The IBBY (Australia) Honour Books have been announced. These two books – one for Writing and one for Illustration – will be Australia’s nominations in the prestigious biennial international awards.

The recipients are the extraordinary Vikki Wakefield for Writing and Philip Bunting for Illustration.

Vikki’s award is for her YA novel This is How We Change the Ending (Text Publishing).

See my interview with Vikki about her novel at PaperbarkWords.

Philip’s award is for his picture book Wombat. (Omnibus Books, Scholastic Australia).

See my interview with Philip at PaperbarkWords.

I am honoured to have been on the judging panel of these awards.

IBBY Australia press release

Australian Nominations

IBBY Honour List 2022

IBBY Australia announces its selection of two extraordinary books to be included in the prestigious biennial IBBY Honour List for 2022. These books become Australia’s representatives in a travelling exhibition of international titles. The 2022 exhibition will be featured at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, at the 2022 IBBY Congress in Malaysia, and in many other countries.  

FOR WRITING: Wakefield, Vikki This is How We Change the Ending The Text Publishing Company, 2019.
This harrowing tale of sixteen-year-old Nate McKee, who is at a crossroads in his life, is visceral in its impact. Often called upon to protect his twin half-brothers, and his young stepmother from his abusive father’s rages, Nate has hidden talents as a writer. With the schoolyard as much a battlefield as is his home Nate’s refuge is the youth centre where the workers offer quasi-parenting. There he befriends Tash, a socially conscious graffiti artist whose images complement the words in his private notebooks. Self-expression, and standing up for what you believe are powerfully presented in this emotionally raw novel. Funny and yet heartbreaking, it explores social issues via the prism of one character’s story, and conveys Nate’s thoughts with searing understanding. Minor characters are equally well-drawn, and the result is an explosively charged exploration of a dysfunctional childhood and the possible avenues of escape. In this tribute to the power of words and art to transcend trauma, Vikki Wakefield reveals again that she is one of Australia’s most gifted authors, in this towering example of her skills.

Vikki Wakefield writes realist fiction for young adults which explores coming-of-age, family, class, relationships and the lives of contemporary teens. She worked in banking, journalism, communications and graphic design, before enrolling in a professional writing course, where she found her voice. Through her focus on writing for YA, Vikki champions the role of the underdog revealing empathy for the challenges her male and female characters face. Her novels have been shortlisted and won numerous awards. All I Ever Wanted (2011) won the Adelaide Festival Award for Literature, 2012. Friday Brown (2012) won the same award in 2014. Inbetween Days (2015) was a Children’s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year Award, Honour Book: Older Readers, 2016. Ballad for a Mad Girl (2017) won the Sisters in Crime’s 18th Davitt Awards: Young Adult Novel, 2018. This is How We Change the Endingwon the CBCA Book of the Year: Older Readers Award, 2020, was shortlisted for the Prime Minister’s Literary Award, YA category, and was shortlisted and longlisted for several others. Vikki lives in Adelaide, Australia.  

FOR ILLUSTRATION: Bunting, Philip Wombat. Omnibus Books, an imprint of Scholastic Australia Pty Ltd, 2020.
This is a pitch perfect picture book for early readers to share with their parents, although audiences of any age will definitely take it to their hearts. It is simple and yet complex, wryly funny, witty, and very touching. The images, in a striking colour palette, are spare, and the design, including lusciously decorative endpapers, is splendid. Bunting creates a catalogue of wombats, about whom he makes ironic jokes, engages in inventive word play using rhyme, rhythm, and suffixes, and also manages to tell an adventure story which evolves into a love story with a definite ending. This is an extremely enticing and thoroughly lovable read-aloud work in which the images are highly restrained but endlessly suggestive, and in which there is an endearing warmth of appreciation of these quirky characters. There is a sophisticated control of internal page design and the entire book is perfectly structured to make a consummate whole. Despite its very Australian protagonist (!), Wombathas universal appeal and will translate extremely well in a global market.

Philip Bunting is an author and illustrator, with a soft spot for creating picture books for sleep-deprived, time-poor, raisin-encrusted parents (and their children). Philip’s work deliberately encourages playful interaction between the reader and child, allowing his books to create a platform for genuine intergenerational engagement, and fun. He believes that the more fun the child has during their early reading experiences, the more likely they will be to return to books, improve their emergent literacy skills, and later find joy in reading and learning. Since his first book Mopoke(2017) was nominated for the Kate Greenaway Medal in 2018, Philip’s books have been translated into multiple languages, published in over 30 countries, and received multiple accolades, including Honours from the Children’s Book Council of Australia. In 2021, Wombat(2020) was inaugural winner of the State Library of New South Wales’ Russell Prize for Humour Writing for Young People. Other titles include Give Me Some Space!(2020), Not Cute (2020), and How Did I Get Here? (2018). Philip, who grew up in the UK, now lives with his family in Queensland.

Congratulations to Vikki and Philip, their publishers and those who have worked on their books.


Past Australian recipients

2 thoughts on “IBBY 2022 HONOUR BOOKS

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