The finalists in the 10th annual New Zealand Post Book Awards for children's writing were announced today, with organisers declaring the influence of political correctness on subject and content matter was over.
Judging panel convenor Julie Harper said all the finalists had demonstrated a pride in New Zealand and its heritage, from the natural world to the country's recent history.
Ms Harper said fellow judges - TV3's Carol Hirschfeld and writer Graeme Lay - had spent the summer reading books written by New Zealand authors which included tales of cannibalism, Maori land and environmental issues and smart young characters taking on international corporations.
"The age of political correctness is over with our children's writers becoming more confident in writing about - in particular - issues related to race and Maori land."
The finalists were selected from more than 120 children's books published in New Zealand in 2005 and submitted for the awards. The winners will be announced on May 17.
The finalists are:
A Booming in the Night, by Ben Brown, illustrated by Helen Taylor (Reed Publishing)
Haere - Farewell, Jack, Farewell, by Tim Tipene, illustrated by Huhana Smith (Huia Publishers)
Nobody's Dog, by Jennifer Beck, illustrated by Lindy Fisher (Scholastic New Zealand)
*The Waka, by Jean Prior, illustrated by Gavin Bishop (Scholastic New Zealand)
*Te Waka, by Katerina Te Heikoko Mataira and Jean Prior, illustrated by Gavin Bishop (Scholastic New Zealand)
Where's the Gold? by Pamela Allen (Penguin Viking)
*The Waka and Te Waka are selected as joint finalists in English and te reo editions
Hunter, by Joy Cowley (Puffin)
Maddigan's Fantasia, by Margaret Mahy (HarperCollins Publishers)
My Story: Chinatown Girl - The Diary of Silvey Chan, Auckland, 1942, by Eva Wong Ng (Scholastic NZ)
Sil, by Jill Harris (Longacre Press)
Super Freak, by Brian Falkner (Mallinson Rendel)
Deep Fried, by Bernard Beckett and Clare Knighton (Longacre Press)
Kaitangata Twitch, by Margaret Mahy (Allen & Unwin)
Running Hot, by David Hill (Mallinson Rendel)
The Unknown Zone, by Phil Smith (Random House New Zealand)
With Lots of Love from Georgia, by Brigid Lowry (Allen & Unwin)
Blue New Zealand: Plants, Animals, Environments - A Visual Guide, by Glenys Stace (Puffin)
Cameras in Narnia: How The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe came to life, by Ian Brodie (HarperCollins Publishers)
Frontier of Dreams: The Story of New Zealand - The Weight of World Wars 1897 - 1949, by John Parker (Scholastic New Zealand)
Peter Blake Sailor, Adventurer: The Story of a New Zealand Hero, by Alan Sefton (Puffin)
Scarecrow Army: The Anzacs at Gallipoli, by Leon Davidson (Black Dog Books)