A number of Australian and international children’s book awards have been announced over the past month, and it’s interesting to see how many of the winning titles have been published by Australian small presses.
The highly regarded Speech Pathology Australia Book of the Year Awards—which judge books on their ‘appeal to children, interactive quality and ability to assist speech pathologists and parents in communication and literacy development’—is just one example. Four out of the five winning books were published by small presses. Let’s Go Strolling (Katrina Germein, illus by Danny Snell), a rhyming picture book that follows a family day out, was published by Little Book Press, the publishing arm of the nonprofit organisation Raising Literacy Australia. Tricky’s Bad Day by bestselling children’s author Alison Lester, which explores the freedom of outside adventure, was published by Affirm Press, winner of the Small Publisher of the Year Award at this year’s Australian Book Industry Awards. The Oo in Uluru (Judith Barker, illus by Janie Frith), an Australian-themed phoneme story, was published by children’s specialists Little Steps Publishing, and Dreaming Soldiers (Catherine Bauer, illus by Shane McGrath), the story of boyhood friends who grow up to fight alongside each other in WWI, was released by Big Sky Publishing, a small publisher with a strong adult nonfiction and children’s list.
Small presses Berbay Publishing, Ford Street Publishing and MidnightSun Publishing also have titles in this month’s awards round-up; Indigenous specialist Magabala Books has been selected as a candidate for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award; while Australia’s largest independent, Allen & Unwin, has an impressive four authors and illustrators nominated for the Carnegie and Kate Greenaway medals.