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Children's Book Council of Australia - Book of the Year Awards

The CBCA Shortlist for 2023 has been announced. Click on the image above to view the books shortlisted for Older Readers, Younger Reader and the other categories. 


Book of the Year - Picture Book


Girls in Boys' Cars

From the CBCA Judges:

This is a sophisticated story written in the first person. It delves into cultural and sexual expectations, how these change people’s perception of you, and how wearing all these burdens can push you to break. The characters' search for escape and visibility demonstrates the consequences of the experienced injustices and degradation. The metafictional structure is not lineal, reflecting the haphazard way we remember events, an effective and unusual method of revealing the characters' circumstances. The emotional journey each of the main characters experience feels authentic and the development of their characters is strong. The author has accurately captured the female anger towards a society which is still failing them.

The Boy From the Mish

From the CBCA Judges:

A tender, contemporary First Nation's coming of age book that speaks of the slow realisation of identity and one's place in the world. An important book in this category. Love fills its pages — family love, friendship love and romantic love, as well as love of culture. Set in an Indigenous mission, the story gives a realistic and positive insight into happy Indigenous family life. The language includes poetic descriptions of bush and countryside, and sensitive descriptions of emotions. The clash of Indigenous culture with modern Australia and the loss of culture and its impact is explored in depth.

Shadow Judging

Book of the Year - Older Readers


Eve Pownall Award for Information Books


Tiger Daughter

From the CBCA Judges:

Written with the palpable anger of being kept silenced in a cage of patriarchal injustice. A beautifully written story of the challenges and injustices of culturally based domestic violence and the injustices and effects of migrant discrimination. The strength of love, and the importance of connection to community are clear themes throughout. The book also explores grief, cultural clash, patriarchy, racism and friendship. Youth wins out over adult indoctrination, disappointment and pessimism.

Sugar Town Queens

From the CBCA Judges:


An engaging, well-written socio-economic/family drama, exploring racism, poverty and wealth in Durban, South Africa. Well-developed and authentic with tangible differences between the city and the township. The entire cast of characters felt nuanced, with their own stories happening, and were fleshed out and full of life, each with unique reactions to the drama and for the most part managed to avoid being stereotypes. The setting was rich and well described. Despite being a setting far removed from a typical Australian teen's experience, there were enough elements in the story to relate to, while simultaneously giving insight into another way of life. The story unfolds gently and is well-paced, maintaining tension. Each twist/dramatic event happening in a realistic manner, sparking emotion, drama, and humour, creating an entirely enjoyable read. An up-lifting story of 'Ubuntu', the Zulu idea of compassion and humanity.

Book of the Year - Younger Readers


How to Repaint a Life

From the CBCA Judges:

A gentle exploration of difficult things, some universal, some specific to coming of age. Homelessness, domestic violence, misogyny and privilege are all unpacked in a way that is genuine, real and tense without ever being too overwhelming. A dramatic opening moves the story quickly along engaging readers in the outcome and the main characters lives. This is a beautiful story of contrasts; contrasting hopelessness with optimism, homelessness with family security and privilege, moral courage with revenge, old fashioned homeliness with modern chic and overall builds a picture of kindness and resourcefulness. The stunning prose captures a vivid picture of life in this small town without ever feeling overwritten. The characters are authentically written. It's compelling, honest, and heartfelt.

Terciel and Elinor

From the CBCA Judges:

A great story in the fantasy genre. Written with lovely language, the story builds and the tension is created as the background to the two main characters is filled in. The world they live in is realistically created with vividly imagined details. The story manages to avoid stereotypes which are common in this genre.