Children's Book Council of Australia Book of the Year awards shortlist announced

Young readers at last year's Sydney Writers' Festival.
Young readers at last year's Sydney Writers' Festival. 

A light hearted approach to the teaching of the "birds and the bees" is among an impressive shortlist of information books vying for the Children's Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Awards.

The modern resource guide was put together by the Australian cartoonist Fiona Katauskas to explain the facts of life to her son, and looks at everything from caesarean birth to sperm and egg donation and IVF technology.

​Katauskas's The Amazing True Story of How Babies Are Made is up against We Are the Rebels, Clare Wright's abridged version for teenagers of her 2014 Stella Prize-winning study of the women of the Eureka Stockade rebellion.

<i>The Amazing Story of How Babies are Made</I> makes Children's Book Council award shortlist for 2016.
The Amazing Story of How Babies are Made makes Children's Book Council award shortlist for 2016.  

Invertebrate zoo keeper Rohan Cleave's shortlisted children's book, Saving the Lord Howe Stick Insect, was also among 52 books entered for the Eve Pownall Award for Information Books, and one of 402 books entered overall.

Illustrated by Carol Tulloch, it tells the remarkable conservation story of the Lord Howe Island stick insect brought back from the brink of extinction by a unique captive breeding at Melbourne Zoo.

Margaret Hamilton, deputy chairman of the Children's Book Council, said writing across the four fiction categories was very strong and testament to the calibre of books for young readers and the skill of authors.

"Picture books and early childhood are also strong categories, with a wide variety of books ranging from laugh out loud humour to poignant stories about refugees," she said.

The CBCA Book of The Year Awards celebrates its 70th anniversary this year making it the longest running book awards in Australia, and is regarded by librarians, booksellers and parents as a buying guide to quality Australian children's writing. 

The shortlist for Book of the Year for Older Readers includes Fiona Wood's Cloudwish, John Larkin's The Pause and Erin Gough's The Flywheel. For younger readers, the works by veteran writers dominate including Morris Gleitzman's​ Soon, book five in a sombre series about a Jewish boy struggling to survive after the liberation of Poland at the end of World War II.


Libby Gleeson and Freya Blackwood have been nominated for The Cleo Stories, A Friend and A Pet, Sally Morgan for Sister Heart and Emily Rodda for Shadows of the Masters.

Picture book of the year features James Foley's hilarious illustrations of a zombie rabbit, in My Dead Bunny, and Bruce Whatley's​ illuminations of the lyrics to And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda, Eric Bogle's anti war song about the Battle of Gallipoli.


Book of the Year: Older Readers

ERIN GOUGH, The Flywheel, Hardie Grant Egmont

JOHN LARKIN, The Pause, Penguin Random House

SUE LAWSON, Freedom Ride, Black Dog/Walker

MEG McKINLAY, A Single Stone, Walker Books

VIKKI WAKEFIELD, InBetween Days, Text 

FIONA WOOD, Cloudwish, Pan Macmillan

Book of the Year: Younger Readers

LIBBY GLEESON/FREYA BLACKWOOD, The Cleo Stories: A Friend and a Pet, Allen & Unwin

MORRIS GLEITZMAN, Soon, Penguin Random House

J.C. JONES, Run, Pip, Run, Allen & Unwin

SALLY MORGAN, Sister Heart, Fremantle Press

MARTINE MURRAY, Molly and Pim and the Millions of Stars, Text

EMILY RODDA, Shadows of the Master, Omnibus 

Book of the Year: Early Childhood

AARON BLABEY, Piranhas Don't Eat Bananas, Scholastic Press

RONOJOY GHOSH, Ollie and the Wind, Random House

ALISON LESTER, My Dog Bigsy, Penguin Random House


ANNA WALKER, Mr Huff, Penguin Random House

TONY WILSON, The Cow Tripped Over the Moon, Scholastic Press

Picture Book of the Year

SHANE DEVRIES/PHIL CUMMINGS, Ride, Ricardo, Ride!, Omnibus

JAMES FOLEY/SIGI COHEN, My Dead Bunny, Walker Books Australia


SALLY EINRICH/JANE JOLLY, One Step at a Time, MidnightSun Publishing

MATT OTTLEY/LUCY ESTELA, Suri's Wall, Penguin Random House

BRUCE WHATLEY/ERIC BOGLE, And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda, Allen & Unwin

Eve Pownall Award for Information Books

ROHAN CLEAVE/CAROL TULLOCH, Saving the Lord Howe Island Stick Insect, CSIRO Publishing

PETER GOULDTHORPE, The White Mouse: The Story of Nancy Wake, Omnibus

FIONA KATAUSKAS, The Amazing True Story of How Babies Are Made, ABC Books

STEPHANIE OWEN REEDER, Lennie The Legend: Solo to Sydney by Pony, NLA Publishing

ROBYN SIERS/CARLIE WALKER, Ancestry: Stories of Multicultural Anzacs, Dept of Veterans' Affairs

CLARE WRIGHT,  We are the Rebels: the Men and Women who Made Eureka, Text