The Readings Children’s Book Prize


The Readings Children’s Book Prize 2015 Winner

The winner of this year’s Readings Children’s Book Prize is Rivertime by Trace Balla! As the winner of this year’s Readings Children’s Book Prize, Trace Balla will receive $4000.

Rivertime is a tender and beautifully illustrated tale of a boy and his bird-watching uncle on a paddling trip along Australia’s Glenelg River. It’s a graphic novel suitable for 6- to 10-year-olds, and a perfect book for families to read together.

Our judges said: “We chose Rivertime as the 2015 winner for many reasons: it is unique, we love its artistry and it is a stunning debut that heralds the arrival of an exciting new Australian author–illustrator. The attention to detail in Rivertime is extraordinary, engrossing you in the exquisite flora and fauna on each page as you follow the action.” (Read the full judge’s report here.)

Our special guest judge Sally Rippin said: “ Rivertime reminds us to slow down and open our eyes to all the beauty around us. We may not be lucky enough to travel up a river for days on end, but most of us can still take our children for a stroll through a park, meander along a creek or even just peer underneath a leaf to uncover the world hidden there. In a time where we are bombarded by so much choice in how to fill our child’s day, Rivertime reminds us that it’s often the quietest moments that will be the most dearly remembered.”

You can see a sneak peek of some sample pages from inside the book here.

We’ve also gathered together some reviews written by children who’ve read and loved Rivertime – pictured over on the left! Find their illustrated reviews here.

The Readings Children’s Book Prize 2015 Shortlist

The six shortlisted titles for 2015 were Rivertime by Trace Balla, Ophelia and the Marvellous Boy by Karen Foxlee, Figgy in the World by Tamsin Janu, How to Save the Universe in Ten Easy Steps by Allison Rushby, The Mapmakers Chronicles: Race to the End of the World by AL Tait and Stuff Happens: Jack by Tony Wilson.

Our judges say, ‘We’re proud of this year’s diverse list with a story to suit every reader and interest level within the age group. Whole new worlds and unique ways of looking at our world will be discovered between the covers of the following six books. Readers will encounter lashings of humour, exciting adventures over land and sea, wicked witches and obnoxious aliens, action on the sports field, and the joys of camping under the stars.’ Read more here.

You can purchase a pack of all six shortlisted books at a special price here.

Past Winners

The winner of the 2014 Children’s Book Prize was Tasmanian author Julie Hunt with her fantasy adventure Song For A Scarlet Runner! She was awarded $4000 in prize money.

Guest Judge Sally Rippin said, ‘Reading Song For A Scarlet Runner was like being transported to another world. The language was gorgeous and evocative and the characters so skilfully drawn that if I close my eyes I can still be transported back there, weeks after having put the book down. As an adult reader I loved this novel as an adult, and can only imagine the magical experience of being swept away by a book like this as a child.’

Read more from our judges here. Or read a Q&A with Julie Hunt here.

About the Readings Children’s Book Prize

The Readings Children’s Book Prize, established in 2014, recognises and celebrates books that families love reading together, or that children read under the covers with a torch late into the night because they can’t bear to put it down – books they tell their friends about.

The Readings Children’s Book Prize aims to raise the profile of debut and on-the-rise Australian authors that we believe could make an important contribution to the rich variety of Australian publishing.

The judging panel for 2015 was comprised of Readings’ children’s book specialists (Angela Crocombe, Alexa Dretzke, Athina Clarke, Isobel Moore, Holly Harper and Emily Gale). Author Sally Rippin also joined the judging panel to help select the winner from the shortlist.

Eligibility Guidelines

  • The Readings Children’s Book Prize is open to a work of published fiction, written for children aged 5–12 .
  • The author must be an Australian citizen or hold permanent residency at the time of entry.
  • To be eligible for the 2015 Prize, the author should have published no more than four children’s books in this category (Junior/Middle Fiction for 5-12 year olds). Picture books and YA novels are not eligible and will not be counted. A series published within a 12-month period is considered as one book.
  • Graphic novels, or illustrated narratives, are eligible for entry.
  • Books of co-authorship, including books written by an author and illustrator, will be eligible.
  • Books authored by more than two authors will be eligible.
  • If the winning book has been written by an author and an illustrator it will be judged on a case by case basis as to whether they will jointly win the Prize and share the prize money.
  • Books published only in e-book form are not eligible to be entered.
  • Self-published works are not eligible to be entered.
  • Entries must be published in English.
  • Authors must be living at the date of publication.
  • To be eligible for the 2016 Prize, books must have been first published between 1 January 2015 and 31 December 2015.
  • Authors who are employed by Readings during the judging period for each year are not eligible for the Prize. For the 2016 Prize round, this period is from 1 January 2014, through to 30 June 2015.

Entry Guidelines

  • There is no process for entering the Prize. The judging panel will decide on eligible titles and invite respective publishers to submit no more than five reading copies of the nominated book for Prize consideration throughout the eligibility period.


Enquiries should be directed to Readings Carlton children’s buyer and prize manager, Angela Crocombe at