Well, last Wednesday night was a bit like Oscars night for me, only without the gowns and slaps. I was glued to my device watching the New Zealand Book Awards for Children and Young Adults ceremony. But as the night went on, my accuracy tally for picking winners went from zero for one to zero for two to zero for three!
I had picked Bumblebee Grumblebee to win the picture book category, but it did not win. Nor did either of my picks for contender win. Nope. The actual winner is Lion Guards the Cake! This is a fun picture book, but I guess my cake baking prejudices blinded me to it's brilliance.
Next up was the junior fiction category. My pick to win was The Uprising. Once again, it did not win. Nor did my contenders. The award went to The Memory Thief. No disrespect to the author or the judges, but that one was my least favourite! Ah well.
After a couple of categories that I didn't manage to read, came the illustration category. For this category, after much internal debate, I chose . Which did not win. Nor did Moose the Pilot which I thought was equally beautiful and deserving of the award. But of course there's no question that Gavin Bishop's Atua is a stunningly beautiful book, and I'm really not surprised that he took out the prize. In fact, Gavin Bishop won not only this category, but also the Elsie Locke Award for Non-Fiction AND Margaret Mahy Book of the Year! Actually, this is the fifth time Gavin Bishop has won book of the year!
I'm consoling myself that I did get one thing right! The NZSA Best First Book Award went to none other than Spark Hunter by Sonya Wilson! I loved Spark Hunter. I only managed to get through three of the books in this category, though, so I didn't think I could properly pick a winner. But I knew Spark Hunter was a winner of a book, whichever way you look at it!
Even though my final score was nothing short of abysmal, I did enjoy myself. And I have to be honest, I'm not really surprised my favourites didn't win!! The reason I decided to do this in the first place was because, personally, I enjoyed Ursa more than Aspiring, back when Aspiring won the Young Adult prize in 2020.