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History

The Book of the Year Award is the earliest category of Children's Book Council of Australia awards, first presented in 1946.

No award was presented in 1947 or 1949.

Winners

1986 winner y separately published work icon The Green Wind Thurley Fowler , Sydney : Weldon , 1985 Z794653 1985 single work children's fiction children's
1985 winner Older Readers y separately published work icon The True Story of Lilli Stubeck James Aldridge , Melbourne : Hyland House , 1984 Z831040 1984 single work novel young adult 'A wealthy woman takes on the daughter of a poor family to try to tame her, but she doesn't account for Lilli's determination to be herself.'
1984 winner y separately published work icon A Little Fear Patricia Wrightson , Richmond London : Hutchinson Australia , 1983 Z312060 1983 single work children's fiction children's

A strong-minded old woman struggles with an ancient gnome-like creature for the right to live in the small cottage that she has just bought, on land that the Njimbin has occupied for centuries.

1983 winner y separately published work icon Master of the Grove Victor Kelleher , Harmondsworth : Penguin , 1982 Z516985 1982 single work novel young adult fantasy

'When his home is destroyed after an attack, Derin sets out to look for his missing father, captured by soldiers of the Citadel. But he is handicapped by his lameness and forced to use a crutch; his only companion on his quest are an old woman, Marna, and a raven which mysteriously attaches itself to him.'

(Source: back cover)

1982 winner y separately published work icon The Valley Between Colin Thiele , Adelaide : Rigby , 1981 Z269536 1981 single work children's fiction children's adventure humour
1981 winner y separately published work icon Playing Beatie Bow Ruth Park , Melbourne : Nelson , 1980 Z47803 1980 single work novel young adult fantasy (taught in 5 units) When Abigail joins in the game of Beatie Bow she is transported back in time to a Sydney of the late 19th century where she meets the Bow family, whose fate she can predict, but which she is powerless to change.
1980 winner y separately published work icon Displaced Person Lee Harding , Melbourne : Hyland House , 1979 Z162247 1979 single work novel young adult science fiction fantasy As everything around him grows gray and insubstantial, a teenage boy wonders whether the world is going crazy or he is. Then, 'within his twilight world, the narrator encounters two guides: a delinquent girl and an old tramp reminiscent of those in Celtic folktales'. Source: 'Forms of Power in Recent Australian Science Fiction'.
1979 winner y separately published work icon The Plum-Rain Scroll Ruth Manley , Sydney : Hodder and Stoughton , 1978 Z835984 1978 single work novel young adult fantasy

'The Plum-Rain Scroll is a tale of peril and heroic deeds set in Idzumo, the old Japan of legend and living folklore. Marishoten, the evil Black Iris Lord, seeks to overthrow the Mikado and usurp the Chrysanthemum throne. But first he must find the Plum-Rain Scroll, which holds the three secrets to help him achieve his victory. From the humble Tachibana-ya, the Orange Tree Inn, two unlikely companions set forth to seek the Scroll before Marishoten can achieve his evil design: Taro, the Odd Job boy, and Prince Hachi (Lord Eight Thousand Spears). Their quest takes them far into the countryside, where they are joined by seven even more unlikely companions. When this courageous group finally arrive in Miyako, their adventures reach a stunning climax as they come face to face with their enemy..' (Source: UQP)

1978 winner y separately published work icon The Ice Is Coming Patricia Wrightson , Richmond : Hutchinson Australia , 1977 Z862397 1977 single work novel young adult 'Wirrun was a man of the People, the Aborigines of Australia. He was young and educated in the ways of the whites. But when the mountain cried for help, he heard. For the Ninya, the ancient ice-spirits, were seeking to bring a new ice age to the land down under. Together with the Mimi, a rock-spirit from far away, he set out to find the Eldest Nargun, a creature of living rock that had defeated the Ninya in the long-gone past. And with the Power given him by a hero-spirit, he could see and command all the ancient earth-spirits. But the way was long and hard--and the Eldest Nargun was not what he expected.' (Source: Bookseller's website)
1977 winner y separately published work icon The October Child Eleanor Spence , London : Oxford University Press , 1976 Z561519 1976 single work novel young adult

'The arrival of baby Carl marks a turning point in the lives of the Mariners. Loved and wanted though he is, Carl casts a shadow over the household, and his adolescent brother becomes increasingly resentful and bewildered.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

1976 winner y separately published work icon Fly West Ivan Southall , London Sydney : Angus and Robertson , 1974 Z939341 1974 single work autobiography young adult war literature

'An account of a rookie Australian Air Force squadron stationed in England during World War II.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

1974 winner y separately published work icon The Nargun and the Stars Patricia Wrightson , Richmond London : Hutchinson , 1973 Z862349 1973 single work children's fiction children's (taught in 3 units)

Simon Brent is orphaned. Still shocked, he is taken to live with his only relatives, brother and sister Charlie and Edie Waters, who live on a farm. There, Simon meets the Aboriginal spirits who also live on the land. Together Simon, Charlie, Edie, and the spirits save the land from the ancient Nargun. The story is memorable in the portrayal of the Nargun and the spirits, as well as the characters of Charlie and Edie, and the depiction of Simon's change from a shocked and emotionally frozen individual to a normal boy.

1973 winner y separately published work icon Family at the Lookout Noreen Shelley , London : Oxford University Press , 1972 Z830777 1972 single work children's fiction children's mystery The Wetherall family move from their small flat in Melbourne to Gully Heights in the Blue Mountains. Mark and Lindy love their new home; the only drawback in their new life is the housekeeper, who is involved in some strange goings-on. (Libraries Australia record).
1972 winner y separately published work icon Longtime Passing Hesba Brinsmead , Sydney : Angus and Robertson , 1971 Z668192 1971 single work novel young adult

'Longtime is a place in the Blue Mountains where Edwin Truelance built a house, Letty, his wife, planted a garden and their five children had a world of rain-forest and bushland to explore. Then more people came.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

1971 winner y separately published work icon Bread and Honey Ivan Southall , Sydney : Angus and Robertson , 1970 Z170325 1970 single work novel young adult A boy in his early teens finds out about life, and the strength of his own feelings and emotions - as well as those of his enemies - on one very wet adventurous Anzac Day holiday.
1970 winner y separately published work icon Uhu : (pronounced yoo-hoo) Annette Macarthur-Onslow , London Sydney : Rapp & Whiting Ure Smith , 1969 Z863999 1969 single work children's fiction children's Tells the story of a family's efforts to raise a baby owl to maturity.
1969 winner y separately published work icon When Jays Fly to Barbmo Margaret Balderson , London : Oxford University Press , 1968 Z900184 1968 single work novel young adult

The story of Ingeborg, a young Norwegian girl, who lives on a farm on the remote island of Draugoy, in the north. The Germans are beginning their invasion of Norway.

1968 winner y separately published work icon To the Wild Sky Ivan Southall , Sydney : Angus and Robertson , 1967 Z43205 1967 single work children's fiction children's

'No one had talked about fuel; what was the use of talking, anyway? But they all knew that engines which run on fuel have to run out of fuel sometime, and that the Egret just couldn’t keep on going for ever. They seemed to have been sitting in this plane, imprisoned, for days, waiting to die. Gerald just flew on and on as though he wanted to fly away to another world, almost as though he didn’t want to go down, almost as though he didn’t know how to go down.

When the Egret’s pilot dies suddenly mid-flight six teenagers, the only passengers on board, face a terrifying situation. Gerald has had some flying lessons, but he has never flown alone, and he has never landed a plane. Lost and afraid, they fly on as the fuel gauge drops and night closes in. Will they find a clear landing place? Could they land in the sea? If they do somehow land safely how will they find their way back to civilisation?'

Source: Publisher's blurb (Text Publishing edition).

1967 winner y separately published work icon The Min-Min Mavis Thorpe Clark , Melbourne : Lansdowne , 1966 Z949462 1966 single work novel young adult

'Across nearly two thousand miles of flat, sandy desert country runs a railway line, linking east and west Australia. Scattered along it are small groups of houses. Here the fettlers live, isolated from towns and other people, maintaining the line in the blazing heat.

At night, out of the blackness the min-min appears, an elusive and mystic light dancing on the horizon, beckoning and retreating. Aborigines tell of the wonder and excitement this small swaying light arouses. To Sylvie, a young girl living with her family at the siding, the gleam in the dark is symbolic of her life and future.

Her brother Reg, a "young rough", is frightened to stay at the siding after some of the mischief he causes. So he and Sylvie set off across the endless desert, carrying insufficient water and some bread and jam, walking under the scorching sun, in dust and wind, and facing icy nights.'

Source: 1966 publisher's blurb.

1966 winner y separately published work icon Ash Road Ivan Southall , Sydney : Angus and Robertson , 1965 Z116360 1965 single work children's fiction children's (taught in 1 units)

'It's hot, dry and sweaty on Ash Road, where Graham, Harry and Wallace are getting their first taste of independence, camping, just the three of them. When they accidentally light a bushfire no one would have guessed how far it would go. All along Ash Road fathers go off to fight the fires and mothers help in the first aid centres. The children of Prescott are left alone, presumed safe, until it's the fire itself that reaches them. These children are forced to face a major crisis with only each other and the two old men left in their care.

'The best selling Ash Road is an action-packed adventure story, so evocative of rural Australia you can taste the Eucalyptus.' (Publication summary : Text Classics)

1965 winner y separately published work icon Pastures of the Blue Crane Hesba Brinsmead , London : Oxford University Press , 1964 Z667593 1964 single work novel young adult

'Brought up in boarding schools, Ryle has learned to be independent, but when her mysterious father dies, her whole world changes. Part of her inheritance is a half-share in a dilapidated farm which she shares with a scruffy grandfather she meets for the first time.'

(Publication summary)

1964 winner y separately published work icon The Green Laurel Eleanor Spence , London Melbourne : Oxford University Press , 1963 Z836712 1963 single work children's fiction children's The Somerville's normally nomadic existence is interrupted by Mr Somerville's ill-health which means during their annual visit to Dragon Bay, they are forced to stay in a boarding house instead of camping out. It marks the beginning of a strange and eventful year in which Lesley and Rae make new friends, begin to grow up and fulfil ambitions. It is also a year in which the whole family has to adapt to some surprising and not always welcome changes.
1963 winner y separately published work icon The Family Conspiracy Joan Phipson , Sydney London : Angus and Robertson Constable , 1962 Z310993 1962 single work children's fiction children's

The four Barker children each have a plan to raise money for their mother who is in hospital. The Barkers already face a financial crisis as drought menaces their farm. Things get out of hand, and resourcefulness and courage are needed to save the situation

The Barker children's plans to make money to help out when their mother has to have an operation, and drought threatens their isolated sheep station, lead to unforeseen adventures.

1962 joint winner y separately published work icon The Racketty Street Gang L. H. Evers , Sydney London : Hodder and Stoughton , 1961 Z61787 1961 single work children's fiction children's mystery 'Adventures of the gang from Racquetier Street in a harbourside suburb of Sydney, when it gets involved in a mystery at the local boat-yard.' (Libraries Australia) Joint winner with Rafferty Rides a Winner
1962 joint winner y separately published work icon Rafferty Rides a Winner Joan Woodberry , London : M. Parrish , 1961 Z829654 1961 single work children's fiction children's Rafferty and his mates need to raise sixty pounds to buy the boat of their dreams, but how? Rafferty thinks he has the answer when the circus comes to town. With The Racketty Street Gang
1961 winner y separately published work icon Tangara Tangara : 'Let Us Set Off Again' Nan Chauncy , London : Oxford University Press , 1960 Z39640 1960 single work children's fiction children's
— Appears in: Tiger in the Bush [and] Tangara 1982;

'Sometimes when Lexie fingered a string of shells she had been given as a little girl, she felt strange memories stir. It was as if something very precious was buried away in her own mind. Great-great Aunt Rita's old shell necklace carries a power that Lexie can't possibly know. Then, when it leads her to a new friend, she and Merrina enter the secret gully where Merrina's people live.But the gully holds a terrible secret, as old as the necklace itself. Will Lexie be strong enough, as she relives the nightmare her Aunt Rita endured?This deeply moving classic by one of our great children's writers is part fantasy, part history, and one hundred percent masterpiece.'

Source: Publisher's blurb (UQP reprint).

1960 winner y separately published work icon All the Proud Tribesmen Kylie Tennant , London : Macmillan , 1959 Z247047 1959 single work children's fiction children's

'The pearldivers of Firecrest Island are forced to flee their island after a natural disaster; and must come to terms with their old native superstitions, with the help of Kerri–a twelve year old scholarship student.'

Source: Publisher's blurb (Pan Books edition).

1959 joint winner y separately published work icon Sea Menace John Gunn , London : Constable , 1958 Z818896 1958 single work children's fiction children's adventure

'Early last century Paul Harris and his cousin and uncle sailed out from England, planning to farm in New South Wales. Their ship founders and they are rescued by a mysterious "whaler" manned by unscrupulous men.'

Source: Publisher's blurb.

With Devil's Hill
1959 joint winner y separately published work icon Devil's Hill Nan Chauncy , London : Oxford University Press , 1958 Z39529 1958 single work children's fiction children's
1958 winner y separately published work icon Tiger in the Bush Nan Chauncy , London : Oxford University Press , 1957 Z15077 1957 single work children's fiction autobiography children's
— Appears in: Tiger in the Bush [and] Tangara 1982;

A Tasmanian boy reveals the habitat of the almost extinct Tasmanian tiger to someone who may want to capture it, and now he must find a way to protect the animal.

1957 winner y separately published work icon The Boomerang Book of Legendary Tales Enid Moodie Heddle (editor), London Melbourne : Longmans, Green , 1957 Z380528 1957 anthology children's fiction Indigenous story children's myth/legend A selection of Australian Aboriginal legends and tales from New Guinea, New Zealand, Micronesia, Borneo, Tonga, Fiji, the New Hebrides and the Solomon Islands. For 8-12 year old children.
1956 winner y separately published work icon The Crooked Snake Patricia Wrightson , Sydney : Angus and Robertson , 1955 Z819346 1955 single work children's fiction children's adventure

A group of children set up a club to pursue their favourite project: keeping vandals out of the nearby national park.

1955 winner y separately published work icon The First Walkabout H. A. Lindsay , Norman Barnett Tindale , London Melbourne : Longmans, Green , 1954 Z318077 1954 single work children's fiction historical fiction adventure children's A scientifically accurate account, in story form, of the life of the Negritos, a primitive race of tiny tree-dwelling people who arrived in Australia from south-east Asia about 100,000 years ago. Explains why the Negritos were forced out of their homeland, what they were like, and how they adapted to living in new and very different surroundings. (Libraries Australia)
1954 winner y separately published work icon Australian Legendary Tales K. Langloh Parker , Henrietta Drake-Brockman (editor), Sydney : Angus and Robertson , 1953 Z917812 1953 selected work prose essay Indigenous story
1953 joint winner y separately published work icon Aircraft of Today and Tomorrow James H. Martin , W. D. Martin , Sydney : Angus and Robertson , 1952 Z922352 1952 single work non-fiction children's With Good Luck to the Rider
1953 joint winner y separately published work icon Good Luck to the Rider Joan Phipson , Sydney : Angus and Robertson , 1953 Z831857 1953 single work children's fiction children's A twelve-year-old girl, youngest of four children, adopts an orphaned, unlikely foal named Rosinante just before she leaves for boarding school, and, with the vision of her own horse to inspire her, begins to gain assurance and maturity. With Aircraft of Today and Tomorrow.
1952 winner y separately published work icon The Australia Book Eve Pownall , Sydney : John Sands , 1952 Z836499 1952 single work information book children's
1951 winner y separately published work icon Verity of Sydney Town Ruth C. Williams , Sydney : Angus and Robertson , 1950 Z668516 1950 single work children's fiction children's historical fiction It is about life in New South Wales in the days of Macquarie, and the story takes place against an exciting background of convicts, red-coats, pioneering farmers, and bushrangers. The heroine is Verity Asherton, twelve-year old daughter of a sea-captain believed lost at sea, who waits anxiously in Sydney town for his return, the only person who believes he is still alive. (Publisher's blurb)
1950 winner y separately published work icon Whalers of the Midnight Sun : A Story of Modern Whaling in the Antarctic Alan Villiers , London : Geoffrey Bles , 1934 Z846336 1934 single work children's fiction children's adventure Award for 1949 publication
1948 winner y separately published work icon Shackleton's Argonauts : A Saga of the Antarctic Ice-Pack Frank Hurley , Frank Hurley (illustrator), Sydney : Angus and Robertson , 1948 Z922312 1948 single work information book children's
1946 inaugural winner y separately published work icon The Story of Karrawingi the Emu Leslie Rees , Sydney : John Sands , 1946 Z835777 1946 single work children's fiction children's The story of the life of the noble Australian Emu packed with action, adventure and the sense of racing speed that is part of an emu's heritage.
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