This week my local CBCA Sub-branch listened to an address by Book of the Year judge, Cathie Tasker about the awards and judging process. These are ten items of interest I thought I’d share from this talk:
1. It is important to note that the CBCA Book of the year awards are judged for literary merit, not popularity or enjoyment etc. (There are other awards judging other criteria, eg. Inkies, ABIA, Readings Children’s Book Prize, KOALA awards etc). And the Key Word is outstanding literary merit. You can find out more here.
2. There is no upper limit to the amount of notables. It is interesting that this year out of 130 books for Younger Readers only 14 were considered meritable as opposed to 20+ for Early Childhood and Picture Books categories.
3. The Younger Reader category is skewed towards the older end of the spectrum due to the judging requirements for themes, symbols and layers that are quite complex.
4. In Early Childhood books the pictures are mostly illustrative to help young children figure out meaning.
5. In the Picture Book category illustrations must extend the text and judging includes assessing the print.
6. Most of the Picture Books this year had omniscient narrators, yet the judges would like to see some close protagonist or first person narration included.
7. It is interesting that this year two picture books addressed the same theme yet in wildly different ways – Mr Huff and What’s up MuMu.
8. Most older readers this year have a narrator 15 yr or older.
9. Next year the judging system changes with 3 judges on each panel and 5 categories.
10. The demographic of judges reflect the huge investment of time judging the awards takes – find them on the Reading Time website.