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Originally presented as two categories:

  • best children's fiction told primarily through words (long category)
  • best children's fiction told primarily through pictures (short category).

The two categories were merged in 2013.


  • Inaugural year, 2001.

Latest Winners / Recipients

Year: 2022

winner y separately published work icon The Wintrish Girl Melanie La'Brooy , St Lucia : University of Queensland Press , 2022 24687456 2022 single work children's fiction children's young adult fantasy

'On Talisman Day in the Province of Arylia, all children receive powerful objects that change their lives forever. All children except for the Wintrish servant girl Penn, that is.

'Bound to the spoiled Princess Seraphine since birth, Penn has never known her true family. While she longs to return to her own Province of Midwinter and find them, she knows that all her future holds is a lifetime of loneliness.

'But a long-forgotten evil is stirring, and destinies are about to change …

'When the Princess is kidnapped, Penn is forced to run for her life to clear her own name. With the help of some unexpected friends and a dragon with a fear of unicorns, she faces deadly peril and formidable foes. But can one ordinary Wintrish girl save the day?

'Because without a Talisman, there’s no changing your fate – is there?'  (Publication summary)

Year: 2021

winner y separately published work icon Dragon Skin Karen Foxlee , Crows Nest : Allen and Unwin , 2021 22584140 2021 single work children's fiction children's

'From the bestselling and multi-award-winning author of Lenny's Book of Everything comes a magical tale about a girl who saves a dragon and rescues her family.

How to save a dragon:
1) Assemble equipment. Water, Weet-Bix, sugar, syringe, sticky tape, scissors.
2) Believe in everything.

'Pip never wants to go home. She likes to sit at the waterhole at dusk and remember Mika, her best friend. At home her mother's not the same since her boyfriend moved in. They don't laugh anymore and Pip has to go to bed early, turn off her light and pretend she doesn't exist. When she finds a half-dead creature at the waterhole, everything changes. She knows she has to save this small dragon and return it to where it comes from. But how?

'A story about surviving and saving those you love, by the multi-award-winning author of Lenny's Book of Everything.

''I'm in love with this book. Dragon Skin is surprising, beautiful, unique. The characters are wonderfully drawn - tough but vulnerable, hurt but hopeful, damaged but strong. They've lodged themselves in my heart forever.' Katrina Nannestad, award-winning author of We Are Wolves' (Publication summary)

Year: 2020

winner y separately published work icon The Lost Soul Atlas Zana Fraillon , Sydney : Lothian , 2020 18883072 2020 single work children's fiction children's

'One street-boy's quest to reunite and make amends with his best friend told in an epic story that spans a city, a decade, and the divide of life and death itself. From the award-winning author of The Bone Sparrow.

'A boy awakens in the Afterlife, with a pocketful of vague memories, a key, a raven, and a mysterious Atlas to guide him as he sets out to piece together the mystery of his final moments ...

'Meanwhile on Earth, Twig is alone as a newly-made street kid after his dad goes missing. But when he meets Flea, a cheerful pickpocket, the pair become fast friends, better even than blood family itself. Together, Twig and Flea raise themselves on the crime-ridden streets, taking what they need and giving the rest to the even-poorer. Life is good, as long as they have each other. But the all-powerful Boss who rules the streets has other plans.

'Loyalty will be tested, and a cruel twist of fate will lead to an act of ultimate betrayal. But will it tear the friends apart ... forever?' (Publication summary)

Year: 2019

winner y separately published work icon The Dog Runner Bren MacDibble , Crows Nest : Allen and Unwin , 2019 14967867 2019 single work children's fiction children's

'Ella and her brother Emery are alone in a city that's starving to death. If they are going to survive, they must get away, upcountry, to find Emery's mum. But how can two kids travel such big distances across a dry, barren and dangerous landscape? Well, when you've got a few big doggos, the answer is you go mushing. When Emery is injured, Ella finds herself suddenly responsible for safely navigating the wheeled dog-sled through rough terrain, and even rougher encounters with desperate people.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

Year: 2018

winner y separately published work icon The Endsister Penni Russon , Crows Nest : Allen and Unwin , 2018 12247047 2018 single work children's fiction children's fantasy horror

'Unforgettable characters, chaotic family life and an intriguing ghost story combine in this funny, absorbing tale of a family who inherit a mansion on the other side of the world.

'I know what an endsister is,' says Sibbi again.
We are endsisters, Else thinks, Sibbi and I. 
Bookends, oldest and youngest, with the three boys sandwiched in between.

'Meet the Outhwaite children. There's teenage Else, the violinist who abandons her violin. There's nature-loving Clancy. There's the inseparable twins, Oscar-and-Finn, Finn-and-Oscar. And then there is Sibbi, the baby of the family. They all live contentedly squabbling in a cottage surrounded by trees and possums...until a letter arrives to say they have inherited the old family home in London.

'Outhwaite House is full of old shadows and new possibilities. The boys quickly find their feet in London, and Else is hoping to reinvent herself. But Sibbi is misbehaving, growing thinner and paler by the day, and she won't stop talking about the mysterious endsister. Meanwhile Almost Annie and Hardly Alice, the resident ghosts, are tied to the house for reasons they have long forgotten, watching the world around them change, but never leaving.

'The one thing they all agree on - the living and the dead - is never, ever to open the attic door...'

Source: Publisher's blurb.