AustLit logo
Best Designed Children’s Fiction Book
Subcategory of Australian Publishers Association Awards APA Book Design Awards
The material on this page is available to AustLit subscribers. If you are a subscriber or are from a subscribing organisation, please log in to gain full access. To explore options for subscribing to this unique teaching, research, and publishing resource for Australian culture and storytelling, please contact us or find out more.


2020 winner y separately published work icon Running with the Horses Alison Lester , Alison Lester (illustrator), Melbourne : Penguin , 2009 Z1639275 2009 single work picture book children's

'Ten-year-old Nina lives with her father above the palace stables at the Royal Academy of Dancing Horses. She loves watching the famous white stallions as they parade for the crowds, but her favourite horse is an ordinary mare called Zelda - an old cab horse Nina often pats on her way home from school.

'When Nina's world changes dramatically, she and her father have to flee from the city. Their journey over the mountains with Zelda and the stallions seems impossible, with danger at every turn...' (From the publisher's website.)

designed by Tony Palmer
2019 winner y separately published work icon His Name Was Walter Emily Rodda , Sydney South : HarperCollins Australia , 2018 13534394 2018 single work children's fiction children's

'While on a history excursion, an ill-assorted group of four kids and their teacher are left on a country road when their minibus breaks down. At the suggestion of a friendly tow-truck driver, the five take shelter in a nearby old, deserted mansion. There they find a little old desk with a secret drawer. Inside the drawer is a book containing a handwritten story and a series of vivid, strangely lifelike paintings. The book is called His Name Was Walter.

'The story begins: 'Once upon a time, in a dark city far away, there lived a boy called Walter, who had nothing but his name to call his own.' And so begins the tale of Walter - his lonely childhood, his flight from the haunted streets of the city, his discovery of Magda the witch, his quest to find Magda's lost daughter, and his meeting with the love of his life, the mysterious, tragic girl he calls Sparrow.

'As the night closes in around them and the story of Walter and Sparrow unfolds, the kids read it avidly.. Slowly the outer and inner stories begin to mesh. Slowly the story of Walter draws the five members of the group together. And in the end every one of the five plays a vital role in the uncovering of the truth.'

Source: Publilsher's blurb.

2018 winner y separately published work icon Tales from a Tall Forest Shaun Micallef , Jonathan Bentley (illustrator), Richmond : Hardie Grant Egmont , 2017 11545420 2017 single work children's fiction children's

'When an innocent princess wanders into the forest, she finds herself trapped between a wolf with a ravenous appetite and a sweet little house with a secret. Meanwhile, a desperate fisherman enters into a very bad bargain with a power-hungry monkey. And meanerwhile still, a tiny tricksy tailor promises a promise that not even the most magic of beanstalks can help him escape.

'In this rich and rambunctious tapestry of tales, satirist Shaun Micallef unravels the traditional fairy story and nimbly weaves your favourite characters into new and surprising adventures. Illustrated by award-winning artist Jonathan Bentley, this subversively silly trilogy will captivate parents and children alike – and indignant fairytale authors too. ' (Synopsis)

2017 winner y separately published work icon Magrit Lee Battersby , Newtown : Walker Books Australia , 2016 8551504 2016 single work single work children's fiction children's fantasy

'Magrit lives in an abandoned cemetery with her friend and advisor, Master Puppet, whom she built from bones and bits of graveyard junk. She is as forgotten as the tiny graveyard world that surrounds her. One night as Magrit and Master Puppet sit atop of their crumbling chapel, a passing stork drops a baby into the graveyard. Defying Master Puppet's demands that the baby be disposed of, and taking no heed of his dire warnings, Magrit decides to raise the baby herself. She gives him a name: Bugrat. Magrit loves Bugrat like a brother, friend and son all rolled into one. But Master Puppet and the newly discovered skeleton girl know all too well what will happen when Bugrat grows up - that the truth about them all will be revealed. Something Magrit refuses to face.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

designed by Amy Daoud.
2016 winner y separately published work icon Ickypedia The Listies Ickypedia; Ickypedia : A Dictionary of Disgusting New Words Richard Higgins , Matt Kelly , Melbourne : Penguin , 2015 7581764 2015 single work children's fiction children's

'From Alphaburp to Zinklegriting the Ickypedia has some of the most ridiculous, stupid and grosstastic words you've never heard.'

Source: Back cover.

designed by Puffin Books.
2015 winner y separately published work icon Caro Was Here Elizabeth Farrelly , Newtown : Walker Books Australia , 2014 7204916 2014 single work children's fiction children's

'One match, one chance, she thinks. Make it count. Skipping school to lead a group of friends - and enemies - on an adult-free excursion to an island in Sydney Harbour is Caro's idea of a twelfth birthday outing. Marooned overnight? She can handle that too. But the challenges multiply. They're not alone on the island, and Caro must save her friends from life-threatening danger.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

designed by Gayna Murphy.
2014 winner y separately published work icon WeirDo Weir Do Anh Do , Lindfield : Scholastic Australia , 2013 6105044 2013 single work children's fiction children's humour

" 'My parents could have given me any first name at all, like John, Kevin, Shmevin . . . ANYTHING. Instead I'm stuck with the worst name since Mrs Face called her son Bum.'

Meet Weir Do. No, that's not a typo, that's his name! Weir Do is the new kid in school. With an unforgettable name, a crazy family and some seriously weird habits, fitting in won't be easy . . . but it will be funny!" (Publisher's blurb)

2013 winner y separately published work icon The Children of the King Sonya Hartnett , Camberwell : Penguin , 2012 Z1836171 2012 single work children's fiction children's 'Three children have been sent to live in the countryside, safe from the war in London. When they find two boys hiding in a castle, the past and future come together to make an extraordinary adventure.

A hauntingly beautiful story from one of Australia's most acclaimed writers for adults and children.' (Publisher's blurb)
designed by Marina Messiha.
2012 winner y separately published work icon Alaska Sue Saliba , Camberwell : Penguin , 2011 Z1788154 2011 single work novel young adult 'When Mia follows her sister halfway across the world to Alaska, she discovers that love can be found in the most unexpected and beautiful of places. But can Mia find the courage to follow her heart in Alaska? And what if the one you love is not all that you wish them to be?' (Trove record) designed by Allison Colpoys
1998 winner y separately published work icon The Pied Piper of Hamelin Robert Holden , Drahoš Zak (illustrator), Pymble : HarperCollins Australia , 1997 Z930318 1997 single work picture book children's fable
1981 winner y separately published work icon I'm Taggarty Toad Taggarty Toad Peter Pavey , Peter Pavey (illustrator), London : Hamish Hamilton , 1980 Z667667 1980 single work picture book children's Here is the tale of the fearless adventurer, Taggarty Toad and his daring exploits with giants and jungles and dragons and witches.