te Tiriti o Waitangi / The Treaty of Waitangi

Te Tiriti o Waitangi / The Treaty of Waitangi, Ross Calman and Mark Derby, illustrated by Toby Morris, translated by Piripi Walker

The Adventures of Tupaia

The Adventures of Tupaia, Courtney Sina Meredith, illustrated by Mat Tait

Three Kiwi Tales: More fabulous fix-it stories from Wildbase Hospital

Three Kiwi Tales, Janet Hunt



Dozer the Fire Cat

Dozer the Fire Cat, illustrated by Jenny Cooper, written by Robyn Prokop

Santa's Worst Christmas

Santa’s Worst Christmas, illustrated by Isobel Joy Te Aho-White, written by Pania Tahau-Hodges and Bryony Walker

Song of the River

Song of the River, illustrated by Kimberly Andrews, written by Joy Cowley

The Adventures of Tupaia

The Adventures of Tupaia, illustrated by Mat Tait, written by Courtney Sina Meredith

Wildlife of Aotearoa

Wildlife of Aotearoa, illustrated and written by Gavin Bishop


WRIGHT FAMILY FOUNDATION TE KURA POUNAMU AWARD (books written completely in te reo Māori)

Arapū Toi

Arapū Toi, Moira Wairama, illustrated by Austin Whincup

Ko Flit, Te Tīrairaka me Ngā Hēki Muna (Flit the Fantail and the Mystery Eggs Maori Edition)

Ko Flit, te Tīrairaka, me ngā Hēki Muna, written and illustrated by Kat Quin, translated by Ngaere Roberts

Nga Hoa Hoihoi o Kuwi (Kuwi's Rowdy Crowd Te Reo Maori Edition)

Ngā Hoa Hoihoi o Kuwi,  written and illustrated by Kat Quin, translated by Pānia Papa

Te Kirihimete i Whakakorea (Santa's Worst Christmas Te Reo Maori Edition)

Te Kirihimete i Whakakorea, Pania Tahau-Hodges  and Bryony Walker, illustrated by Isobel Joy Te Aho-White, translated by Kawata Teepa

Tio Tiamu te Tipia (The Smelly Giant Te Reo Maori Edition)

Tio Tiamu, Kurahau, illustrated by Laya Mutton-Rogers




Michael Petherick for #Tumeke!

Lizard's Tale

Weng Wai Chan for Lizard’s Tale

Santa's Worst Christmas

Isobel Joy Te Aho-White (illustrator) for Santa’s Worst Christmas, written by Pania Tahau-Hodges and Bryony Walker

The Day the Plants Fought Back

Belinda O’Keefe for The Day the Plants Fought Back, illustrated by Richard Hoit

The Smelly Giant (Tio Tiamu te Tipua English Edition)

Laya Mutton-Rogers (illustrator) for The Smelly Giant, written by Kurahau



Banned Book Club by Kim Hyun Sook

Banned Book Club by Kim Hyun Sook

Banned Book Club by Kim Hyun Sook and Ryan Estrada, illustrated by Hyung-Ju Ko (9781945820427)

This timely read captures the work of protestors and underground activists in South Korea in the early 1980s. Hyun Sook was the first in her family to go to college. Her family and she had high hopes for her future. But on the first day of school, she has to cross through a demonstration to even enter campus. Soon she finds herself in the midst of a group of activists, even though she just wanted to join a folk dance group and a book club. As Hyun Sook starts to learn more about the Fifth Republic and the political situation she is in, her views start to change and she begins to help the revolutionaries. The work is seriously dangerous, as members of their group are taken by the police regularly and tortured. Hyun Sook must decide if she will stay and fight or quietly head back to simply going to college.

This graphic novel is so powerful. It looks at a totalitarian regime and the efforts to overthrow it, particularly the ideas and books that the regime forbids. It’s a deep dive behind the lines of the activists in the 1980’s a fictionalized graphical version of a true story that the author lived through. The courage and tenacity shown on the pages is remarkable, calling for all of us to lead our own revolutions or at least read revolutionary books.

The art is done in black and white, stark at times, violent at others. It doesn’t flinch from showing what truly happened when police took people into custody. The echoes between this and our own society are strong, making one ask questions about totalitarianism in our own western world.

A call to action, filled with anger, activism and books. Appropriate for ages 13-18.

Reviewed from e-galley provided by Iron Circus Comics.