The winners of the 2021 Book Awards are …

Fresh off the ceremony at Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, the results are in and your New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults winners are…

T K Roxborogh and the cover of her book ‘Charlie Tangaroa and the Creature from the Sea’

The Margaret Mahy Book of the Year and the Junior Fiction Award:

Charlie Tangaroa and the Creature from the Sea by T K Roxborogh  

Charlie Tangaroa and the Creature from the Sea has got it all—emotional depth, fantastical adventure, mystery, humour, gods, and natural disasters. The characters are wonderful—no one’s too perfect or powerful—and there’s a terrific balance of action and emotion, the earthly and the godly. Thirteen-year-old Charlie and his rascally brother Robbie find a strange kind of mermaid on the beach, and that’s just the beginning. You can almost taste the love and care that went into writing this book.

Jane Arthur, Good Books

Our Junior Fiction Coverage


Charlie Tangaroa and the Creature from the Sea

By T K Roxborogh

Illustrated by Phoebe Morris

Published by Huia Publishers

RRP $25.00

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The Picture Book Award and the Best First Book Award:

Kōwhai and the Giants by Kate Parker 

Kate Parker’s Kōwhai and the Giants manages to do its important and thoughtful storytelling while incorporating important themes and a luscious muted colour palette. What a beautiful way to get tamariki interested in taking care of our environment and saving the planet (as Kate puts it) “one seedling at a time”.

Briar & Nida

Our Picture Book Coverage

Our Best First Book Coverage

Kōwhai and the Giants

By Kate Parker

Published by Little Love, Mary Egan Publishing

RRP $30.00

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Young Adult Fiction Award:

The Pōrangi Boy by Shilo Kino

This is such a well-crafted story with oodles of heart. It has elements of a coming-of-age story, but it is so much more than that. The faultless dialogue provides seamless characterisation and brings to light the history and politics that sit at the core of this story. Shilo Kino has a way of holding the story paramount. 

Sarah Forster

Our Young Adult Fiction Coverage

The Pōrangi Boy

By Shilo Kino

Published by Huia Publishers

RRP $25.00

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Elsie Locke Award for Non-fiction:

Egg & Spoon, by Alexandra Tylee, illustrated by Giselle Clarkson

I saw a gap for a book that did not talk down to children, that understood the average child these days is just as likely to want anchovies on their toast as peanut butter, and that they are quite capable of finding their way around a kitchen without cutting off a toe and burning their eyebrows… It’s not so much a children’s cookbook as one that tries to tap into a childlike pleasure in making food. And the decision to use an illustrator, Giselle Clarkson, instead of a photographer as I had done in the past reinforces this: her delightful illustrations help us to understand that while cooking is a necessary part of our lives there is no reason why it can’t be fun.

Alexandra Tylee

Our Non-fiction coverage (what inspired the book)

Egg & Spoon: An illustrated cookbook

Written by Alexandra Tylee

Illustrated by Giselle Clarkson

Published by Gecko Press

RRP $40.00

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Russell Clark Award for Illustration:Hare and Ruru:

A Quiet Moment by Laura Shallcrass

Hare’s desperate pursuit of peace is illustrated using a soft colour palette of blues and browns. Cross sections and ‘hare-level’ views allow readers to connect with Hare, hearing noises from above and below the earth. Moments of silence and sound are created through the use of negative space. Lastly, the view turns from the light earth to the dark heavens, and Ruru’s wise message about how to find quiet.

Book Awards Trust

Our Illustration Coverage (spreads and sketches)

Hare and Ruru: A Quiet Moment

By Laura Shallcrass

Published by Beatnik Publishing

RRP $30.00

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Wright Family Foundation Te Kura Pounamu Award for Te Reo Māori:

Ngake me Whātaitai by Ben Ngaia and Laya Mutton-Rogers  

We knew this book would have a wider audience than just those tamariki we could reach in Māori medium schools. Particularly from whānau of Te Āti Awa, we’ve had a wonderful response—this picture book is a keepsake to share with their descendants through the lens and language of their ancestors. 

Brian Morris, Huia Publishers

Our Te Kura Pounamu Coverage


Ngake me Whātaitai

Written by Ben Ngaia

Illustrated by Laya Mutton-Rogers

Published by Huia Publishers

RRP $20.00

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