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Picture Book of the Year was first offered as an award in 1955, the first time that the Children's Book Council of Australia offered more than a single award.

The award was not given in 1957, 1959-1963 inclusive, 1966-1968 inclusive, 1972-1973 inclusive, 1977, or 1981 (although there were commended books in some of these years).


  • 1955 -

Latest Winners / Recipients

Year: 2022

winner y separately published work icon Iceberg Claire Saxby , Jess Racklyeft (illustrator), Crows Nest : Allen and Unwin , 2021 20849014 2021 single work picture book children's

'An iceberg is born into spring and travels through the seasons before dying in a new spring. A stunning, lyrical story for our times, from renowned picture book creators Claire Saxby and Jess Racklyeft.

'In the final freeze of an Antarctic winter, green tails wave across a star-full sky, as if to farewell endless nights. If this world looks empty, look closer ... Penguins trek across the ice to their winter homes. As the temperature warms, birds fly above on their long migrations. And with the advent of summer, beneath an iceberg, the sea is teeming with life.

'Ocean, sky, snow and ice - minute greens and giant blues - dance a delicate dance in this evocative portrayal of the life cycle of an iceberg.' (Publication summary)

winner (Shadowers' Choice Award) y separately published work icon Stellarphant James Foley , James Foley (illustrator), Fremantle : Fremantle Press , 2021 21261190 2021 single work picture book children's

'Heroes come in all shapes, sizes and species. Stella wants to be an astronaut. There is only one problem: Stella is an elephant. Every time she applies to Space Command, they come up with a new reason she can’t join. But where there’s a will, there’s a way and Stella is determined to reach for the stars. Does she have the right stuff?'

Source : publisher's blurb

Year: 2021

winner y separately published work icon How to Make a Bird Megan McKinlay , Matt Ottley (illustrator), Newtown : Walker Books Australia , 2020 19897910 2020 single work picture book

'Extraordinary imagery and rich language spark the reader's imagination as they enter the creative world of a young girl.

'From award-winning author Meg McKinlay and celebrated artist Matt Ottley comes a moving and visually stunning picture book that celebrates the transformative power of the creative process from inception through recognition to celebration and releasing into the world. We shadow the protagonist as she contemplates the blue print of an idea, collects the things that inspire from the natural world to shape a bird. And breathes life into it before letting it fly free. It shows how small things, combined with a little imagination and a steady heart, can transform into works of magic.'

(Source: publisher's blurb)

Year: 2020

winner y separately published work icon I Need a Parrot Christopher McKimmie , Christopher McKimmie (illustrator), Ormond : Ford Street , 2019 17360547 2019 single work picture book children's

'But what does a parrot need?

'A book about wanting and needing: what a child wants and what a wild bird needs.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

Year: 2019

winner y separately published work icon Cicada Shaun Tan , Shaun Tan (illustrator), Melbourne : Lothian , 2018 13514146 2018 single work picture book children's fantasy

'Cicada work in tall building.

'Data entry clerk. Seventeen year.

'No sick day. No mistake.

'Tok Tok Tok!

'Cicada works in an office, dutifully toiling day after day for unappreciative bosses and being bullied by his coworkers. But one day, Cicada goes to the roof of the building, and something truly extraordinary happens ...'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

Year: 2018

winner y separately published work icon A Walk in the Bush Gwyn Perkins , Gwyn Perkins (illustrator), South Melbourne : Affirm Press , 2017 11024967 2017 single work picture book children's

'Little Iggy doesn’t want to leave the house, but Grandad insists – they always have fun together. What follows is a wonderful journey in the great Australian outdoors with singing birds, wallaby surprises, secret caterpillar messages and oodles of grandad humour. Here is a story about the wonders of nature, the funny side of life and spending time with the ones we love.' (Publication Summary)

Works About this Award

For Kids or Not for Kids - That Is the Question Carolyn Webb , 2011 single work column
— Appears in: The Saturday Age , 20 August 2011; (p. 7)
Colourful Threads of a Friendship Deborah Bogle , 2009 single work column
— Appears in: The Advertiser , 22 August 2009; (p. 30-31)