Sunday, April 7, 2013

Not Enough Girl Power in Kids' Books?

There seems to be a  'girl power' void in new books for Kiwi kids, according to judges on a children's book awards panel.  Or is it because the topic of war dominated, as the centenary of the First World War approached next year?

Nineteen finalists for The New Zealand Post Children's Book Awards have been released.

The sections were best picture book, junior fiction, young adult, and non-fiction. Though the selection showed writers confident enough to pursue their own interests, Chief Judge Bernard Beckett noted:

We were surprised to see how few strong female characters there were in these pagesYoung girls are in danger of seeing themselves once again as serving only decorative roles in stories, and we hope this is more a blip than the beginning of a retrograde trend.
NZ Post Children Book Awards

"As judges, we were pleased to see coverage given to conflicts less likely to be known to young readers such as The Boer War or the conflict in Malaysia," said Bernard.  Prominence was also given to the bravery of those who resisted armed conflict, both in World War One and at Parihaka - that strikes us as tremendously important.  He said the judges also noticed many books had 'great potential' but were let down by formatting, design, illustrations, and editing."

What do you think?  You be the judge.  Peruse the titles.  Do a little research.  It's fun!

The winners will be announced on June 24.


my brothers warPicture Book
A Great Cake by Tina Matthews
Melu by Kyle Mewburn, Ali Teo & John O’Reilly
Mister Whistler by Margaret Mahy & Gavin Bishop
Mr Bear Branches and the Cloud Conundrum by Terri Rose Baynton
Remember That November / Maumahara ki tērā Nōema by Jennifer Beck, Lindy Fisher &
Kawata Teepa
Junior Fiction
The ACB with Honora Lee by Kate De Goldi & Gregory O’Brien
The Queen and the Nobody Boy (A Tale of Fontania) by Barbara Else

MeluMy Brother's War by David Hill
Red Rocks by Rachael King
Uncle Trev and His Whistling Bull by Jack Lasenby
Young Adult Fiction
Earth Dragon, Fire Hare by Ken Catran
Into the River by Ted Dawe
The Nature of Ash by Mandy Hager
Reach by Hugh Brown
Snakes and Ladders by Mary-anne Scott
100 Amazing Tales From Aotearoa by Simon Morton & Riria Hotere
Kiwi: the real story by Annemarie Florian & Heather Hunt
Taketakerau, The Millennium Tree by Marnie Anstis, Patricia Howitt & Kelly Spencer
At the Beach: explore & discover the New Zealand seashore by Ned Barraud & Gillian

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