Adventure novel is readers’ favourite

Norman Jorgensen won a Western Australian Young Readers’ Book Award for his novel Jack’s Island.

The awards are readers’ choice and nominated by young readers through their school or public libraries. Jorgensen took out the 2009 Hoffman Award for Younger Readers.

Jorgensen said most writers who have been involved in these awards stress that it is the award they are most proud of, and he is exactly the same.

“It is a very special honour, especially as it is a kids’ choice award. I almost can’t believe it,” Jorgensen said.

Jorgensen is thrilled that kids are reading his book, as most of the feedback he has received so far has been from grandparents.

Jack’s Island is set in the 1940s during World War II, and tells the story of two boys living on Rottnest Island and the hair-raising schemes they get up to.

Many of the letters Jorgensen received from the grandparents of young readers congratulated him on getting “the times” and the attitudes of the 1940s right.

“Hearing about this award and thinking I may have crossed the generations is so much more than I set out to achieve,” he said.

“With that time now so remote to the lives modern kids lead, it could have easily been irrelevant to them and quickly forgotten,” he said.

According to Jorgensen, the theme of family life may be one of the reasons young readers enjoy his book.

“What I hoped came through was the underlying decency of the characters, the warmth of family life and a sense of adventure and the carefree life Jack and Banjo lead,” he said.

Past winners of the Western Australian Young Readers’ Book Awards include Andy Griffiths, Emily Rodda, John Marsden, Duncan Ball, Paul Jennings, Tim Winton and Roald Dahl.

Jorgensen was shortlisted for a Western Australian Young Readers’ Book Award in 2008 for Another Fine Mess 002.

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