Award winners to look out for

Award winners to look out for

20 March, 2024

Illustrated books

Open Your Heart to Country by Dharug author/illustrator Jasmine Seymour (Magabala) won in the children’s category of the 2023 Prime Minister’s Literary Awards (PMLAs) and is described by Books+Publishing reviewer Jacqui Davies as ‘a story of welcome and belonging told in two languages, illustrated using Seymour’s signature technique, which combines painting, printmaking and digital collage.’ The book was also shortlisted for the 2023 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards.

Ceremony: Welcome to our Country (Adam Goodes & Ellie Laing, illus by David Hardy, A&U Children’s) won the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Authored Children’s Book Award at the 2023 Speech Pathology Australia Book of the Year Awards. The book was also shortlisted in the Indie Book Awards, Australian Book Industry Awards (ABIAs) and the DANZ (Diversity in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand) Children’s Book Awards. 

Anna Walker’s Snap! (Scribble) won in the birth to 3 years category at the Speech Pathology Awards. The book was also listed as an Honour Book for the 2023 CBCA Book of the Year: Early Childhood, and it was longlisted at the 2023 World Illustration Awards for Children’s Publishing. 

The bilingual picture book Be Careful, Xiao Xin! by Alice Pung and illustrated by Sher Rill Ng (Working Title Press) was the winner of the 2023 Educational Publishing Awards Australia in the educational picture book category. The book was also shortlisted in the DANZ Awards, and the illustrator was shortlisted in the biennial Ena Noël Award for her work on the book. Be Careful, Xiao Xin! ‘shows us how hard it can be for a young child to move towards independence and for a family to keep their little ones safe while beginning the lifelong journey of letting them go,’ writes Books+Publishing reviewer Anica Boulanger-Mashberg. 

Come Over to My House (Eliza Hull & Sally Rippin, illus by Daniel Grey-Barnett, HGCP) won in the 3 to 5 years category at the Speech Pathology Awards and was also shortlisted in the DANZ Awards. The picture book explores the home lives of children and parents who are Deaf or disabled and is co-written by Rippin and disability advocate Eliza Hull.

The shortlists for the 2024 Indie Book Awards for the children’s category included Neil, the Amazing Sea Cucumber (Amelia McInerney, illus by Lucinda Gifford, Affirm), The Impossible Secret of Lillian Velvet (Jaclyn Moriarty, A&U Children’s), Silver Linings (Katrina Nannestad, ABC Books) and Kimmi (Favel Parrett, Hachette). 

Jetty Jumping (Andrea Rowe, illus by Hannah Sommerville, HGCP) also won in the 5 to 8 years category at the Speech Pathology Awards.


Craig Silvey’s Runt (illus by Sara Acton, A&U) won Book of the Year for younger children (ages 7–12) at the ABIAs, Best Children’s Book at the Indie Book Awards, Book of the Year for younger readers at the CBCA Awards, and the Dymocks Book of the Year for younger readers. Books+Publishing reviewer Bec Kavanagh writes, ‘Silvey is a natural at writing for this age bracket. Runt is a real page-turner, and despite the enormous cast of characters, all of the narrative strands come together in the book’s triumphant end.’

Katrina Nannestad’s Waiting for the Storks (ABC Books) won the $15,000 Children’s Book Award at the 2023 Queensland Literary Awards (QLAs). Waiting for the Storks was also placed on the CBCA list of Notable Books for 2023. 

Winning in the children’s literature category at the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards (VPLAs), Ghost Book by Remy Lai (A&U) is described as ‘perfect for fans of Studio Ghibli, Raina Telgemeier or Kayla Miller’ by Books+Publishing reviewer Erin Wamala.

Elvie and Rhino (Neridah McMullin, illus by Astred Hicks, Walker Books) also won at the Speech Pathology Awards, in the 8 to 10 years category. 


The Greatest Thing by Sarah Winifred Searle (A&U Children’s) won in the YA category of the 2023 PMLAs. Books+Publishing reviewer Jordi Kerr describes The Greatest Thing as ‘a graphic novel about friendship and self-actualisation, with a dash of queer romance.’ It was also shortlisted in the CBCA Book of the Year Awards and the Comic Arts Awards of Australia. 

Biffy James’s Completely Normal (and Other Lies) (HGCP) won the $15,000 Young Adult Book Award at the QLAs. The book won the 2023 Gab Williams Prize, as well as the 2023 CBCA Shadow Judging Award in the Older Readers category. Completely Normal (and Other Lies) was shortlisted for the Ethel Turner Prize for Young People’s Literature at the 2023 NSW Premier’s Literary Awards, as well as the Readings Young Adult Prize and the Ampersand Prize. 

Shortlisted books for the young adult category of the Indie Book Awards included Saltwater Boy (Bradley Christmas, Walker Books), Welcome to Sex (Melissa Kang & Yumi Stynes, HGCP), The Sinister Booksellers of Bath (Garth Nix, A&U Children’s) and Stuck Up & Stupid (Angourie Rice & Kate Rice, Walker Books).


The First Scientists: Deadly Inventions and Innovations from Australia’s First Peoples (Corey Tutt & Blak Douglas, HG Explore) won the $30,000 Patricia Wrightson Prize for Children’s Literature at the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards. Books+Publishing reviewer Hannah Gardiner says the book is ‘perfect for budding scientists aged 8–12: the text concludes with a rousing call to arms: “So what are you waiting for? Get out there and do some deadly science. Be inspired, be wowed, be amazed, but most importantly be deadly!”’

The ABC Kids Guide to Loving the Planet (Jaclyn Crupi, illus by Cheryl Orsini, ABC Books) won in the nonfiction category of the Environment Award for Children’s Literature, run by the Wilderness Society. The book explains how to care for the world around us.

Children’s laureate

The Australian Children’s Laureate Foundation (ACLF) has named Sally Rippin as the Australian Children’s Laureate 2024–25. Rippin has written over 100 books for children and young adults, including the series Billie B Brown, Hey Jack!, Polly & Buster, and School of Monsters, as well as the adult nonfiction book Wild Things: How we learn to read and what can happen if we don’t (Hardie Grant), focusing on helping neurodivergent children to read. The Australian Children’s Laureate initiative was established in 2008 to ‘promote the transformational power of reading, creativity and story in the lives of young Australians’. Rippin succeeds laureate Gabrielle Wang (2022–23). 

Originally published by Books and Publishing (Read More)