The winners of the CBCA Book of the Year Awards 2020

The Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) has announced their Book of the Year Awards winners for 2020. 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 (for ages 13-18 years)

This Is How We Change The Ending by Vikki Wakefield

Sixteen-year-old Nate McKee has a lot of worries on his mind: his violent dad’s treatment towards his partner Nance and their toddler twins, his mouthy best friend Merrick, a lack of personal space, school work, the future of the planet. To survive, he’s learnt to be invisible, but when the local youth centre, YouthWorks – a haven from his chaotic family life – is threatened with closure, he’s forced to stop waiting for things to be different, and take action instead, managing to find hope in the face of apathy.

Honour books:


Younger Readers (for ages 8-12 years)

The Little Wave by Pip Harry

When a Manly school sets out to bring a country class to the city for a beach visit, three very different kids find each other and themselves. Noah is fearless in the surf - so where does his courage go when his best mate pushes him around? Lottie loves collecting facts about bugs, but she doesn’t know what to do about her dad filling their lonely house with junk. Jack wants to be a cricket star, but first he has to improve at school.

Honour books:


Early Childhood (for ages 0-7 years)

My Friend Fred by Frances Watts (illustrated by A. Yi)

A delightful picture book about a friendship between an exuberant but loveable dachshund and his more retiring, tidy housemate.

Honour books:


Picture Book of the Year (for ages 0-18 years)

I Need a Parrot by Chris McKimmie

Have you ever not just wanted something, but wanted it so much that you NEED it? The main character in I Need a Parrot wants this pet so much that he attempts to persuade the unseen figure that he should get one. A book about wanting and needing what a child wants and what a wild bird needs.

Honour books:

  • Nop by Caroline Magerl
  • Three by Stephen Michael King


Eve Pownall Award for Information Books (for ages 0-18 years)

Young Dark Emu: A Truer History by Bruce Pascoe

Using the accounts of early European explorers, colonists and farmers, Bruce Pascoe compellingly argues for a reconsideration of the hunter-gatherer label for pre-colonial Aboriginal Australians. Young Dark Emu: A Truer History asks young readers to consider a different version of Australia’s history pre-European colonisation.

Honour books:


Crichton Award for New Illustrators (for ages 0-18 years)

Baby Business by Jasmine Seymour

From Darug woman Jasmine Seymour, Baby Business tells the story of the baby smoking ceremony that welcomes baby to country. The smoke is a blessing – it will protect the baby and remind them that they belong. This beautiful ritual is recounted in a way young children will completely relate to.

This year’s Children’s Book Week runs from 17 - 23 October with the theme: Curious Creatures, Wild Minds. For more information about the CBCA Awards and Children’s Book Week, visit the CBCA website.

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This Is How We Change The Ending

This Is How We Change The Ending

Vikki Wakefield

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