Entries across the six categories covered topics relevant to our complex world and the lived experience of our young readers—including life within a migrant family and juggling relationships with a real desire for self-discovery.
In 2022 the CBCA acknowledged powerful new voices, literary forms and artists presenting challenging themes around undocumented persons, life choices, the joy of living free and wild, celebrating untold stories of our First Nations, and the relationships we have with our vast natural environment. The incredible array of talent this year ensures our quality award-winning books will create discussion and debate as much as it will be cause for celebration.
Wendy Rapee, Chair of the CBCA, says,
The entries this year are evidence that the dedicated writers and illustrators who attend to their craft and the publishers who make the investment to commit to and care about making quality books, are showing the deep respect our young readers deserve.
These Australian book creators are responding to the thirst for colourful powerful stories that reflect our evolving, eclectic, and beautifully diverse culture with their sincere, deep, and reflective quality voices and illustration prowess. The 2022 CBCA Book of the Year Awards are truly a window to Australia contemporary culture.
And the CBCA winners are…
For the last couple of months, right around Australia, young reading groups have been engaging deeply with the 2022 CBCA Book of the Year Shortlist, reading, discussing and critiquing using the same criteria as the CBCA Book of the Year Judges use. On Friday, 26 August the CBCA acknowledged their choices for a winner in five categories.
The CBCA Book of the Year: Older Readers
“Tiger Daughter” by Rebecca Lim.
Written with the palpable anger of being kept silenced in a cage of patriarchal injustice, this is 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 shines throughout this exploration of grief, cultural clash, patriarchy, racism and friendship. Youth wins out over adult indoctrination, disappointment and pessimism.
The CBCA Book of the Year: Younger Readers
“A Glasshouse of Stars” by Shirley Marr.
Using the rarely seen second person point of view, Marr addresses both the reader and the protagonist in a tale of identity, belonging, social exclusion, cultural diversity and adaptation. The subtle magic of both the house and the glasshouse serves as an extension of the protagonist’s emotions and provide her with hope. The story asks the reader to look beyond tragic and difficult events to a resilience that enables one to dream and addresses cultural biases, customs and expectations.
The CBCA Book of the Year: Early Childhood
“Jetty Jumping”, written by Andrea Rowe and illustrated by Hannah Sommerville.
A beautifully written and highly relatable book about overcoming fears. The joy of the jumping girls contrasts with Milla’s trepidation as she sits apart, afraid to participate in their fun yet wanting to join them. A lovely twist of plot adds momentum and motivation to the main character’s actions, who overcomes her fears to finally enter the water.
The CBCA Picture Book of the Year
“Iceberg” written by Claire Saxby and illustrated by Jess Racklyeft.
The writing is sophisticated, filled with perfectly balanced sentences, and verbs used precisely to describe the vivid life of this icy place. The choice of artistic medium offers a perfect complement to the text; the illustrations are subtle at times and commanding at others. A sense of wonder is created through transparent layers of water allowing readers to spot life above and the mysteries below the surface.
The Eve Pownall Award
“Still Alive, Notes from Australia’s Immigration Detention system” by Safdar Ahmed
A confronting, raw and graphic account of the history and treatment of asylum seekers and refugees under successive Australian governments. Challenging, detailed and well-researched, powerfully produced from a personal perspective — journeys from their homelands and lived experiences are interspersed with history, news events, government policy and international human rights reports and reactions. Metaphors (written and drawn) such as monsters, knots and chess pieces are effective in representing the detainees’ stresses and traumas. There is mature content such as self-harm, executions, sexual intimacy and assault, both in written and drawn examples.
The CBCA Award for New Illustrator
Michelle Pereira for her complimentary visual storytelling in “The Boy Who Tried to Shrink His Name”.
Book week 2022
Keep the celebrations rolling into the week, as 2022 CBCA Book Week “Dreaming with eyes open…” launches across the vast wide country that is Australia.
From east to west and north to south young people everywhere are encouraged to pick up a book, read something new, get lost in something familiar, listen, touch, see and feel a story, of something seen, or not seen, and to “Dream with your eyes open…”.
For the full list of CBCA Book of the Year 2022 Award and Honour books:
For details of the CBCA Awards Foundation and to make a donation: