I attended a presentation at my local library by Children’s Book Council of Australia judge, Jane Parsons.
I went with the intention of writing about the presentation. I had pen and notepad ready, however what I didn’t have was a focus. I could write about the shortlisted books, the process, the awards, the statistics, the themes, the illustrations, the list could go on.
Within minutes I was mesmerised by Jane’s descriptive language for each of the shortlisted books and the notables. I could hear the passion in her voice for not only books but her want for others to be enlightened by books.
Her language was so powerful that if she had reviewed, a Dog Grooming book I would have run out and bought it…..even though I don’t own a dog. Thanks to Jane I have many, many more books on my to-read pile.
I loved her idea that the notables should be released first to give them a ‘chance to shine’.
But who was this Jane Parsons and the other seven judges?
Why should authors, illustrators or publishers pay the $100 entry fee and provide copies of their book for the judging panel?
Why should Australian readers trust their judgement?
This is what interested me. I had listened to the introduction about Jane however was side-tracked with our mutual experience of working in a remote Indigenous community.
I sought answers, and I wasn’t surprised when I read the profiles in Reading Time (http://readingtime.com.au/judges-views/) of the seven other judges and their passion in books, which shined through.
Between the eight judges they had the following past and present experience: Teacher Librarian, Editor, Publisher, Eve Pownell Judge, Community Librarian, Deputy Principal, Artist, Writer, Reviewer, University Studies in Literacy, Children’s Literature and Librarianship, English Teacher, ESL Teacher, Education Officer, Book of the Year Judge, Book Seller, Aurelia’s Awards Judge and Creative Writing Teacher.
Noting the experience of the judging panel I was surprised that there weren’t more emerging writers or published authors in the audience. From my observations most were Primary School Teachers, although they too could have an interest in writing professionally.
Jane Parsons and the other members of the judging panel had read and written a report on 400 books and read each judging panel member’s report.
After writing 400 reports and reading 2800 reports they attended a Judge’s Conference. There they discussed in length the top 30 books in each category and chose notables, short listed and winners.
Imagine as an emerging writer being able to tap into this knowledge. Hear what makes a notable book and see where the enthusiasm for each book lies.
Whether you are a teacher, parent, an emerging writer, illustrator or author,
if you could ask a CBCA judge a question, what would you ask them?
I look forward to hearing the winners announced on August 21st and wish all shortlisted authors, illustrators and publishers the best of luck.
My boys loved reading all the Early Childhood shortlisted books, we wonder who will win.
There are more posts planned for Book Week and the CBCA winner, so please follow to keep updated.