The winners of the CBCA Book of the Year Awards 2019

The Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) has announced their Book of the Year Awards winners for 2019. These Awards celebrate the best Australian books for readers in early childhood up to young adult readers.

Here are the winners for each category.


Older Readers

Between Us by Clare Atkins

Jono is depressed, missing his absent mother and sister, and struggling in his relationship with his Vietnamese father Kenny. Ana is an asylum seeker from Iran, forced to live in a detention centre and nervously attending the local school for the first time. As Jono and Ana form a gentle bond and feelings grow between them, problems arise when Jono’s father – who works as a guard at the detention centre – becomes involved. Between Us is an extraordinary feat of storytelling, beautifully weaving together three narrative voices with precision and skill.

Between Us was also shortlisted for the 2018 Readings Young Adult Book Prize. Read our judges' thoughts here.

Honour books:


Younger Readers

His Name Was Walter by Emily Rodda

After their bus breaks down on a school excursion, four kids, including Colin and their schoolteacher, take shelter from a huge storm in a nearby deserted mansion. While there, Colin discovers a secret drawer that contains an old book with strange vivid drawings and a handwritten story about a boy called Walter. From one of Australia’s most renowned children’s authors comes an extraordinary story within a story – a mystery, a prophecy, a long-buried secret. And five people who will remember this night as long as they live.

Read our review here.

Honour books:


Early Childhood

Tricky’s Bad Day by Alison Lester

Poor Tricky! Nothing is going right for him. Milk spills, pyjama buttons won’t work, his little sister wrecks their game, and when he tries to help out, everything gets worse. Tricky’s having a very bad day! Then Dad has an idea. Outside it’s wild, but there’s a lot to explore…From Australia’s favourite picture-book creator comes a warm and funny story about the very recognisable mess, muddle and love that is the life of a young family – and the freedom of an outside adventure.

Honour books:


Picture Book of the Year

Cicada by Shaun Tan

The story of a cicada who works in an office, and all the people who don’t appreciate him. Cicada dutifully toils day after day for unappreciative bosses, being bullied by his coworkers. But one day, Cicada goes to the roof of the building, and something truly extraordinary happens…This is a story for anyone who has ever felt unappreciated, overlooked or overworked. Award-winning artist and author Shaun Tan has produced another stunning masterpiece of minimalist social commentary that will resonate with adults and children alike.

Read our review here.

Honour books:


Eve Pownall Award for Information Books

Sorry Day by Coral Vass & Dub Leffler

Maggie holds tight to her mother as they await the long anticipated apology to show a willingness to reconcile the past for future generations. In the excitement of the crowd, Maggie loses touch of her mother’s hand and is lost. In a time ‘long ago and not so long ago’ children were taken from their parents, their ‘sorrow echoing across the land'. Two stories entwine in this captivating retelling of the momentous day when the then-Prime Minister of Australia, Kevin Rudd, acknowledged the sorrows of past and said ‘Sorry' to the generation of children who were taken from their homes.

Read our review here.

Honour books:


Crichton Award for New Illustrators

Grandma Z by Daniel Gray-Barnett

On an ordinary day, in an even more ordinary town, it’s Albert’s birthday. When Grandma Z roars into town on her motorcycle, Albert is swept up in a wonderful adventure. Together they climb enchanted rocks, go bird watching, build palaces and have the most extraordinary day possible. Grandma Z beautifully illustrates how a perfectly normal day out with your grandparents can make the most magical memories.This glorious debut from Daniel Gray-Barnett is filled with wonder, imagination, and a wild, magical spirit that will thrill young and old.

Read our review here.

This year’s Children’s Book Week runs from 17–23 August with the theme: Reading is My Secret Power. For more information about the CBCA Awards and Children’s Book Week, visit the CBCA website.

Between Us

Between Us

Clare Atkins

$19.99Buy now

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