IBBY Australia Honour Books showcase refugee stories


IBBY Australia proudly announces its biennial Honour Books for 2018. Many Australian authors and illustrators for young people have a deep concern for the plight of refugees. It happens that the two books selected, one for excellence in Writing, one for excellence in Illustration, treat themes of migration and the search for a safe place.

For Writing: The Bone Sparrow by Zana Fraillon, Lothian Children’s Books, an imprint of Hachette Australia.

Subhi is a refugee of Rohingya origin, born in an Australian permanent detention centre, and life behind the fences is all he has ever known. But as he grows, his imagination gets bigger too, fed by The Night Sea, the faraway whales and the birds.

 One night Jimmie, a scruffy, impatient girl, appears from the other side of the wires, bringing a notebook written by the mother she lost. Unable to read it, she relies on Subhi to unravel her own family’s love songs and tragedies. 

Subhi and Jimmie might both find a way to freedom, but not until each of them has been braver than ever before. The writer succeeds—mostly through Subhi’s first-person narrative —in presenting the claustrophobic world of the detention camp, with its tedium and heartbreak, major and petty cruelties and unexpected humour. The reader is left pondering themes of hope, freedom, friendship, memory and the power of stories.

Zana Fraillon was born in Melbourne, studied history and became a primary teacher.  She has written picture books for young children, a series for middle readers, and No Stars to Wish On, about a boy taken from home and put in an orphanage. Her most recent book, The Ones That Disappeared, tells of trafficked children searching for freedom. The Bone Sparrow has featured on a number of awards lists in Australia and overseas, including the Amnesty CILIP Honour 2017, for which a judge wrote: ‘The characters are sharply observed throughout and, in Subhi, Zana Fraillon has created an unforgettable voice’.

For Illustration: Teacup by Matt Ottley (text by Rebecca Young), Scholastic Press

Teacup is the story of a boy ‘who had to leave home’ and his long and arduous journey by sea, bringing with him only a book, a bottle, a blanket and a teacup full of earth from the place where he grew up. The journey includes peaceful days, and days when storms threaten to overturn his boat. When at last he reaches land, it does not feel complete . . . until another traveller joins him. Matt Ottley has crafted images of this transformative journey, using a combination of oil paintings and digital art. He has brought dramatic and luminous skyscapes and seascapes, skilful changes in perspective and studies of reflection to the spare, poetic text to create an eloquent tale of migration. The symbols of the teacup, the soil and the tree that grows from it will evoke recognition in many readers.

Matt Ottley was born in Papua New Guinea, moved to Sydney as a child, and worked as a stockman in Queensland before finally studying fine arts and music. In addition to being one of Australia’s most highly regarded children’s book creators, he is also a musician and composer. He has illustrated over 20 children’s books, including Luke’s Way of Looking (text Nadia Wheatley); Requiem for a Beast: a Work for Image, Word and Music (text Matt Ottley); Home and Away (text John Marsden); and Tree: A Little Story about Big Things (text Danny Parker). Teacup was winner of the Patricia Wrightson Award 2016 (NSW Premier’s Awards).

Every two years an Advisory Panel of three children’s literature experts makes the selection from all books published in the period. These outstanding books become Australia’s representative books in a travelling exhibition of about 150 international titles. The exhibition will be shown at the IBBY Congress in Athens in 2018, at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair and in many other countries.


Dr Robin Morrow AM

National President

IBBY Australia Inc

Email: robin.morrow@wordsandphrases.com.au

Tel: +61 (0)2 9484 1904                                                                     10 October 2017

IBBY Australia Ena Noël Award 2016 Announced

IBBY Australia’s Ena Noël Award is an encouragement award for a young, emerging writer or illustrator. The panel of three judges is happy to announce that this year’s winner is: Writing Clementine by Kate Gordon (Allen & Unwin).

Year 9 student Clementine Darcy is finding life challenging. Her friends want her to diet and exercise more, to emulate fashion models; her brother has become a recluse and locks himself in his room; her mother is preoccupied with being a high profile lawyer; and her beloved older sister is not as perfect as Clementine had thought. And then there’s a new male student who is odd and secretive and somehow makes her question many assumptions.

Writing Clementine is a refreshing and multi-layered story about the lives of believable young people. Although set in North West Tasmania, it could be anywhere in regional or suburban Australia. Kate Gordon writes with insight, sensitivity and humour; her fluid style keeps the reader fully involved in Clementine’s story, as she deals with such
problems as female friendships and bullying, and enjoys embarking on new ventures—a burgeoning romance, and the world of steampunk. Clementine declares that she wants ‘to swim, not float like a dead fish’. Many readers will enjoy following her emergence as she learns to do just that.

See the press release for full details.

Entries invited for the Ena Noel Award 2016

IBBY Australia invites publishers to submit their entries for the Ena Noel Award 2016, the IBBY Australia encouragement award for literature for young people.

  • The writer or illustrator should be under 35 years of age in the year in which the work was published.
  • Only books published between 1st July 2013 and 30th June 2015 are eligible.
  • Three copies of the book must be submitted to the book coordinator.
  • The author or illustrator must be an Australian citizen or a permanent resident of Australia.

For more information see the Ena Noel Award 2016 Information for Publishers.

Entries close on  30th November 2015.

Australian nominees for the 2016 Hans Christian Andersen Awards Announced

IBBY Australia Inc is thrilled to announce that Australian nominees for the 2016 Hans Christian Andersen Awards are: URSULA DUBOSARSKY (WRITER) and BRONWYN BANCROFT (ILLUSTRATOR). Both are esteemed creators with international profiles. IBBY announced the names of 28 writers and 29 illustrators from 34 countries nominated for these prestigious awards on 30 March at the Bologna International Children’s Book Fair.

Dubosarsky Ursula C (photo credit Vicki Skarratt 2011)

Photo credit Vicki Skarratt 2011

Ursula Dubosarsky (1961-) was born into a family of writers in Sydney where she graduated from Sydney University in 1982. After travel and a year on a kibbutz in Israel, she returned to Australia and published her first picture book for children, Maisie and the Pinny Gig in 1989. Then came a succession of novels for older children including The First Book of Samuel (1995), for which she wrote a sequel, Theodora’s Gift (2005). Other novels range from the fantasy of The Game of the Goose (2000) to the experimental surrealistic work Abyssinia (2001); and the historical young adult fiction of The Red Shoe (2006) and The Golden Day (2011). Dubosarsky has also produced a great range of illustrated books in collaboration with several distinguished Australian illustrators.

Over a 25-year period of continued publication, she has won nine national literary prizes, including five New South Wales Premier’s Literary Awards, more than any other writer in the Awards’ history. Her books have been frequently shortlisted and Honour Books in the Children’s Book Council of Australia awards, winning the Book of the Year Award in 2011 for The Return of the Word Spy. In 2013 she was inducted into the Speech Pathology Australia Hall of Fame for services to children’s speech and literacy. Her international profile is impressive – many of her works have been published in the UK and the USA, and have also been translated into several European languages and also into Korean, Chinese, Japanese and Hebrew. She has been nominated for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award in 2013, 2014 and 2015. International honours include: IBBY Honour Book List 2014 and a Luchs (Lynx) Award for Children’ Literature for The Golden Day; a YALSA Excellence in Non-fiction for Young Adults Nomination 2010 for The Word Snoop; inclusion in the International Youth Library (IYL) White Ravens International Catalogue 2007 for The Red Shoe and 1996 for The First Book of Samuel. Among recent notable achievements: Too Many Elephants in the House! was chosen for Australia’s National Simultaneous Storytime in May 2014; The Red Shoe was selected for the Copyright Agency’s Reading Australia program; and a commission to create a story for national retailer David Jones’s 2014 iconic Christmas window display. Three of her books have also been adapted for theatre: The Red Shoe; The Terrible Plop and Too Many Elephants in This House!. She is one of Australia’s foremost writers for young people.

Bronwyn Bancroft

Bronwyn Bancroft

Bronwyn Bancroft (1958–) is an acclaimed Aboriginal artist. She is a descendant of the Djanbun clan of the Bundjalung nation. Born in Tenterfield, New South Wales, and trained in Canberra and Sydney, Bancroft has worked as a fashion designer, artist, book illustrator, and arts administrator throughout a long and very industrious career. Her diverse artistic practice includes public art commissions, imagery design for private commission, and both authoring and illustrating children’s books. Bancroft began illustrating children’s books in 1993, with artwork for Diana Kidd’s The Fat and Juicy Place which was shortlisted for the Children’s Book Council of Australia’s Book of the Year and won the Australian Multicultural Children’s Book Award. She illustrated the third edition of Stradbroke Dreamtime (1993, 1972) by Indigenous activist and writer Oodgeroo Noonuccal. Bancroft has since contributed artwork for over 20 children’s books, including some by prominent Australian writer and artist Sally Morgan, whom she regards as a mentor and friend. These include Dan’s Grandpa (1996), Sam’s Bush Journey (2009) and The Amazing A–Z (2014). Bancroft has also created a number of children’s books in her own right, including An Australian 1 2 3 of Animals and An Australian ABC of Animals. Her art has also appeared in the publications of a number of other individuals and organisations, including as cover art for books. Bronwyn illustrated Diane Wolkstein’s adaptation Sun Mother Wakes the World: An Australian Creation Story (2004) published by HarperCollins New York, and named in the New York Public Library’s annual list Children’s Books 2004–100 Titles for Reading & Sharing. Her latest work is a collaboration with her son Jack Manning Bancroft The Eagle Inside (2015). In 1994 she was the Australian candidate for the UNICEF Ezra Jack Keats International Award for Excellence in Children’s Book Illustration. In 2009 Bancroft received the Dromkeen Medal for her contribution to children’s literature. Bronwyn Bancroft’s artistic contributions have been extraordinarily diverse and highly influential.

The winners of these awards will be announced at Bologna in 2016 and presented at the IBBY Congress in Auckland, in August that year.

For further details contact:

Dr Robyn Sheahan-Bright (Chair HCA Australia Sub-Committee)
IBBY Australia Inc c/- PO Box 329 Beecroft NSW 2119


Vale Dr Maurice Saxby AM – Children’s Literature Champion

Our thoughts are with the family and friends of Dr Maurice Saxby AM. Our friend Maurie passed away yesterday.  He was a great champion of children’s literature, serving twice on the Hans Christian Andersen Award Jury of The International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) and was the first life member of IBBY Australia.  He was the first National President of the Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) and remained associated with the CBCA for more than 60 years. He was Patron of the Aora Children’s Literature Research Centre NSW Inc.

Maurie was honoured with many awards in his lifetime including among them Member in the Order of Australia (AM); the Pixie O’Harris award for distinguished service to children’s books by the Children’s Publishing Committee of the Australian Publishers’ Association; a Doctor of Letters from the University of Sydney for his unwavering dedication to Australian children’s literature; life membership of the Primary English Teaching Association Australia for his influence and contribution to the teaching of English in Australia; the Lady Cutler Award for Distinguished Service to Children’s Literature in New South Wales from the CBCA NSW; a Citation and the Nan Chauncy Award from the CBCA and the Dromkeen Medal.

Ena Noel 2010 Award Winner Announced!

This biennial award encourages a young Australian creator of childrens books and also keeps alive the name of  IBBY Australia’s first President, Ena Noel.  This year’s winner is “Scatterheart” by Lili Wilkinson (black dog books)

Each chapter of Hannah’s story begins with the tale of Scatterheart, a fairy tale version of her own search for happily ever after. In a novel that is an interesting mix of historical fiction, fantasy, adventure and melodrama, Wilkinson has created in Hannah a strong character undergoing a metamorphosis from the spoilt and self centred society miss to a resilient, resourceful and loyal young woman. Her descriptions of well researched settings are equally memorable, from the dank and dangerous prison cells to the harsh realities and privations of life aboard a prison ship and in the penal colony of New South Wales. The amalgam of styles and stories revealed in Scatterheart engages, informs and entertains and is indicative of Wilkinson’s versatility.

Such skill is worthy of encouragement in an emerging young writer. The judging panel congratulates Lili Wilkinson, recipient of the IBBY Australia Ena Noel encouragement award for literature for young people.