WWI soldier's story wins NZ Post Children's Book Award

Author Matt Elliot, whose book 'Nice Day for a War' was named Book of the Year at the 2012 New Zealand Post Children's Book Awards. Photo / Supplied
Author Matt Elliot, whose book 'Nice Day for a War' was named Book of the Year at the 2012 New Zealand Post Children's Book Awards. Photo / Supplied

The true story of a World War l Kiwi soldier has won the country's highest honour in children's writing at the annual New Zealand Post Children's Book Awards, presented in Wellington tonight.

Nice Day for a War, by author Matt Elliot and illustrated by Chris Slane was named Children's Book of the Year. The book is based on the original diaries of Elliot's grandfather, Corporal Cyril Elliot.

"Nice Day for a War is a stand-out book which offers young readers an honest glimpse into the lives of soldiers during World War I,'' said Gillian Candler, the Awards Convenor of Judges.

A picture book, The Cat's Pyjamas by first time published writer and illustrator Catherine Foreman, won the Children's Choice Award. The award is heralded as a significant indicator of audience opinion.

The book's main character enchanted children throughout New Zealand with his colourful collection of pyjamas; one for every day of the week.

Debut writer, Leonie Agnew took away the Best First Book Award and won the Junior Fiction category for her novel Super Finn.

The Young Adult Fiction category award went to Calling the Gods by Jack Lasenby.

Rahui by Chris Szekely and illustrated by Malcolm Ross won the Picture Book category. The book has two language editions: Te Reo Maori and English.

"Both versions of this beautiful book have a timeless quality, with the story dealing sensitively with the sad drowning of a cousin,'' Ms Candler said.

WINNERS:
New Zealand Post Children's Book of the Year

Nice Day for a War by Matt Elliott and illustrated by Chris Slane (HarperCollins Publishers)
Children's Choice Award
The Cat's Pyjamas by Catherine Foreman (Scholastic New Zealand)
Best First Book Award
Super Finn by Leonie Agnew (Scholastic New Zealand)
Picture Book category
Rahui (Maori version) by Chris Szekely translated by Brian Morris and illustrated by Malcolm Ross (Huia Publishers)
Rahui (English version) by Chris Szekely and illustrated by Malcolm Ross (Huia Publishers)
Honour Award
Shaolin Burning by Ant Sang (HarperCollins Publishers)
Non-Fiction category
Nice Day for a War by Matt Elliott and illustrated by Chris Slane (HarperCollins Publishers)
Honour Award
Digging Up The Past: Archaeology For The Young & Curious by David Veart (Auckland University Press)
Junior Fiction category
Super Finn by Leonie Agnew (Scholastic New Zealand)
Honour Award
The Travelling Restaurant by Barbara Else (Gecko Press)
Young Adult Fiction category
Calling the Gods by Jack Lasenby (HarperCollins Publishers)
Honour Award
The Bridge by Jane Higgins (Text Publishing Company)

Each Category Award winner received $7,500.

The winner of the New Zealand Post Children's Book of the Year Award took home an extra $7,500.

The winner of the Best First Book Award and the Children's Choice Award received prize money of $2,000 each.

- APNZ

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