Inside the 2022 CBCA Shortlist

Inside the CBCA Shortlist

The Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA) Shortlisted Books for 2022 has been announced.

Follow the links to those I have already reviewed or interviewed the author or illustrator on the blog. I will add to this list until the winners are announced in August.

Congratulations to those creators who have been shortlisted. Sincere commiserations to those who have created great books but have missed out on these awards.

Older Readers

Tiger Daughter by Rebecca Lim (Allen & Unwin) Review in the Weekend Australian (reproduced below)

Girls in Boys’ Cars by Felicity Castagna (Pan Macmillan Australia) Author interview

Sugar Town Queens by Malla Nunn (Allen & Unwin)

How to Repaint a Life by Steven Herrick (University of Queensland Press)

The Boy from the Mish by Gary Lonesborough (A&U)

Terciel and Elinor by Garth Nix (A&U)

Younger Readers

Dragon Skin by Karen Foxlee (Allen & Unwin) Author interview PaperbarkWords blog & Magpies magazine

Exit Through the Gift Shop by Maryam Master, illustrated Astred Hicks (Pan Macmillan Australia) Author interview

The Detective’s Guide to Ocean Travel by Nicki Greenberg (Affirm Press) Author interview.

Huda and Me by H. Hayek (A&U)

A Glasshouse of Stars by Shirley Marr (Penguin Random House Australia)

Rabbit, Soldier, Angel, Thief by Katrina Nannestad (HarperCollins Publishers)

Early Childhood

Walk of the Whales by Nick Bland (Hardie Grant Children’s Publishing) My book review.

Jetty Jumping by Andrea Rowe, ill. Hannah Sommerville (Hardie Grant Children’s Publishing) Author & illustrator article on the way.

Winston and the Indoor Cat by Leila Rudge (Walker Books Australia) Author/illustrator article on the way.

What Do You Call Your Grandma? by Ashleigh Barton, ill. Martina Heiduczek (HarperCollins Publishers) Author interview coming in Magpies magazine

When the Waterhole Dries Up by Kaye Baillie, ill. Max Hamilton (Windy Hollow Books) Author & illustrator interview

Amira’s Suitcase by Vikki Conley, ill. Nicky Johnston (New Frontier Publishing)

Picture Books

The Boy and the Elephant by Freya Blackwood (HarperCollins Australia) Book review

Stellarphant by James Foley (Fremantle Press) Author illustrator interview

Blue Flower ill. Gabriel Evans, text. Sonya Hartnett (Penguin Random House Australia)

Iceberg ill. Jess Racklyeft, text. Claire Saxby (Allen & Unwin) Author and illustrator interview.

Just One Bee ill. Christopher Nielsen, text. Margrete Lamond & Anthony Bertini (Dirt Lane Press)

The Inheritance by Armin Greder (Allen & Unwin)

Eve Pownall Award for Information Books

The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Peculiar Pairs in Nature by Sami Bayly (Hachette Australia) Author/illustrator interview

The First Scientists: Deadly Inventions and Innovations from Australia’s First Peoples by Blak Douglas & Corey Tutt (Hardie Grant Publishing) My book review first published in Magpies magazine, reproduced with permission

Book of Curious Birds by Jennifer Cossins (Hachette Australia) Author/illustrator interview extract from my interview with Jennifer Cossins in Magpies magazine; and how to use with children.

Heroes, Rebels and Innovators by Karen Wyld, ill. Jaelyn Biumaiwai (Hachette Australia) My book review and how to use with children.

Walking in Gagudju Country: Exploring the Monsoon Forest by Diane Lucas & Ben Tyler, ill. Emma Long (Allen & Unwin) Illustrator interview.

Still Alive, Notes from Australia’s Immigration Detention System by Safdar Ahmed (Twelve Panels Press)

The winners will be announced in Book Week on Friday, 19th August.

Shortlist at the CBCA website 

2022 Notables at PaperbarkWords

2022 Notables at the CBCA website

Thank you to the publishers who have kindly sent me review copies and to the authors and illustrators who have responded so generously by answering interview questions and writing about their books.

Tiger Daughter (originally part of a three-book review in the Weekend Australian)


When young teen Wen Zhou is stalked by two men at night, in Tiger Daughter by author and lawyer Rebecca Lim, she is caught between fear and rage. She is the daughter of Chinese immigrants and has been given a boy’s name because “it’s bad to have daughters”. Her controlling, violent father tells her she is not good enough.

She helps her friend, smart, neglected Henry Xiao, with his English and he reciprocates in maths. Their teacher has encouraged them to apply for scholarships at a selective school. When Henry’s depressed mother commits suicide, Wen forces her own submissive mother to deliver food to Henry and his father.

Much of the story then becomes Wen’s observations of her mother, who speaks four languages but “scurries” and is diminished by her husband’s unreasonable expectations. She tells Wen: “We are all sad … Some of us just hide it better.” Wen could become like her mother but, instead, they find joy in their shared subterfuge, speak out and take control of their lives.

Tiger Daughter is told with authenticity and gives insight into the lives of some Asian-Australian families to elicit understanding, empathy and solidarity. It is full of rage and could be bleak, but symbols of comets, wings and flight show that escape and infinite possibilities, particularly through education, can lie ahead. Wen and Henry are urged to never give up and that their “difference is important”.

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