AustLit logo
Young People's History Prize
Subcategory of New South Wales Premier's History Prize
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.

Winners

2020 winner y separately published work icon The Good Son : A Story from the First World War, Told in Miniature Pierre-Jacques Ober , Jules Ober (illustrator), Alex Mankiewicz (illustrator), Felicity Coonan (illustrator), Massachusetts : Candlewick Press , 2019 15966398 2019 single work graphic novel young adult

'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. Now he faces execution for desertion, and as he waits in isolation, he meditates on big questions: the nature of patriotism, the horrors of war, the joys of friendship, the love of family, and how even in times of danger, there is a whole world inside every one of us. And how sometimes that world is the only refuge. Its publication coinciding with the centennial of the signing of the Treaty of Versailles, this moving and sparely narrated story, based on true events, is reenacted in fascinating miniature scenes that convey the emotional complexity of the tale. Notes from the creators explore the innovative process and their personal connection to the story.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

2018 winner y separately published work icon The Fighting Stingrays Simon Mitchell , Melbourne : Penguin Books , 2017 11617727 2017 single work children's fiction war literature historical fiction

'Charlie, Masa and Alf are best mates – loyal and adventurous. They’re the Fighting Stingrays.

'In between school, swimming and fishing on idyllic Thursday Island, they have a ripper time role-playing bombing missions and other war games. But when Japan enters World War II, the Fighting Stingrays are told that one of their own is now the real-life enemy.

'Drawn into a dangerous game of cat and mouse in the Torres Strait, their friendship and loyalties are tested as the threat of invasion looms closer.'  (Synopsis)

2016 winner y separately published work icon One Thousand Hills James Roy , Noel Zihabamwe , Parkside : Omnibus Books , 2016 8852809 2016 single work novel young adult

'Agabande, Rwanda, April 1994. The children in the village are doing childlike things, playing with toys they make themselves, going to school and church on Sunday. Doing their chores. But there are whispers and looks, and messages of hate on the radio, and people are leaving. Pascal is a good boy, trying his best, but the world he knows is about to change forever. ' (Publication summary)

2013 winner y separately published work icon Pennies for Hitler Jackie French , Sydney : Angus and Robertson , 2012 Z1869790 2012 single work children's fiction children's historical fiction

'It′s 1939, and for Georg, son of an English academic living in Germany, life is full of cream cakes and loving parents. It is also a time when his teacher measures the pupils′ heads to see which of them have the most "Aryan"-shaped heads. But when a university graduation ceremony turns into a pro-Nazi demonstration, Georg is smuggled out of Germany to war-torn London and then across enemy seas to Australia where he must forget his past and who he is in order to survive.

'Hatred is contagious, but Georg finds that kindness can be, too. The companion piece to Hitler's Daughter, Pennies for Hitler examines the life of a child during World War 2, from a different perspective.' (From the publisher's website.)

2012 winner y separately published work icon Amazing Grace : An Adventure at Sea Stephanie Owen Reeder , Canberra : National Library of Australia , 2011 Z1819139 2011 single work children's fiction children's

'What would you do if a ship was wrecked just off your favourite beach?

'In December 1876, when the steamship Georgette ran aground near Margaret River in Western Australia, teenager Grace Bussell did not hesitate. Accompanied by stockman Sam Isaacs, Grace rode her horse straight into the boiling surf and saved as many people as she could. Like many of the passengers and crew on board the Georgette, Grace was an ordinary person who showed great bravery in an extraordinary situation.

'Step into the fascinating world of nineteenth-century sea travel and pioneering life, as you experience the exciting tale of the Georgette and the remarkable people involved in her final voyage.' (From the publisher's website.)

2011 winner y separately published work icon India Dark Kirsty Murray , Crows Nest : Allen and Unwin , 2010 Z1711853 2010 single work novel young adult historical fiction 'Madras 1910: a troupe of child performers are stranded, having staged a strike against their manager. Their fate now depends on the outcome of a court case, and an alliance with gentlemen of the British Raj. Based on a true story, India Dark recreates shifting friendships and loyalties and the clash of innocence versus experience against the backdrop of India's seductive mysteries.' (From the publisher's website.)
2010 winner y separately published work icon The Night They Stormed Eureka Jackie French , Pymble : Angus and Robertson , 2009 Z1619280 2009 single work children's fiction children's 'It's 1854, and the Ballarat goldfields are a place of dreams and rebellion as Sam, a homeless teenager, is called back to the past to join the Puddlehams, who run "the best little cook shop on the diggings". The Puddlehams dream of buying a hotel with velvet seats, while others dream of freedom from the British crown, away from the rule of wealthy landowners and corrupt officials. Once again Jackie French takes a fresh look at the history we thought we knew and recreates an event entrenched in our national heritage.' (From the publisher's website.)
2009 winner y separately published work icon Captain Cook's Apprentice Anthony Hill , Camberwell : Penguin , 2008 Z1529282 2008 single work novel young adult historical fiction

'A fictional recreation of one of the greatest voyages of discovery ever made, by award-winning author Anthony Hill.

'The enthralling story of Captain Cook's voyage to Australia, as seen through the eager eyes of a cabin boy.

'When young Isaac Manley sailed on the Endeavour from England in 1768, no one on board knew if a mysterious southern continent existed in the vast Pacific Ocean. It would be a voyage full of uncertainties and terrors.

'During the course of the three-year journey, Isaac’s eyes are opened to all the brutal realities of life at sea – floggings, storms, press-gangs, the deaths of fellow crewmen, and violent clashes on distant shores.

'Yet Isaac also experiences the tropical beauty of Tahiti, where he becomes enchanted with a beautiful Tahitian girl. He sees the wonders of New Zealand, and he is there when the men of Endeavour first glimpse the east coast of Australia, anchor in Botany Bay, and run aground on the Great Barrier Reef.

'Acclaimed and award-winning historical novelist Anthony Hill brings to life this landmark voyage with warmth, insight and vivid detail in this exciting and enlightening tale of adventure and discovery. ' (Publication summary)

2006 winner y separately published work icon The Black Dress : Mary MacKillop's Early Years The Black Dress : Mary MacKillop : A Novel; The Black Dress Pamela Freeman , Fitzroy : Black Dog Books , 2005 Z1223014 2005 single work novel young adult historical fiction

'Can you love someone when you can’t forgive them? Do you keep fighting for something you believe in when everyone is telling you you’re wrong?

'The Black Dress is the incredible story of Mary MacKillop – an unconventional young woman born into a time and a religion bound by convention.

'What Mary did with her life would change the course of Australia’s history.' (Publisher's blurb)

2005 winner y separately published work icon Riding with Thunderbolt : The Diary of Ben Cross Allan Baillie , Lindfield : Scholastic Press Scholastic Press , 2004 Z1130175 2004 single work children's fiction children's historical fiction

'I looked over my shoulder and saw a black stallion heading my way. There was a man riding the stallion and he was familiar somehow. As he got closer I could see a small child on the saddle in front of him...

'When Ben Cross runs away from his brutal uncle, he is looking for adventure. But he finds much more than that when he joins the bushranger Thunderbolt and becomes the cockatoo – or lookout – for the bushranger’s gang.

'In between raiding cattle stations, inns, stores and mail coaches Ben befriends Thunderbolt’s wife Mary Ann, helping in her endless hunt for food and hiding places in the wilderness.

'But at the end of a year of running from the law, of dramatic rescue and desperate shootouts, both Ben and Thunderbolt know they must give up the bushranging life.

'If they can...' (Publieher's blurb)

X