2020 Aurealis Awards Shortlist

The shortlists for the 2020 Aurealis Awards have been announced. The awards are given to works of speculative fiction by authors, editors and illustrators who are Australian citizens or permanent residents. Here are the shortlisted titles for the children’s and YA categories:


Across the Risen Sea

Across the Risen Sea by Bren MacDibble

The Chicken’s Curse by Frances Watts

Her Perilous Mansion

Her Perilous Mansion by Sean Williams

How To Make A Pet Monster: Hodgepodge (#1)

Hodgepodge: How to Make a Pet Monster by Lili Wilkinson, illustrated by Dustin Spence

The Lost Soul Atlas

The Lost Soul Atlas by Zana Fraillon

Tricky Nick

Tricky Nick by Nicholas J. Johnson


Aurora Burning by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

The Erasure Initiative

The Erasure Initiative by Lili Wilkinson

Future Girl

Future Girl by Asphyxia

The Left-Handed Booksellers of London by Garth Nix

The Other Side of the Sky by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

Truel1f3 by Jay Kristoff

The One Thing You’d Save by Linda Sue Park

Cover image.

The One Thing You’d Save by Linda Sue Park, illustrated by Robert Sae-Heng (9781328515131)

A teacher asks her class to think about what they would save in an emergency. You’re allowed to save one thing, knowing that your family and pets are already safe. What would you save, no matter how big it is. Some of the students very quickly decide what they will save while others find the choices almost impossible. Others pick items that were made by grandparents who have passed away. Some have collections they’d want to rescue. Some are very practical, taking their glasses so that they can see or their wallet so they have money to survive. The class has conversations about what they chose and why, giving everyone lots to think about.

Told in verse, this book is written in the dialogue that happens in the classroom. Park captures this dialogue flawlessly, the voices distinct and clear both in their indecision and their decisiveness. Each person reveals a piece of themselves as they reveal why they chose a certain object. The result is a group of students who understand one another a lot better than when they began.

Park writes with such ease on the page that it is amazing to find out in her Author’s Note that she has used a sijo poetic structure throughout the book that limits the number of syllables per line. Within those parameters, she wrote dialogue that never seems limited or stilted as well as offering space for interjections and conversation.

Immensely clever and thought provoking, this book will be embraced by both teachers and students. Appropriate for ages 8-12.

Reviewed from e-galley provided by Clarion Books.