Topic: Three Tauranga Books Are Children's Book Awards Finalists (2015)

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On Tuesday 24 March 2015 three children’s books from Tauranga were announced as Finalists in the LIANZA Children's Book Awards. The authors were Debbie McCauley and Susan Brocker.

Two Tauranga books are Children's Book Awards Finalists (2015)Two bilingual children’s books by Tauranga author and librarian Debbie McCauley have been announced as 2015 Elsie Locke Nonfiction Award Finalists. The award was established in 1986 and recognises a distinguished contribution to nonfiction for young people.


“It’s incredibly exciting to have three stories from Tauranga Moana in the awards,” says Debbie. “I’m so thrilled that two of them are mine".


Her book ‘Mōtītī Blue and the Oil Spill: A Story from the Rena Disaster’ has been shortlisted. It tells the story a little blue penguin caught up in Rena’s oil spill and has received overwhelmingly positive reviews. A review of the book by John McIntyre featured on National Radio’s Nine To Noon program. Central TV News also interviewed Debbie about the book. 


Her second book in the awards is ‘Taratoa and the Code of Conduct: A Story from the Battle of Gate Pā’ which was produced for the battle’s sesquicentennial in April 2014. “It was created under an enormous amount of time pressure” says Debbie, who was also helping to organise the Tauranga commemoration. Her fifteen-year-old daughter Sophie illustrated the book.


Both books were produced by Mauao Publishing which Debbie established in 2012. “I have an amazing team,” says Debbie. “Book designer Sarah Elworthy is incredibly talented, as is Te Reo Māori translator Tamati Waaka". The cover for Mōtītī Blue is a painting by Tauranga artist Elliot Mason. “Elliot’s stunning artwork was just perfect for the cover,” says Debbie.


The winner of the 2014 Elsie Locke Award was ‘Wearable Wonders’ by Fifi Colston. “I find Elsie Locke (1912-2001) incredibly inspiring,” says Debbie, “as well as being a distinguished New Zealand writer and historian, she was a leader in the feminist and peace movements. It is a privilege to feature in an award that honours her contribution to Aotearoa”.


Susan Brocker with her Children's Book Awards Finalist (2015) ........ Longlisted in the LIANZA Young Adult Finalists is '1914: Riding into War' by Tauranga author Susan Brocker. The story is the first in Scholastic's 'Kiwis at War' series produced to commemorate the First World War. There will be five books in the series, one released each year (2014-2018) whilst the 100th commemorations of World War I take place. 


"It’s wonderful to see '1914: Riding into War' recognised in the LIANZA Children’s Book Awards," says Susan. "The idea for this book was inspired by my grandfather, Trooper Thomas McGee, who served as a mounted rifleman in World War One. It’s great to think that the new generation will have the chance to read about the sacrifices their own forefathers and mothers made and to treasure their future".


In Susan's story, 17-year-old Billy Bowman signs up with his best mate Jack and their horses. Leaving their horses behind in Egypt, they are sent to Gallipoli after the first landings. There they take park in the horrific battle of Chunuk Bair in August 1915. The horror of trench warfare is far removed from the big adventure Jack and his mates thought it would be. 

The annual Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa awards acknowledge excellence in junior fiction, young adult fiction, illustration, nonfiction and te reo Maori. Sponsored by HELL Pizza, they are judged by librarians for outstanding children’s literature in New Zealand. As part of the book awards HELL Pizza is to provide 100,000 free pizzas to Kiwi kids across New Zealand during a LIANZA reading challenge.

The award winners will be announced on 15 June 2015 during an awards ceremony at The National Library in Wellington. 



Russell Clark Illustration Award Finalists


LIANZA Young Adult Finalists



Elsie Locke Nonfiction Finalists

  • The Book of Hat by Harriet Rowland – Makaro Press
  • A New Zealand Nature Journal by Sandra Morris – Walker Books
  • Maori Art for Kids by Julie Noanoa and Norm Heke - Potton and Burton Publishing
  • Mōtītī Blue and the Oil Spill: A Story from the Rena Disaster by Debbie McCauley – Mauao Publishing
  • New Zealand Sports Hall of Fame: 25 Kiwi Champions by Maria Gill and Marco Ivancic – New Holland


Esther Glen Junior Fiction Finalists

  • Monkey Boy by Donovan Bixley – Scholastic
  • The Volume of Possible Endings (A Tale of Fontania) by Barbara Else – Gecko
  • Conrad Cooper's Last Stand by Leonie Agnew - Penguin
  • Trouble in Time by Adele Broadbent – Scholastic
  • Letterbox Cat by Paula Green – Scholastic


Te Kura Pounamu (Te Reo Māori)Finalists

  • Ngā Kī by Sacha Cotter, Josh Morgan and Kawata Teepa - Huia
  • Hui E! by various authors - Huia
  • Tūtewehi by Fred Te Maro - Huia
  • Kimihia by Te Mihinga Komene and Scott Pearson - Huia
  • An early Te Reo Reading Book Series by Carolyn Collis - Summer Rose Books





1914: Riding into War (Susan Brocker Books).


LIANZA Children’s Book Awards 2015 Finalist Announcement (Booksellers, 26 March 2015).


LIANZA Children’s Book Awards 2015 Finalists (Scoop, 25 March 2015).


Mauao Publishing (Press Release, 24 March 2015).


The LIANZA Children's Book Awards 2015 Finalists (LIANZA, 24 March 2015).

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Three Tauranga Books Are Children's Book Awards Finalists (2015)