Children’s Book Council of Australia 2012 short list

Libby Gleeson

If you are looking for some new titles for the home library, start here.

The Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) 2012 short list has just been announced and it’s a star-studded line-up. There are well-known authors and same brand new names in the mix. There are books about bears, bottoms, Vikings and hugs!

The CBCA awards include categories for older readers, younger readers, non-fiction books and more. You can see all of the nominations here but we’ve looked had a close look at the six nominations for best picture book for 2012.

First up is Look, A Book! by Libby Gleeson and illustrated by Freya Blackwood. It’s a beautiful story about the power and magic of reading and Blackwood’s superb illustrations set the scene to perfection.

Tasmanian Tiger

Well known Australian author Margaret Wild is included this year with The Dream of the Thylacine. It’s the story of the last known thylacine (more commonly known as the Tasmanian Tiger), depicted in a concrete cage and accompanied by sweeping colour paintings of the animal’s natural landscape by Ron Brooks. Themes of the fragility of species and the beauty of the Australian landscape run through this important picture book.

Another one for animal lovers, For All Creatures by Glenda Millard is a beautifully illustrated book about being thankful (in this context, for all creatures) – “the great and the small, the winged and the walking, the singing and the silent”.

a bus called heaven by bob graham

Possibly my favourite on this year’s list is A Bus Called Heaven by Bob Graham. It’s the story of a little girl, Stella, and a broken down bus that appears in front of her house. “This bus could be ours,” she declares and with that, amazing things start to happen in Stella’s community. It’s a story for anyone who’s brought home a stray (anything!) or seen the possibilities for the most ordinary of things.  I’m a big fan of Graham’s illustrations and Heaven doesn’t disappoint – it’s packed with delightful details.

a bus called heaven by bob graham

Playing on well-known fairy-tale themes is No Bears by Meg McKinlay. It’s the story of Ella, who is writing a book. She knows exactly what her book will be about – pretty things, fairies, princesses, castles, funny things, exciting things and scary things but most importantly no bears! Because “Every time you read a book, it’s just BEARS BEARS BEARS – horrible furry bears slurping honey in awful little caves“. A funny story with lovely illustrations, I suspect No Bears will be on the high demand list for the bedtime story.

Lastly is Flood by Jackie French. It’s an exceptional book and was written after Brisbane-born French’s family witnessed the devastating floods that hit south-east Queensland in 2011. The story is told from the perspective of a cattle dog and includes how the flood began and the mammoth clean-up effort that took place when the water subsided. Mention must be made of Bruce Whatley’s poignant illustrations – perfectly rendered in water colour, of course.

Katrina Whelen

Katrina studied planning and design, did the hard yards working in a big office building and then traded it all in for a relaxing (!) life at home with four children. She now fills her time with writing, completing a degree in genetics and taxiing her children around Melbourne to their various sporting commitments (not necessarily in that order).

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