Tag Archives: Books Light Up Our World

CBCA Statistics

Book Week is amongst us and there are schools around Australia enthralled with the Children’s Book Council of Australia awards books.

Last Friday while we were  congratulating the winners, some Australian authors, illustrators and publishers were planning their book for the next year’s awards.

After attending Jane Parsons’ presentation and writing the article, ‘Judging the Judges’ I was left with some fascinating statistics which I thought I would share.

The Books

CBCA                  Entries for 2015

Early Childhood             59

Picture Books             122

Younger Readers       128

Older Readers             77

Eve Pownall                  48

Not eligible                       2

Total entries                   434

Or if you prefer a pie chart

cbca 1

The Publishers

Publishers, authors and illustrators to enter the CBCA awards need to pay an  entry fee of $100 plus copies of the book for each of the judges. It has been good to see an increase in self-published books. Although I am not a self-published author, I love the idea that a self-published author or illustrator could be ‘found’ during the CBCA awards and sky-rocket their writing career during the CBCA awards process.

Allen & Unwin 15%

Five Mile Press 2%

Fremantle Press 2%

Hachette/Lothian 2%

Harper Collins/ A&R/ABC 5%

Little Hare/Hardie Grant Egmont 3%

National Institutions 1%

New Frontier 3%

Other Publishers 10%

Pan Macmillan 2%

Penguin Books Australia 14%

Random House Australia 11%

Scholastic/Omnibus/ Scholastic Press 7%

Self Published 14%

UQP 3%

Walker Books Australia/ Black Dog 9%

Figures are approximate

The four largest publishers, Allen & Unwin, Penguin Books Australia, Walker Books Australia and Random House Australia submitted nearly half (44.06%) of all entries.


I will leave it up to you, the reader, the writer, the book enthusiasts to analyse the main themes in each of the categories.

Older Readers – book themes

cbca older readers

Younger Readers – book themes

cbca younger readers

Early Childhood – book themes

CBCA early childhood

Picture Books – book themes

cbca picture book

The Children’s Book Council of Australia awards could not continue without the final two groups which I have to mention.

The Judges  

cbca judgesFiction Judges

Michele Huet (ACT)                     Suzanne Thomson (NT)

Cathie Tasker (NSW)                   Kevin Steinberger (QLD)

John Forster (SA)                           Tricia Scott (Tas)

Jane Parsons (Vic)                        Anne-Marie Strother (WA)

Eve Pownall Award Judges

Helen Adam (WA)                        Felicia Harris (WA)

Chloe Mauger (WA)

Awards Co-ordinators – Patricia Montgomery (WA) and Sue Wyche (WA)

Awards Chairs – Angela Briant (Tas) and Margo Hillel (Vic)

The Sponsors

Seventy years ago when CBCA awards began, the winners received a handshake for males and a camellia for females. Government funding supported the awards from 1966-1988. This changed to commercial sponsorship. At the end of 1995 CBCA set up an Awards Foundation in the aim of collecting $1 000 000 to support the Awards prizes.

Awards Foundation Benefactors

Scholastic Australia Pty Ltd            Allen &   Unwin Pty Ltd       Laurie Copping OAM (In memoriam)     Thyne Reid Trust No. 1

Major Donors

Australia Post       Jill Bruce     Sandy Campbell      Era Publications     Five Mile Press       Libby Gleeson AM

Bob Graham      Hachette Children’s Books Australia      Hardie Grant Egmont Pty Ltd     Harper Collins Publishers Aus

Ipswich District Teacher-Librarians’ Network       The James N Kirby Foundation      Kinross-Wolaroi School

Koala Books      Library Board of QLD    Angela Naomi      The Northern Territory Government      Parents and Boys at Sydney Grammar School, Edgecliff Prep        Penguin Books Australia      Random House Australia Pty Ltd        Emily Rodda (Jennifer Rowe)       Gillian Rubinstein       Maurice Saxby AM     SA Dpt of the Arts and Cultural Development    Cathie Tasker

University of QLD Press      Julie Vivas     Walker Books Australia Pty Ltd       Margaret Wild       Sue Williams

And the following in memoriam – Jean Chapman, Max Fatchen, Beryl Moncrieff Matthews, Jill Midolo,  Jan Ormerod, Eve Pownall, Marion E Robertson, Cassandra Weddell and Miss Maisie Williams, Garah.

Thanks to the Judges, the sponsors, the publishers, the authors, the illustrators and of course us readers who enjoy books in all shapes and sizes.

Feel free to share your thoughts on this year’s CBCA winners.

Thank you to Jane Parsons for allowing me to use your presentation statistics in my post, all other information directly from CBCA website.


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More Books to Light Up Our World

Our literary professionals are awe-inspiring. Their ability to write, illustrate and market these books to foster a love of reading and learning throughout the nation, and the world, is remarkable. The potential they have in capturing young people’s hearts and minds is nothing short of extraordinary. Having some of these wonderful books celebrated and acknowledged in the Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Awards is certainly a positive sign of their credibility.

Following on from my previous ‘Books Light Up Our World’ reviews and activities list, here are a few more to discover to help celebrate a love for reading.


Shortlisted Picture Book of the Year.

Shortlisted Picture Book of the Year.

Fire, Jackie French (author), Bruce Whatley (illus.), Scholastic Press, 2014.

Review – Literally lighting a world before our eyes, burning through our hearts is the highly evocative and devastating story of loss, courage and regrowth following a natural disaster. With French’s mesmerising poetry that simply takes your breath away, paired with Whatley’s grippingly haunting, bleeding and volcanic spreads, ‘Fire‘ engulfes the land, and our emotions. From pain comes strength, and we are uplifted by the human spirit, the power of love and the rebirth of a new dawn.

imageEducational ActivityLanguage.

Acrostic Poem. Use the word BUSHFIRE (or your choice) to write a poem (acrostic or other), utilising symbolic language representing the events in the story.

For more Fire teaching notes please click here.


Shortlisted Picture Book of the Year.

Shortlisted Picture Book of the Year.

The Duck and the Darklings, Glenda Millard (author), Stephen Michael King, (illus.), Allen & Unwin, 2014.

Review – This book is sure to strike up a spark in your heart. From total desolation comes a story of hope and triumph, with an exposion of warmth. Living in the land of Dark, Peterboy brings the dazzle and glimmer to his Grandpapa’s eyes with a treasured scrap of wonderfulness; a downy-hearted duck called Idaduck. As Grandpapa restores Idaduck’s health, his glow of forbidden fondness (happy memories) is also restored, and in consequence, their world becomes strangely bright once more. Captivating, poetic text and striking, bold illustrations make ‘The Duck and the Darklings’ an award-winning book of depth, wonder, radiance and immense significance.

imageEducational ActivityLanguage, Science.

Light up a room with your very own homemade candle. Materials include wax flakes, pre-waxed candle wicks, container for candle, crayons, essential oils (optional). For instructions please click on She Knows.

For more The Duck and the Darklings teaching notes please click here.


Shortlisted Early Childhood Book of the Year.

Shortlisted Early Childhood Book of the Year.

Pig the Pug, Aaron Blabey (author, illus.), Scholastic, 2014.

Review – Well, what can we say about this little pug? I’m sure you all know the story well… A greedy, selfish, bulgy-eyed, maniacal dog who refuses to share nothing but insults with his flatmate sausage dog, Trevor. How does this book coincide with the theme of ‘Books Light Up Our World’? Let’s see. Pig steals all the limelight. He has a flash of craziness in his eyes. The highlight of the story is his utter misfortune, involving a bright, sunlit window and the reference to the phrase ‘when pigs can fly’. And the fact that through the darkness of Pig’s heart there is a little glimmer of hope that he has learnt a lesson… Aaron Blabey’s hysterical rhyming text and eminently vivacious illustrations definitely fire up its readers with the inexplicable placing of a soft spot for our furry friend (or foe).


imageEducational ActivityLanguage, Science, Art

Help Pig the Pug to fly! Design and construct a straw rocket that can propel Pig through the air. Draw and cut out a picture of Pig the Pug. Roll up a strip of paper to fit long-ways, stick it at the back of the picture and fit over a straw, sticking down the top end. Blow through the straw and watch Pig fly!

For more Pig the Pug teaching notes please click here.


Shortlisted Early Childhood Book of the Year.

Shortlisted Early Childhood Book of the Year.

A House of Her Own, Jenny Hughes (author), Jonathan Bentley (illus.), Little Hare Books, 2014.

Review – Audrey requests the most extraordinary favour of her happy-go-lucky father, which if anyone received would certainly light up their world. When Audrey proclaims that she is too small for her current abode, a house high up in the backyard tree sounds perfect! Her handy dad fulfills all her wishes, from the marvellous spiral staircase, an over-hanging snorkelling tub, a spot for sipping tea and a comfy blue bed. It’s spectacular, but all that independence and responsibility is perhaps more than Audrey can handle. Was building Audrey’s heavenly, light-filled tree house the most brilliant idea afterall? Endearing dialogue between Audrey and her accommodating dad, and breathtaking, vibrant illustrations make ‘A House of Her Own’ an energetic and sunny book of love, dedication and achieving magnificent heights.

image image imageEducational ActivityLanguage, Science, Technology.

Design and construct your own magnificent tree house filled with light using a box, paper rolls, textas, egg cartons, pipe cleaners, other craft materials. Use a torch and/or mirror to glow or reflect light. Discuss your own needs and create places to bathe, cook, sleep, entertain, and of course, a spiral staircase! Write labels on a diagram and/or a sentence explaining how this house of your own is your ideal dwelling.


Have you created or seen fantastic book ideas for a book that you love?

Look out for the announcement of the 2015 Winning Books of the Year from the CBCA tomorrow!

Which book are you tipping for a win?




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Books Light Up Our World – Picture Book Reviews and Activities

Book Week is hosted annually by the Children’s Book Council of Australia and this year marks the 70th anniversary celebration in honour of the inspirational work of Australian authors and illustrators. By promoting books we, as parents, educators, writers, children’s literacy advocates, are encouraging children to read and inherit a love of books, and a love of learning.

In 2015, Book Week will run from August 22nd – 28th with the brilliant theme of ‘Books Light Up Our World’. Over two posts I will provide descriptions of picture books I love and related educational activities, including some of the shortlisted titles in the running to win in the CBCA’s Book of the Year Awards, plus a few extra goodies you might like to explore. Enjoy!


Scary Night is shortlisted in the Early Childhood category.

Scary Night is shortlisted in the Early Childhood category.

Scary Night, Lesley Gibbes (author), Stephen Michael King (illus.), Working Title Press, 2014.

Review – This book can’t light up your world more with its complete darkness, under the pale moonlight! An utterly spooky yet courageous story of Pig with a parcel, Hare with a Hat and Cat with a cake traipsing through perilous forests, crocodile-infested waters, cemetaries and bat caves to a most mysterious destination. Gloriously animated illustrations and rollicking, rhythmic text have already sparked the curiosity and delight of many young (and old) readers across the country.

imageEducational Activity –  Language, Arts.

Draw and cut out character pictures or silhouettes and attach to sticks to create your own stick or shadow puppets. Retell or recreate the story for dramatic play. Create a mural background for stick puppets, or shine a torch as you action your shadow puppets against the wall.

For more Scary Night teaching notes please click here.


Go To Sleep, Jessie! is shortlisted in the Early Childhood category.

Go To Sleep, Jessie! is shortlisted in the Early Childhood category.

Go To Sleep, Jessie!, Libby Gleeson (author), Freya Blackwood (illus.), Little Hare, 2015.

ReviewGo To Sleep, Jessie! will light a fire in your heart. It’s such a sweet and gentle story of a little girl feeling the angst as her baby sister has trouble settling down to sleep. Gleeson skillfully masters the raw emotions of these girls (and their parents) in this all-too-familiar situation. Equally so, Blackwood’s illustrations capture this light and shade perfectly both viscerally and literally in her colour palette. A completely warming and enlightening story of sisterly love.

imageEducational ActivityLanguage, Arts.

Design and make a dreamcatcher to soothe baby to sleep. The patterns in your design also create pretty patterns when the light shines through! Sing lullabies to help calm your little brother or sister for bedtime.

Find instructions from Laughing Kids Learn here.


imageSummer Rain, Ros Moriarty (author), Balarinji (illus.), Allen and Unwin, 2015.

Review – This book lights up a beautiful serenade of native Australian animals across the stunning landscapes of the Northern Territory. From the dry morning sun the land awakes to bounding kangaroos, turtles and lizards, and when the summer rain splatters on the dusty earth, flowers burst and leaves dance, brolgas strut and dugongs dive. The vivid and striking Indigenous illustrations and poetic language certainly emanate joy and energy to light a glimmer in any readers’ eyes.

imageEducational ActivityLanguage, Art, Nature.

Create a poster / mural divided into Dry Season and Wet Season with painted scenes and animals in bright colours. Write descriptive sentences about the scenes using verbs and adjectives. For example, “…the sun beats with steamy heat.” “Wattles burst in fuzzy gold.” Discuss the differences between Dry and Wet seasons. How would each feel / affect the animals?


imageDigby’s Moon Mission, Renee Price (author), Anil Tortop (illus.), Create It Kids, 2014.

Review – A young, curious boy sets out on an adventurous mission to illuminate a moon that appears only a sliver of its former self. With a team of gourmet chefs (his friends), a glorious catapult contraption and a trusty measuring tape, Digby plumps up the moon in the most creative, and comical, way. The wonderfully whimsical and energetic illustrations beautifully compliment this ingenious story with all its teachable moments and themes referencing time, measurement, moon phases, rhyming words, friendship and working together. An absolute delight for preschoolers that will, just like the real moon, light up their world.

imageEducational ActivityLanguage, Science, Art.

Create eight (or four) phases of the moon by cutting out the shapes separately on black cards. Phases include new moon, waxing crescent, first quarter, waxing gibbous, full, waning gibbous, third quarter/half, waning crescent. Hang up the moon phases on a window or around a lamp to see them glow. Discuss and label the different phases and their shapes. Monitor the moon each night and record it in a diary.

More reviews and lessons here


Read about Jenny Graham’s experience at a presentation by CBCA judges on these prestigious awards here.



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