Children’s book awards start off year with a bang

Some of the best children’s books of 2009 have been recognised in the first few weeks of 2010 with the announcement of the Costa Book Awards, the Caldecott Medal and the Newbery Medal.

I was pleased to hear that one of my favourite authors, Patrick Ness, won the 2009 Costa Children’s Book Award for his most recent book, The Ask and the Answer, the second book in the Chaos Walking Trilogy.  If you don’t already know how amazing Patrick Ness’ books are check out some of my previous blog entries.  The Costa Book Awards “is one of the most prestigious and popular literary prizes in the UK and recognises some of the most enjoyable books of the year by writers based in the UK and Ireland.”  The judges said of The Ask and the Answer, “From the first word, we were gripped by this dazzlingly-imagined, morally complex, compulsively-plotted tale.  We are convinced that this is a major achievement in the making.”  Ness is a very well deserved recipient in my opinion.  He is doing an Australia and New Zealand Tour early in the year so hopefully he’ll come to Christchurch.  Watch this space.

The winner of the Caldecott Medal 2010 is Jerry Pinkney’s The Lion and the Mouse  which has one of the most striking covers I’ve ever seen.  The Caldecott Medal is awarded each year to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children.  Jerry Pinkney also deserved this award and if you haven’t seen The Lion and the Mouse I suggest you grab it and have a look.  The illustrations are absolutely amazing and so lifelike.  What makes this book even more unique is that the illustrations tell the story as the book is almost wordless (apart from some animal noises).

The winner of the 2010 Newbery Medal is Rebecca Stead’s When You Reach Me.  I haven’t read this one but it sounds interesting.  The Newbery Medal is Awarded each year “to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children” and has been awarded to such authors as Neil GaimanKate DiCamillo and Louis Sachar.

RIP Kate McGarrigle

In sad news for her many fans, Canadian folk singer and songwriter Kate McGarrigle, has died at her home just weeks short of her 64th birthday. Matriarch of the talented musical clan containing her ex husband Loudon Wainwright III, sister Anna and children Rufus and Martha Wainwright, Kate is probably best known  for her work with her sister under the name of The McGarrigle Sisters. Sometimes the whole family even got together for performances such as a tribute to Leonard Cohen.

Her songs have been recorded by the greats like Emmy Lou Harris, Elvis Costello, Judy Collins and Linda Ronstadt.

In a double blow her death has led to the cancellation of Rufus Wainwright’s Australasian tour. His website had a moving tribute to his ‘amazing mother with whom everyone fell in love’.

    Aussie authors feature on new set of stamps

    Australia Post gives the stamp of approval to literary legends reports the Sydney Morning Herald of 20 January 2010. And who were the Australian authors honoured by gettting their mugs plastered on a postage stamp?

    Bryce Courtenay said modestly:

    ‘Stamps aren’t what they used to be … It was the king’s head on stamps when I was young. Now they just put old sh*tbags on them.’

    Well I think it is wonderful to see this great selection of Australian authors philatelicly honoured.

    Has New Zealand done literary themed stamps?
    A quick search revealed this 1989 Authors issue :  Katherine Mansfield, James K Baxter, Bruce Mason and Ngaio Marsh.

    Image of the week

    New tonnage record for Lyttelton of 89,670 tons when 20 ships were berthed in the inner harbour and one in the stream awaiting a berth. 14 Nov. 1949.

    New tonnage record for Lyttelton of 89,670 tons when 20 ships were berthed in the inner harbour and one in the stream awaiting a berth

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