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CBCA Shortlist 2020

Book of the Year: Older Readers

Entries in this category may be fiction, drama or poetry and should be appropriate in style and content for readers in their secondary years of schooling. Ages 13-18 years (NB: These books are for mature readers). 

The boy who steals houses

The boy who steals houses
Drews, C. G.

Can two broken boys find their perfect home? By turns heartbreaking and heartwarming, this is a gorgeously told, powerful story.Sam is only fifteen but he and his autistic older brother, Avery, have been abandoned by every relative he's ever known. Now Sam's trying to build a new life for them.


How it feels to float

How it feels to float
Fox, Helena

Biz knows how to float. She has her people, her posse, her mom and the twins. She has Grace. And she has her dad, who tells her about the little kid she was, who loves her so hard, and who shouldn't be here but is. So Biz doesn't tell anyone anything.


Ghost bird

Ghost bird
Fuller, Lisa

An intriguing and gripping Young Adult novel by the winner of the David Unaipon award. 'Remember daughter, the world is a lot bigger than anyone knows. There are things that science may never explain. Maybe some things that shouldn't be explained. 


When the ground is hard

When the ground is hard
Nunn, Malla

At Swaziland's Keziah Christian Academy, where the wealth and colour of one's father determines one's station, once-popular Adele bonds with poor Lottie over a book and a series of disasters.


Four dead queens

Four dead queens
Scholte, Astrid

Keralie is the best pickpocket in all of the kingdoms of Quadara, but when she steals a "comm disk" and realizes a royal murder plot is afoot, she must learn who to trust and fast.


This is how we change the ending

This is how we change the ending
Wakefield, Vikki

Sixteen-year-old Nate McKee is doing his best to be invisible. He's worried about a lot of things - how his dad treats Nance and his twin half-brothers; the hydro crop in his bedroom; his reckless friend, Merrick. Nate hangs out at the local youth centre and fills his notebooks with thing...


Book of the Year: Younger Readers

Entries in this category may be fiction, drama or poetry and should be appropriate in style and content for readers from the middle to upper primary years. Ages 7-12 years.

The little wave

The little wave
Harry, Pip

A moving and heartwarming verse novel from CBCA shortlisted author Pip Harry about friendship, new experiences and staying true to yourself. When a Manly school sets out to bring a country class to the city for a beach visit, three very different kids find each other and themselves. 


The thing about Oliver

The thing about Oliver
Kelly, Deborah

Sometimes I feel just like the glass in my fish tank - people look right through me. Twelve-year-old Tilly dreams of becoming a marine scientist, but she doesn't even own a swimsuit. She lives in a drought-stricken town with her mum and younger brother Oliver, who is autistic. 


The dog runner

The dog runner
MacDibble, Bren

'We're gonna starve if we stay here,' Emery said. 'If we're gonna go, best go now.' And he said it like going was something easy. Like all we have to do is walk away. Ella and her brother Emery are alone in a city that's starving to death.


Catch a falling star

Catch a falling star
McKinlay, Megan

It's 1979 and the sky is falling. Skylab, that is. Somewhere high above Frankie Avery, one of the world's first space stations is tumbling to Earth. And rushing back with it are old memories. Things twelve-year-old Frankie thought she'd forgotten.


The Glimme

The Glimme
Rodda, Emily, 1948-*

Lone Annie sees dragons in your future. She sees giants. She sees fire and water. She sees death. Finn's life in the village of Wichant is hard. Only his drawings of the wild coastline, with its dragon-shaped clouds and headlands that look like giants, make him happy. 


The secrets of Magnolia Moon

The secrets of Magnolia Moon
Wyatt, Edwina

MagnoliaMoon is nine years old, likes Greek mythology, her best friend Imogen May (who understands the importance of questions like, "If you could be one fruit, any fruit, what would you be?"), wishing trees, and speaking crows.


Book of the Year: Early Childhood

Entries in this category may be fiction, drama or poetry and should be appropriate in style and content for children who are at pre-reading or early stages of reading. Ages 0-6 years.

We're stuck!

We're stuck!
deGennaro, Sue

Turtle needs to get to the shop. It is important that he isn't late. When he races into the lift of Building 24 with all the busy people, there is a nod and a blink and a step to the side. A grunt and a sigh and a lean to the right. But what happens when the lift stops moving? 


One runaway rabbit

One runaway rabbit
Metzenthen, David, 1958-

A stylish and satisfying picture book about a curious pet rabbit who accidentally escapes the safety of her backyard, and then must survive in the wilds of suburbia at night. One pet rabbitOne dark night. One hungry fox. A wonderfully entertaining picture book about a clever pet rabbit.


Bat vs poss

Bat vs poss
Moses, Alexa

Meek the possum and her sisters three are happy living in the sprawling paperbark tree -- until the day Squabbles the bat moves in... A story about sharing and making friends.


When Billy was a dog

When Billy was a dog
Murray, Kirsty

If you can't have a puppy, maybe the next best thing is to be a puppy.'Can I please, please, please have adog?' asked Billy. 'Would you walk it every day and wash it if it got dirty?' 'I would, I promise!' said BillyBilly wants adog. He really really really wants one.


My friend Fred

My friend Fred
Watts, Frances

My friend Fred eats dog food for breakfast. I think dog food is disgusting. My friend Fred howls at the moon. I don't know why. He does a lot of funny things. But even though we are different, Fred is my best friend.


Goodbye house, hello house 

Goodbye househello house
Wild, Margaret, 1948-

This is the last time I'll fish in this river. This is the last time I'll run through these trees. This is the last time I'll dream by this fire ... Goodbye, old houseGoodbye. A heartwarming story of letting go and starting anew, of moving from the country to the city. 


Picture Book of the Year

Entries in this category should be outstanding books of the Picture Book genre in which the author and illustrator achieve artistic and literary unity or, in wordless picture books, where the story, theme or concept is unified through illustrations. Ages 0-18 years (NB. Some of these books may be for mature readers).

Hello Lighthouse

Hello Lighthouse
Blackall, Sophie

On the highest rock of a tiny island at the edge of the world stands a lighthouse. From dusk to dawn, the lighthouse beams, sending its light out to sea, guiding the ships on their way.



Magerl, Caroline

Nop is a scruffy kind of bear. He sits on a dusty armchair in Oddmint's Dumporeum surrounded by the beaders, knitters, patchers and stitchers who are much too busy to talk to him. 


I need a parrot

I need a parrot
McKimmie, Christopher

A book about wanting and needing what a child wants and what a wild bird needs.



King, Stephen Michael

One, two, three . . . One, two, three . . . Every day was a hop and a skip for Three. He was happy to walk from here to there, wherever his nose led, or wherever his legs took him . . . all the way to new friends.


The good son : a story from the First World War, told in miniature

The good son : a story from the First World Wartold in miniature
Ober, Pierre-Jacques

"It is Christmastime, 1914, and World War I rages. A young French soldier named Pierre had quietly left his regiment to visit his family for two days, and when he returned, he was imprisoned.



Godwin, Jane, 1964-

Tillys found the perfect hiding place to keep her special treasures. No one knows about it, not even her big brothers and sister, who know everything. But one day, something happens that Tilly could never have imagined... 


Eve Pownall Award

Entries in this category should be books which have the prime intention of documenting factual material with consideration given to imaginative presentation, interpretation and variation of style. Ages 0-18 years.

The illustrated encyclopaedia of ugly animals

The illustrated encyclopaedia of ugly animals
Bayly, Sami

Marvel as you enter the fascinating hidden world of ugly animals in this encyclopaediaofthe animal kingdom's most unusual and beauty-challenged species.


Searching for cicadas

Searching for cicadas
Gibbes, LesleyNature storybooks

In the summertime, Grandpa and I go cicada-watching. We put our camping gear into my wagon and walk down to the local reserve. Last year we saw five Green Grocers, three Yellow Mondays and one Floury Baker. Can we find the rare Black Prince this year?  


A hollow is a home

A hollow is a home
Mitchell, Abbie

To you and me, a tree hollowis just a hole, cavity or tunnel in a tree or branch. But to an animal, that hollow may be a bedroom, hiding place, nursery or shelter. It is the ultimate tree house! 


Wilam : a birrarung story

Wilam : a birrarung story
Murphy, Joy Wandin

As ngua rises, Bunjil soars over mountain ash, flying higher and higher as the wind warms. Below, Birrarung begins its long winding path down to palem warreen. Wilam - home. Yarra River keeper Andrew Kelly joins Aunty Joy Murphy and Lisa Kennedy to tell the Indigenous and geographical story...


Young dark emu : a truer history

Young dark emu : a truer history
Pascoe, Bruce, 1947-

Bruce Pascoe has collected a swathe of literary awards for DarkEmu and now he has brought together the research and compelling first person accounts in a book for younger readers. 


Yahoo Creek : an Australian mystery

Yahoo Creek : an Australian mystery
Riddle, Tohby

Luminous images accompanied by newspaper extracts dating back to the early 1800s and words by Ngiyampaa Elder Peter Williams explore the ongoing mystery of yahoo encounters. 'He was surprised to observe a hairy human form, about seven feet in height, walking in the bush.'


CBCA Award for New Illustrator

This Award aims to recognise and encourage new talent in the field of Australian children's book illustration. Ages 0-18 years.

Louie and Snippy save the sea

Louie and Snippy save the sea
Dinnigan, Collette

Louie and his trusty companion, Snippy the dog, dream they are diving into an ocean and swimming amongst all thesea creatures. Soon they discover it's not the world they were dreaming of and their adventure takes a turn... What will Louie be inspired to do?



Parker, Danny

Paperboy is a journey through the salient moments of a young boy's life -- the fears, the trials, the tragedies and the small triumphs -- with each moment contemplated in terms of paper.  



McGeachin, Jess

Lucy had always been good at fixing things, and Dad needed a bit of help. It was just the two of them after all. So when Lucy finds a bird with a broken wing, she's sure she can fix him too. But not everything that's broken can be fixed.


Cooee mittigar : a story on Darug songlines

Cooee mittigar : a story on Darug songlines
Seymour, Jasmine

"Warami mittigar. Hello friend. We welcome you to Darug Country." CooeeMittigar, meaning Come Here Friend, is an invitation to yana (walk), on Darug Country. In this stunning picture book, Darug creators Jasmine Seymour and Leanne Mulgo Watson tell story on Darug Songlin...


Baby business

Baby business
Seymour, Jasmine

BabyBusiness tells the story of the baby smoking ceremony that welcomes baby to country. The smoke is a blessing - it will protect the baby and remind them that they belong. This beautiful ritual is recounted in a way young children will completely relate to.


Little Bird's day

Little Bird's day
Morgan, Sally
A simple, universal story of a day in the life of Little Bird as she sings the world alive, flies with Cloud, travels with Wind, nestles with Moon and dreams of flying among the stars.