Posts tagged NZ Post Children’s Book Awards

An Interview with NZ Post Children’s Book Awards Finalist Melinda Szymanik

wintersdayThe NZ Post Children’s Book Awards finalists were announced this week, and I was thrilled to see Melinda Szymanik’s wonderful book A Winter’s Day in 1939 was on the list.

“Adam is 13 years old and lives with his family on a small farm in rural Poland. It is 1939 and the war has just broken out. Russians invade Poland and confiscate Adam’s family’s house and farm. They are sent to live with another family nearby, but are then moved on and put on a train for a Russian labour camp as refugees, prisoners of Russia.”

If you haven’t read this book, you should rush to your library or bookstore now! You’ll be gripped by Adam’s story, which is based on what actually happened to Melinda’s own father. So while you’re getting engrossed in what happens to Adam, you’ll be amazed to know that it’s all based on truth and the things described in the story really did occur!

I asked Melinda a few questions about her writing, and this is what she told me:

TANIA: Congratulations on being a finalist in this year’s NZ Post Book Awards! A Winter’s Day in 1939 was also named as a Storylines Notable Book this year. How are you feeling, and did you have any idea your book would be so widely acclaimed?

MELINDA: I am feeling beyond thrilled. And I am so happy that I have had this opportunity to introduce readers to a little known side of World War 2. You always hope people will like what you have written but this kind of response is like a dream come true.

TANIA: How did you research the book and how long did it take?

MELINDA: My father made about 20 pages worth of notes which I referred to continuously – these provided the main underlying structure of the story. Details were added by referring to books, information gathered off the internet or from my parents. I was keen to focus on a single experience and I think this makes ‘Adam’s’ story a more personal one for the reader to connect with. Research was an ongoing process throughout the writing and the book took me roughly 18 months to two years to write.

TANIA: A Winter’s Day in 1939 is based on your father’s real experiences during the war. How do your family feel about the book? Are they pleased his story is being told?

MELINDA: My family are very happy with how the book turned out. My mother was always telling me to write my father’s story. In the end I saw it as an opportunity to honour his experience and his bravery and they feel the same.

TANIA: Have you visited any of the places mentioned in the book?

MELINDA: No, but I would like to.

TANIA: What new books have you got coming out, and what are you working on now?

Melinda Szymanik

Melinda Szymanik

MELINDA: I have a new picture book coming out in July (The Song of Kauri, Scholastic) which is a little like a Maori myth and is about a Kauri tree. The illustrations by Dominique Ford are stunning. There is also a Maori version of this book. And I am currently working on several new stories at the moment – another historical story based on the Polish orphans who came to New Zealand in 1944 (it’s the 70 year anniversary of their arrival this year) for an intermediate aged audience, and a young adult fantasy story.

Thanks a lot, Melinda, for answering my questions, and good luck with the awards.

If you want to know more about Melinda and her wonderful books, check out her blog site by clicking here.

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The 2013 New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards Finalists

The finalists in the 2013 New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards were announced this morning.  There is a great selection of books this year, by some of our best authors and illustrators.  I think that the picture book and junior fiction categories are particularly strong and the judges have got a huge job ahead of them.  I’m aiming to read all of the finalists before the week of the Festival this year so I’ll be sharing my thoughts on each book here.

Have you read any that you really love?

Picture Book

  • A Great Cake, written and illustrated by Tina Matthews
  • Melu, written by Kyle Mewburn and illustrated by Ali Teo and John O’Reilly
  • Mister Whistler, written by Margaret Mahy and illustrated by Gavin Bishop
  • Mr Bear Branches and the Cloud Conundrum, written and illustrated by Terri Rose Baynton
  • Remember that November, written by Jennifer Beck and illustrated by Lindy Fisher

Junior Fiction

  • The ACB with Honora Lee, written by Kate De Goldi and illustrated by Gregory O’Brien
  • The Queen and the Nobody Boy by Barbara Else
  • My Brother’s War by David Hill
  • Red Rocks by Rachael King
  • Uncle Trev and His Whistling Bull by Jack Lasenby

Young Adult Fiction

  • Earth Dragon, Fire Hare by Ken Catran
  • Into the River by Ted Dawe
  • The Nature of Ash by Mandy Hager
  • Reach by Hugh Brown
  • Snakes and Ladders by Mary-anne Scott

Non Fiction

  • 100 Amazing Tales from Aotearoa by Simon Morton and Riria Hotere
  • At the Beach: Explore and discover the New Zealand seashore by Ned Barraud and Gillian Chandler
  • Kiwi: the real story by Annemarie Florian and Heather Hunt
  • Taketakerau, The Millenium Tree by Marnie Anstis, Patricia Howitt and Kelly Spencer

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Who will win the 2012 NZ Post Children’s Book Awards?

The winners of the 2012 NZ Post Children’s Book Awards will be announced next Wednesday night at the awards ceremony in Wellington.  There were lots of great books in the awards this year and I’ve really enjoyed reading them.  Here are my favourites in each category:

Which finalists are your favourites?

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Winners of the 2011 NZ Post Children’s Book Awards

I was lucky enough to be able to go along to the awards ceremony for the 2011 NZ Post Children’s Book Awards last night.  It’s a very sparkly, special night with New Zealand’s best authors and illustrators and I got to meet lots of them.  The winners of each of the categories were announced including the Children’s Choice awards and the Book of the Year award.

The winners are:

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Who will win the NZ Post Children’s Book Awards?

The winners of the New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards are announced on Wednesday night at a special awards ceremony in Auckland.  I’m very lucky because I get to fly up to Auckland to be there when they announce the winners, and I’ll get to meet all the authors and illustrators that are finalists this year.

Here’s who I think should win:

We want to know what are your favourite finalist books.  Who do you think will win?

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NZ Post Children’s Book Awards Finalists 2011 – Diana Menefy

My name is Diana Menefy and I wrote Shadow of the Boyd.  I started writing Shadow of the Boyd ten years ago, and completed it in three separate bursts of writing.  I nearly didn’t finish it, because each time my writing got interrupted it was harder to get back into the story and the time period it was set in 1809. I’m so glad I persisted, because it has turned out to be a neat book and all my hard work has been rewarded with my selection as a finalist in the NZ Post Children’s Book Awards.  Thomas was a special person who started out as a naive boy and grew into a strong character.  I had such fun writing Thomas.  I laughed, and cried, with him.  I think I learnt almost as much as the real Thomas had to when he started his apprenticeship on the Boyd.

Read Rhys’ review of Shadow of the Boyd.

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Finalists offer free ebook to Christchurch kids

coverHi, my name is Clare Gourley and my book Who’s cooking tonight is a finalist in the nonfiction category of the 2011 NZ Post Children’s Book Awards.  I figured lots of you will be the same as me – you love eating food but you’re always busy with friends, school and sport and don’t have much time to spend cooking. You won’t want to settle for average food and you’re looking for some great tasting ideas which use basic food skills. If you’re ‘I don’t do complicated’, I’m sure you’ll love these recipes.

I’m all for having a bit of fun – so I’ve put recipes together in a way that kids our age think … some are total classics – others a bit more ‘out there’. I have also created a lot of YouTube videos for any tricky bits – so you can work things out for yourself and not have to ask anyone! All the links are on my website, and you can download a free sample of Who’s Cooking Tonight as well –  www.itsmyturntocooktonight.com.

Free ebook offer

Until 12 May we would like to make the ebook of It’s my Turn to Cook Tonight available free to the students in Christchurch.  Go to itsmyturntocooktonight.com and enter the password forchristchurch. So download the ebook and get cooking some delicious meals for your family.

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