Griffith University Children’s Book Award shortlist

Suri's Wall cover

Suri’s Wall

Author: Lucy Estela; Illustrator: Matt Ottley

Penguin Viking

About the book

Suri is different from the other children, and the high wall that encircles their lives is Suri's only friend; her comfort and holder of whispered secrets. That is, until one day, when from the depths of human frailty, one small child's voice is enough to change Suri's view of their world inside the wall – and the world that lies beyond it… A moving tale of the power of the human spirit. Shortlisted for the 2016 CBCA awards.

About the author and illustrator

Lucy Estela is a children’s writer with a successful career as a website and games developer for the kids and youth market. Suri’s Wall is her debut picture book with Penguin Random House. It was illustrated by Matt Ottley, a multi-modal artist and award-winning picture book writer and illustrator.

Judges' Comments

Suri is living behind a wall in a grim institution. The wall is a powerful symbol of a border that is both divisive and protective. It separates and shields children from the consequences of war that could cause them to become orphans or refugees. Matt Ottley’s fantastical illustrations and use of colour, texture, medium and style contrast a bleak existence with a hope-filled place.

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How the Sun Got to Coco’s House cover

How the Sun Got to Coco’s House

Author/Illustrator: Bob Graham

Walker Books

About the book

The sun rises up behind a snowy peak and casts its mellow dawn light for the wandering polar bears. It skims across the icy water, touching a fisherman's hat and catching for a moment in the eye of a whale. It beams through the trees of frozen forests before gliding over cities, darting down lanes and waiting patiently for an old lady to open her window. High over a desert it meets the rain in a halo of colours. The sun leaps whole countries, chasing the night, before bursting at last in a fanfare of warm golden light through Coco's window!

About the author

Bob Graham is a Kate Greenaway-winning author-illustrator who has written and illustrated many acclaimed children's picture books. His 2011 title, A Bus Called Heaven, is endorsed by Amnesty International UK and was the winner of the 2012 Children's Book Council of Australia Picture Book of the Year Award – a prize Bob has won an unprecedented six times.

Judges' Comments

Award winning illustrator and author, Bob Graham, extends his acclaimed body of work with this beautiful production. From the cover illustration of Coco and her dog looking out at the evening from the window of her house, and the opening line, “It had to start somewhere”, readers will be absorbed in this charming, innovative picture book.

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Incredibilia cover

Incredibilia

Author: Libby Hathorn; Illustrator: Gaye Chapman

Little Hare

About the book

Little Georgie is the youngest, and this sometimes means Max and Harriet forget about her. But Georgie is unfazed. She’s armed with a BIG imagination. Libby Hathorn, one of Australia’s literary treasures, and award-winning artist Gaye Chapman have created a story that celebrates the honesty and attraction of imaginative play.

About the author

Libby Hathorn is an award-winning author of more than fifty books for children and young people. Translated into several languages and adapted for stage and screen, her work has won honours in Australia, United States, Great Britain and Holland. She wrote Way Home illustrated by Greg Rogers which won the Kate Greenaway Award UK; her first YA novel Thunderwith was made into a movie by Hallmark Hall of Fame; and her opera libretto Grandma’s Shoes won an AWGIE. Libby was a National Ambassador for the National Year of Reading in Australia in 2012, and was an Australia Day Ambassador for more than 20 years, visiting country towns to celebrate Australian literature, especially poetry. In 2003 she was awarded the Centenary Medal, and in 2014 Libby won the Alice Award, which is given to an Australian woman writer who has made a distinguished and long term contribution to Australian literature.

About the illustrator

Gaye Chapman is a visual artist of international standing and is one of the most significant painters and narrative illustrators working in Australia today with 15 globally published picture books to her name. She holds a PhD in Contemporary Art, her comprehensive body of work critically acclaimed. Gaye has been awarded many prestigious literary and fine art prizes, including the QLD Premier’s Literary Award, White Ravens selection, numerous CBCA awards, the Archibald Prize Salon des Refusé, multiple-finalist the Sulman Prize; and numerous shortlisted prizes including the QLD Premier’s Literary Award, Aurealis Award and CBCA Chrichton Award.

Judges' Comments

Georgie is the fiery, red-headed younger sibling of Max and Harriet. Continually left behind and out of the games played by her older siblings, Georgie quietly and patiently plays by herself in her own imaginative world. She is so utterly absorbed in her fantastical game that her siblings become curious and she invites them to join her, on her terms. Libby Hathorn’s written text celebrates the power of play and is perfectly complemented by Gaye Chapman’s ethereal images. The watercolour and mixed-media illustrations depict a magical landscape filled with finely wrought details and a number of child-like illustrations which bounce onto the page as if from Georgie’s own imagination. An outstanding production, Incredibilia captures the whimsy and pure joy of a childhood in which independent play and imagination is celebrated.

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Kidglovz cover

KidGlovz

Author: Julie Hunt; Illustrator: Dale Newman

Allen & Unwin

About the book

KidGlovz is a musical genius. His gift is so precious that he's kept under lock and key. But when a young thief helps him escape, Kid must embark on a perilous journey through which he will discover the terrifying nature of his talent. A spellbinding graphic fable about friendship and freedom.

About the author

Julie Hunt lives on a farm in southern Tasmania and is fascinated by landscapes and the stories they inspire. This interest has taken her from the rugged west coast of Ireland to the ice caves of Romania. Julie loves poetry, storytelling and traditional folktales, and her own stories combine otherworldly elements with down-to-earth humour. Julie's novel Song for a Scarlet Runner was the winner of Readings inaugural Children's Book Prize and was shortlisted for the CBCA Awards and the Prime Minister's Literary Award in 2014.

About the illustrator

For artist Dale Newman, the imagery of KidGlovz was so strangely familiar that drawing it into being was a dream job for her. Dale has been engaged in creative life for over thirty years, as a newspaper artist, a printmaker, a musician and songwriter, a youth arts worker and a freelance illustrator. KidGlovz is her very first-ever epic graphic novel. Dale lives on the NSW coast with her partner and son, who kindly agreed to model for the book. Her artwork also appears on the cover of Julie's award-winning novel Song for a Scarlet Runner.

Judges' Comments

Music is the key motif in KidGlovz. Young KidGlovz is a pianist, a prodigy who always wears gloves. KidGlovz views and interprets the world through music. Julie Hunt’s imagery and original storytelling elicit extraordinary visual renditions of sound and music from illustrator Dale Newman. Newman uses black and white pencil lines and textures to portray characters, action and sensory experiences both inside and ‘escaping’ from framed panels. Children’s imaginations are entranced and enlivened by this consummately formed graphic novel.

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Me, Teddy cover

Me, Teddy

Author/Illustrator: Chris McKimmie

Allen & Unwin

About the book

I am Teddy. This is my scrap book. It's about me growing up from a little tiny puppy with a boofy head and big brown melty eyes to a big black labrador weighing 40 kilos (since I have been on a diet). This is me, Teddy.This hilarious and engaging story about a much loved pet is another triumph by Chris McKimmie.

About the author

Chris McKimmie is a writer, illustrator, artist. His previous books with Allen and Unwin are Brian Banana Duck Sunshine Yellow (2006), shortlisted for the 2007 CBCA Awards, Maisie Moo and Invisible Lucy (2007), Special Kev (2008), shortlisted for the 2009 CBCA Awards, Two Peas in a Pod (2010), shortlisted for the 2011 CBCA Awards, Good Morning, Mr Pancakes (2011), Alex and the Watermelon Boat (2012), Scarlett and the Scratchy Moon (2013), Crikey and Cat (2014) and Lara of Newtown (2015). Chris also wrote, illustrated and designed a series of eight books in the late seventies. He has worked as a lecturer, a graphic designer, a film production designer, a cleaner, a dad, a pot-plant painter, a public servant, a musician, a factory hand and a grand dad. He regularly exhibits his paintings and drawings.

Judges' Comments

Written with great love and attention to detail, Me, Teddy is the story of a gorgeous black Labrador as he grows up from adorable puppy to adult dog. Every page makes anyone who owns a dog smile in recognition as Teddy eats Birkenstocks, leaves fur everywhere, eats the birthday cake and takes up all the room in the bed. McKimmie has captured the canine expressions - hopeful, pleased, totally innocent, embarrassed, curious, sad, watchful and happy using his signature collage style. The deceptively simple images combined with the spare text both challenge and stimulate the reader’s imagination. McKimmie’s work often has a strong sense of place and here inner Brisbane is brought to life in deft, subtle touches that add character and atmosphere to the simple story structure.

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