I've had a day of intense highs and lows; one of those days where lots of wonderful things happen and some not so wonderful things happen, maybe due to the pouring rain (and even snowing in some parts of Canberra).
First it was long overdue shopping, with unexpected bargains in the mix, then it was to the National Library of Australia for the Children's Book Council of Australia's Book of the Year announcement.
Truly, this is one of my favourite days of the year, seeing fabulous books win wonderful awards, and cheering on friends and colleagues. Like every year, some of the results I agree with, some I don't - but I'm just super excited for everyone, nonetheless.
The event kicked off with an intro by NLA marketing guru Maureen Brooks, followed by a truly glorious reader's theatre piece by year 3 from Canberra Girls' Grammar, who read and performed Elizabeth Honey's That's Not a Daffodil - and engaged us all in song.
As this year's Book Week theme is Champions Read, Olympic champion Petria Thomas was on hand to present the girls with 'gold medals' after their divine performance.
Storyteller extraordinaire, Mollie Bialkowski (above right), was next with a reading of one of the shortlisted books - Sonya Hartnett's Come Down, Cat! This gal can tell a story!
Suddenly it was midday. Dr Andrew Leigh MP, Federal Member for Fraser was on hand to open the winning envelopes . . .
|Andrew Leigh announces the winning books,with Maureen Brooks and Margaret Carmody looking on|
I tweeted the winners straight to @KidsBookReview as the each envelope was opened - SO exciting. Drum roll, please...
Older Readers Book of the Year 2012
Winner: The Dead I Know by Scot Gardiner (Penguin)
Honour: A Straight Line to my Heart by Bill Condon (Allen and Unwin)
Honour: When We were Two by Robert Newton (Penguin)
Younger Readers Book of the Year 2012
Winner: Crow Country by Kate Constable (Allen and Unwin)
Honour: Nanberry: Black Brother White by Jackie French (HarperCollins)
Honour: The Truth about Verity Sparks by Susan Green (Walker)
Early Childhood Book of the Year 2012
Winner: The Runaway Hug by Nick Bland and Freya Blackwood (Scholastic)
Honour: Come Down, Cat! by Sonya Hartnett and Lucia Masciullo (Puffin)
Honour: That's Not a Daffodil! by Elizabeth Honey (Allen and Unwin)
Picture Book of the Year 2012
Winner: A Bus Called Heaven by Bob Graham (Walker)
Honour: The Dream of the Thylacine by Margaret Wild and Rob Brooks (Allen and Unwin)
Honour: Flood by Jackie French and Bruce Whatley (Omnibus)
Eve Pownall Book of the Year 2012
Winner: One Small island: The Story of Macquarie Island by Alison Lester and Coral Tulloch (Penguin)
Honour: The Little Refugee by Anh, Suzanne Do and Bruce Whatley (Allen and Unwin)
There was cheering for some, curious silences for others (always the way!) but what a thrill it was to hear these results. I'm particularly thrilled for the wonderful Jackie French, whose work I thoroughly esteem (Nanberry is one of my favourite books of all time) and I was also personally thrilled with the nod for Bob Graham and his truly beautiful bus called heaven.
CBCA President for the ACT, Margaret Carmody (above left; Julie Long is on the right, reading out the names of the medal winners!), wound up the event, with some inspiring and really emotional words about Australia, its readers and our love of- and talent for- books, particularly children's books. She brought a tear to my eye when she thanked authors for writing what we do - and for feeling so passionately about literacy.
As things wrapped up, local authors Stephanie Owen Reeder, Tracey Hawkins, Katie Taylor and Pauline Deeves and I truddled downstairs to the NLA Bookshop where we signed books and had a chat to some book lovers.
Then it was into the pouring rain for a spot of grocery shopping (ugh) and the heart-plummeting news that one of my friends has been diagnosed with breast cancer. Coming home, I unpacked my groceries, received an email from one of my publishers asking me to work on something new and listened to a very beautiful and emotional voicemail from a long lost second cousin - so you can imagine the sensation of being pulled from pillar to post. Golly, life throws curveballs all in one day, sometimes.
Today I celebrate the daffodil that was so beautifully showcased in that stunning readers' theatre event today. I celebrate it for its beauty and for its representation of love, hope and new beginnings. As I 'come down' from this literary Day of Days, I give thanks for creative talent, for children and for books. This day, more than ever, I'm reminded how much I love my work, and how vital books are for our children.
Happy reading, everyone. And buy yourself some daffies, will you not?
|the shortlisted books|